Restaurant News

Best Bites: Don't Skip This Appetizer at Pizzeria Virtù

The burrata appetizer at Pizzeria Virtù demands attention.
The burrata appetizer at Pizzeria Virtù demands attention. Tirion Morris
Welcome to Best Bites, a series where we celebrate not a whole restaurant or menu, but one specific and amazing dish. These bites have something to say and we are listening. Keep reading for dishes that are seriously worth the trek across metro Phoenix to find. Dig in!

Pizzeria Virtù is known for — you guessed it — pizza. But on a recent visit to the cozy Old Town Scottsdale restaurant, an entertaining appetizer stole the show.

Pizzeria Virtù is an offshoot of Virtù Honest Craft, a Mediterranian-inspired fine-dining restaurant located nearby and owned by acclaimed chef Gio Osso. He opened his pizzeria in 2020, offering customers a more casual atmosphere in which to enjoy his food.

The pizzeria provided a homecoming of sorts. The space previously housed Grazie Pizzeria & Winebar, a restaurant that first offered Osso a job when he moved to Arizona in 2002. When the restaurant went up for sale 18 years later, the chef kept the tradition of pizza alive with his new concept, Pizzeria Virtù.

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Chef Gio Osso probes for doneness at Pizzeria Virtù.
Chris Malloy
The menu offers fresh, seasonal salads, an extensive wine list with a heavy southern Italian influence, and wonderfully light and fluffy Neapolitan-style pizzas topped with mouth-watering cheeses, meats, and vegetables.

From walking into the small, white tablecloth restaurant to watching the flames rise from the pizza oven behind the bar, the whole experience inspires anticipation and excitement.

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The dining room at Pizzeria Virtú.
Chris Malloy
Appetizers tease the flavors to come. But one dish distracted from thoughts of the main meal, and demanded our full and undivided attention.

Simply titled "burrata" on the menu, the description promises di Stefano burrata, vino rosso figs, Prosciutto di Parma, and Marcona. The dish is served with crusty bread drizzled with deep green olive oil. 

Hiding among a mountain of thinly sliced prosciutto, crushed almonds, and almost black dried figs, a shiny, white ball peeked out. The lime-sized round had yet to reveal the creamy goodness within. Burrata is a cows milk cheese made from mozzarella and cream. The outside shell of solid cheese holds together a gooey, creamy interior.

With a poke of a knife, the plump cheese split open, melting into its toppings. After the fun of popping the burrata bomb, it's time to build your own bruschetta.

Spread a little of the rich cheese on a piece of bread, top with a fig and a slice of salty prosciutto for the perfect bite. When our server noticed our enthusiastic enjoyment of the appetizer, he brought more bread. The welcome addition helped sop up every last morsel of the delicately balanced sweet and savory dish.

After the round of starters, we enjoyed some excellent pizza and dessert. But the little ball of burrata hidden among sweet figs and salty ham was the best bite of the meal.

Pizzeria Virtù

6952 East Main Street, Scottsdale
480-663-9797
pizzeriavirtu.com
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Tirion Morris is the Food Editor at Phoenix New Times. Find her digging into all of the best restaurants and dishes in the Valley, from new spots to hidden gems. Food tip? Get in touch at [email protected]
Contact: Tirion Morris