Dinner in Little Italy
My roommates and I recently spent a delightful evening at the gorgeous Italian restaurant La Piola. It’s nestled in one of the most beautiful spots in downtown Playa del Carmen: 38th Street between 5th Avenue and the beach. Lush greenery surrounds the restaurant. Colorful glass lanterns hang beneath the palm trees, adding to the charm. A waterfall/pond feature with the bridge and boardwalk completes the garden oasis feel!
Dining with my Italian roommate is always interesting because she is a true foodie! Growing up in a traditional Italian-Canadian home, her cooking skills & her appreciation for fine cuisine have been carefully honed. My sister & I ask her to select the dishes we will order and I know we’re in for a treat!
Waiters cheerfully bustle about, ensuring we have everything we need. Our cava arrives, and to our surprise, so does a complimentary dish of bruschetta! The server informs us that it’s the manager’s custom to send complimentary appetizers or desserts as a welcome to guests! We gleefully dig in. It’s an absolutely superb combination of flavors: olive oil, basil, juicy tomatoes, all atop freshly-baked bread.
The antipasto arrives—a generous plate of select quality cheeses, breads, meat cuts & olives. Everything is beautifully presented & delicious. My favorite is the thinly-sliced prosciutto with Roma cheese.
La Piola is famous for its pizza—baked in the forno oven visible at the back of the restaurant. Our Italian sausage pizza doesn’t disappoint. My roomie declares it delicious, pointing out that true Italian sausage has fennel—every detail is perfect! The crust is thin but soft, and we enjoy every bite. Dessert follows—a delicate, creamy panna cotta. We sip limoncello as we savor the sweet ending to our meal.
Quality ingredients, an incredible menu and a phenomenal wine list make La Piola a gastronomic delight! Friendly, fun staff and a cool ambiance combine to make a memorable outing. This restaurant truly has something for everyone and will even please the guest with the most refined palate!
Know Your Italian Delights—
- Piola—Italian for “Tavern”
- Cava—dry, sparkling white wine
- Bruschetta—toasted Italian bread drenched in olive oil, topped with diced tomatoes, garlic & basil
- Antipasto—traditional Italian appetizer, usually consists of small bites of meat, bread and cheese (literally means “before the meal”)
- Forno—wood-fuelled brick oven; usually dome-shaped
- Prosciutto—dry-cured ham, served uncooked
- Panna Cotta—cold Italian dessert made by simmering together cream, sugar, milk, gelatin
- Limoncello—a liqueur produced in Southern Italy; made from lemons
Written by Kelly G.