Lucia’s Pizzeria Introduces Cicchetti to Berkeley
Venetia tapas pairs well with Italian wines.
Photo by Lori Eanes
Just when you think you know everything about Italian food, you discover that the Mortadella Motherland has further tricks up its red, white, and green sleeve.
One such trick is cicchetti, small bites traditionally served on Venice’s Piazza San Marco with 100-milliliter glasses of wine called ombre, meaning “shadows,” after those cast by the basilica’s bell-tower across those pale paving stones.
In the Bay Area, cicchetti can be found only at Lucia’s Pizzeria in downtown Berkeley, where baccalá, fritto misto, meatballs, and other classic savories joined the signature Neapolitan pies—baked in a wood-burning oven with Sorrento-made bricks—on its menu this fall.
“My partner Alessandro Uccelli and his wife”—Elisabetta Volpe, who curates Lucia’s wines “are both from Veneto,” said co-founder Steve Dumain.
“I’ve lived in Spain and have always been a huge fan of the tapas culture,” Dumain added. “We started discussing how to bring this into Lucia’s,” and a ciccetti menu “made so much sense,” because UC Berkeley’s Campanile is a replica of the one in Piazza San Marco, continued Dumain, a fashion-industry veteran.
Lucia’s cicchetti include Venetian specialties such as chicken-liver paté made with anchovies and capers as well as regional dishes from all over Italy.
“Cicchetti is a way for adults to go to a bar together and enjoy some wine and food together. It feels like a very educated approach to wine—having smaller pours and serious bites,” Dumain said.
Lucia’s Pizzeria, 2016 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, 510-225-9467, LuciasPizzeria.com