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Spotlight: Braccia Pizzeria & Ristorante

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Well, here’s something different in the world of pizza eating.

Braccia Pizzeria & Ristorante is one of the new eateries just off Winter Park’s Park Avenue.

Braccia is small but has a certain charm in its glassed in wine cabinet, floor to ceiling blackboards and distressed wood tabletops. The charm does not extend to the Astroturf-like greenery that has been applied in free form to one of the brick walls; that’s just odd.

Not quite as odd as what is attached to those paint-stripped tables. A metal frame is clipped to the outer edge and holds a large styrofoam cup. It is not, as you may first guess, a spit cup for tasting wine. Instead it is meant to hold the discarded plastic gloves that are supplied for diners to wear to keep their hands clean.

I’m sure they work fine. I’m just not aware that this was a problem looking for a solution. Anyone too delicate to pick up a slice of pie like a real person for fear of getting a bit of sauce on one’s dainty fingers could just as easily use a knife and fork, though you’re bound to be looked on with derisive scorn by those around you. Then again, the looks won’t be any kinder if you don the plastic gloves.

And it’s not like the pizza here is super gooey and messy. ON the contrary, it is thin crusted, bordering on crackerlike but not stepping over it.

At least that was the case with the the Calabresa Special. It was a pretty pie with a tangy pomodoro sauce platform and sausage, onions, black olives and just the right amount of melted mozzarella. I appreciated the singed edges of the crispy crust.

I also tried the Fettuccine Putanesca, a tangle of al dente noodles with pulpy pomodoro sauce tinged with basil and whole black olives in the mix.

I like Braccia, and I like the pizza. It may give Prato a run for its money in that category. Good pies without the hustle around the bar. And no need to hose down your hands after your meal!

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