This is a new sort of Italian cuisine: fresher and lighter – but don't worry, there's still plenty of pizza and vino to go around. Which sounds like our kinda place.Sure, Zola Italian Bistro has "Italian" in the name, and yes, you'll find bruschetta on the menu. But this is not a weigh-you-down sort of Italian joint. "We serve new Italian," owner's Pamela and Jack explained, and in a nutshell, this means lighter, healthier dishes – with an Italian twist. Speaking of the owners, they're always around – Pamela in the dining room and Jack in the back house – and this lends to a welcoming atmosphere. After all, Pamela hails from Savannah, and Jack's mother from Italy – Zola is somewhere in the middle, "where Southern hospitality meets Italian heritage." And for over a decade, the loyal visitors have been eating it up (literally), in fact, it's not uncommon for the regulars to stop in once, even twice, every week.
One look at the dinner menu, and it's not too hard to tell why. Pizza abounds, along with fresh beet salad, bread pudding with a bananas foster rum topping (using Pam's Southern recipe) and, oh, did we mention the pizza? Let's make one thing clear right off the bat, this is not a New York style pie, the crust is thin and crispy – an authentic Italian base of fresh dough, slathered in homemade sauce, and piled high with a variety of toppings. We're partial to the Arugula Pizza (with prosciutto, tomatoes and, not surprisingly, arugula – it feels, surprisingly, salad-like), though Jack and Pamela swear by their Margherita. And, of course, what pairs better with a little Italian cookin' than a glass or three of vino? The answer, dear reader, is nothing. Luckily, Zola Italian Bistro has a whole wall stocked with the stuff. If this is new Italian cuisine, well, perhaps change isn't so bad after all.
Beet Salad, $8
Antipasto Misto, $14
Margherita Pizza, $12/$18
Monday – Saturday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.