One interesting fact about SFIZIO Modern Italian Kitchen is that it was almost the restaurant that wasn’t! Chef Rocco Pezzano, along with his wife, Zoritza, son, Marco, and daughter, Arianna, created SFIZIO as a family “project” restaurant, combining Rocco’s love of traditional Italian flavors and foods with his kids’ forward-looking endeavor of combining the classic with a modern twist.

After a nine-year hiatus from the restaurant business, Pezzano’s kids convinced him to share his culinary prowess with the world once again and opened SFIZIO in August 2021.

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The restaurant style is casual and it has an unusually intimate atmosphere that immediately makes you feel like you are part of the Pezzano extended family. Anchoring the restaurant is its brick pizza oven which gives the restaurant an additional feeling of “home.”  SFIZIO’s reputation for traditional Italian flavors has established the restaurant as a neighborhood hot spot, as evidenced by the near-capacity dining room on a Wednesday night.

The highest level of Italian tradition is given to SFIZIO’s ingredients. Pizza dough is made daily, meats are imported and all produce is fresh. All dishes are hand-crafted, including its pasta, salads, bruschetta and brick oven pizza. Chef Pezzano hails from the Calbria region of Italy and his authentic flavors shine through in all the dishes we sampled.

Our group dove right into a variety of fabulous small plates. The Arancini ($12) is outstanding, featuring a three-meat ragu, provolone and fontina cheeses and a hearty tomato sauce. What would an Italian meal be without Bruschetta (three selections, $12)? The prosciutto di parma with shaved parmigiano and sweet fig was our favorite. The bread is simply outstanding and meets at the perfect intersection of tender and slightly crunchy, while being sturdy enough to properly showcase the imported meats, cheeses and veggies.

Typically, I am not a fan of eggplant, but SFIZIO has officially changed that. The eggplant rollatini ($12) is one of the standouts on the menu and has an exceptional flavor profile coupled with a texture that left me wondering if I really just ate eggplant. Although the ingredients are simple enough – fresh pan-seared eggplant, a blend of signature cheeses and San Marzano sauce, the sum of its ingredients shoots this dish into the culinary stratosphere.

Fresh pasta entrees include Lasagne Al Forno ($19), Rigatoni Vodka ($19), Gnocchi Sorrentina ($19), Lobster Ravioli ($27), Short Rib Rigatoni ($22) and several other dishes bursting with fresh Italian flavor.

A generously sized Pizza Napoletana ($17) is topped with Italian cooked ham, fresh mushrooms, artichokes, black olives, San Marzano tomato sauce and mozzarella. Fresh ingredients piled atop a hand-tossed pizza of house-made pizza dough makes for a heavenly pie. Other varieties include Americana ($17), Margarita ($17) and Calabrese ($17).

Dessert is just as decadent as you’d expect from traditional offerings, but these have a slightly modern twist. Starting with the tag line, “Like eating in Italy, without the jetlag,” how could you not dive right in with fervor while discovering the Pezzano translation of traditional Italian desserts? Cannoli ($8), Tiramisu ($8), Pizza Nutella ($10) and Gelato Affogato ($10) occupy the dessert menu. Most of our group had not had Gelato Affogato and were sweetly surprised to discover the beloved Italian staple straddles the line between dessert and drink. Don’t dare end your night at SFIZIO without a shot of traditional limoncello and a proper “Arrivederci” to the Pezzano family.

SFIZIO means, “Something you don’t need but for whatever reason, you want.” Once you try SFIZIO’s food you’ll want it all .