I set out in search for the perfect pizza. My quest took me to several places around town, some of which were acceptable and others uneatable. Even though, at times, my objective seemed impossible to reach, chance took me to 18 Scalini, a quaint restaurant located in the Quinta Camacho neighborhood.
Old trees, well-groomed gardens and two story houses, such as the one in which 18 Scalini functions, have stood the test of time, and make this busy area of the city a picturesque place to explore. The restaurant offers several dining areas, including a garden, and an open brick oven on the second floor where guests can appreciate the Pizzaiolo at work.
Giuliana Zito and Lucca Rojatti are the dedicated owners of 18 Scalini, which opened its doors two years ago. Both gathered the experience needed to incur in the gastro scene from working at Giuliana’s family restaurant, one of the city’s classic, San Giorgio Trattoria.
“Things have changed a lot in Colombia in the past 20 years,” says Giuliana. “People have more mobility and are very aware of trends and quality of food. The clientele is more demanding and there is a lot of competition.”
Giuliana is a second generation Italian Colombian, and Lucca a pure Italian cuocco. The couple met in Rome fresh out of university in the 90’s (Giuliana is an economist and Lucca an IT programmer), and they moved to Colombia in 2007. Both share the passion for cooking and the desire to maintain the essences of regional Italian cuisine.
“The time I spent in Italy marked me forever, and one of my objectives is to transmit authentic Italian cuisine, never adding ingredients that are not genuine,” says Giuliana.
“I try to give customers a personalized service ensuring that they are comfortable and well served,” she explains. Lucca, on the other hand, is behind the scenes, in the kitchen, making sure every dish comes out perfect.
The menu reflects Giuliana’s and Lucca’s intent, offering their own seal on a varied selection of Italian classics, such as the Melanzane alla Parmigiana ($24,900), Spaguetti alla Puttanesca ($26,900), Ossobuco del Chef ($31,900) or Salmone al Cartoccio ($32,900).
Although the slow cooked beef Lasagna 18 Scalini ($28,000) is a favorite among guests, the brick oven pizza is the restaurant’s signature dish.
The pies are big (30 cm). The dough is crunchy without being hard. The tomato sauce is seasoned to complement the different flavors available, and not to over power them. The cheese is plentiful without being overwhelming, and the toppings are generous and fresh. The end result is a balanced blend of ingredients cooked just right, and close to a perfect pizza.
I must confess, I was weak, falling into my uncontainable passion for pizza, I ordered a whole pie to myself: the Margherita ($23,500). And even if it was big enough to share, I tried a slice from each of the table’s order: Capricciosa ($28,500), Prosciutto ($29,500) and Puttanesca ($29,500). All of them were excellent choices, and I must say, the experience turned out to be one of the best I have had in Bogotá.
Typically accompanied by beer, red wine is also a good choice for pizza, and specially at 18 Scalini, where wines are all rigorously Italian, ranging from the house wine Il Pumo Salento Primitivo ($60,000) to a Nerello Mascalese Di Giovanna ($112,000), or a Luigi Lepore D.o.c.g. ($194,000). Spumanti, whites, and rosé wines are also available.
“When it comes to wine, I make certain their choice will enhance their meal,” Giuliana explains. Her passion for wines includes monthly wine-tasting events and pairings, as part of an ever-growing commitment to all that is Italian.
At 18 Scalini, the food is excellent, the service is attentive, prices fair, and ambience cozy and warm. It is definitely a must when searching for the perfect pizza or Italian cuisine – as Italian as Italian can be in Bogotá. Just search for the Ospitalitá Italiana seal given to restaurants worldwide to assure Quality Approved by the Italian Chamber of Commerce.
Cr 9 No. 70-41
Tel: 357 3495
Open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner. Kitchen closes at 10:00 PM
Valet parking available.