Located on Bedford Street, Capriccio Cafe has made a considerable impact on the downtown landscape in its few years of existence. Expanding from its humble beginnings onto the sidewalk and (almost unforgivably) into the hull of what was once Pat's, Capriccio is easily one of the trendiest eateries around, billing itself as "Stamford's Italian cafe that speaks European."
Establishment. Capriccio is so European, it hurts. Its dining rooms are decked out with bright colors, tiled bars (fully stocked), shiny plastic furniture, contemporary lighting, and kitchen utensils bolted to the walls. Not a stranger to huge crowds, this establishment is well equipped to serve hoards of trendy young locals with indoor and outdoor seating, a full bar, expensive imported water, and the worst music you'll ever hear. This atmosphere is rather divisive at times, as it's either hopelessly charming or really freaking annoying. A ciascuno il suo. Regardless, Capriccio's menu is an exhaustive selection of countless Italian specialties ranging from light appetizers and salads to an arsenal of paninis, piadines, and toasts, as well as heavier pastas, traditional entrees, and a mouthwatering laundry list of desserts. Also, pizza.
Pizza. Capriccio's pizza is pretty good, but it's not what we were expecting. The crust was extraordinarily thin and crispy with not much substance or flavor to speak of, acting solely as a crunchy vehicle for cheese and sauce. The cheese was very fresh and not too greasy, but was also rather underwhelming in the flavor department as a result. However, Capriccio's sauce was tremendously flavorful and well seasoned, but it was much heavier than we'd expected, especially given the air of the restaurant itself. Coupled with the very thin crust and relatively neutral cheese, this sauce became an overwhelming centerpiece to a good, but rather one-dimensional pie. Fortunately, our "topping" of choice, sopressada, was safely nestled beneath the cheese and supplemented the pizza very, very well, adding some complexity to the overall product. Still, we weren't blown away by this pie and were left feeling as if pizza isn't necessarily what Capriccio does best.
The bottom line. Capriccio is a unique Italian cafe with a comprehensive, enticing menu, and good pizza that is probably the least of what they have to offer.
Hits the Spot: 6.7/10
Large Cheese: $7.00 (12")