Braccia Pizzeria & Ristorante

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Braccia interior

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

Braccia Pizzeria & Ristorante is one of new eateries that have stepped in to take over the leases of closed restaurants on Winter Park’s Morse Boulevard. Or as the acronymic name for one of the recent departees indicated, Not On 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 Astroturflike greenery that has been applied in freeform 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.

Braccia gloves

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 in 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 gauntlets.

And it’s not like the pizza here is super gooey and messy. ON the contrary, it is thin crusted, bordering on the crackerlike line but not stepping over it, and has a decent but not ponderous amount of toppings.

Braccia pizza

At least that was the case with the pizza that I sampled, 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.

Braccia pasta

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. A right-sized portion, though perhaps a bit high-priced at $12.90. (The pizza made more sense at $13.90.)

Our server was a charming young man who seemed to have been sent over directly from Central Casting.

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!

Braccia Pizzeria & Ristorante is at 153 E. Morse Blvd., Winter Park. It is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday. The website currently contains no information. The phone number is 407-636-9918.