M-Th (11:30AM-9PM), F-Sa (11:30AM-10PM), Su (4PM-9PM)
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Trenton is the home of tomato pie. So why would Hidden Trenton bother covering an out-of-town pizza place that doesn’t serve our local style of pizza? Because Osteria Procaccini offers something you can’t get anywhere in town–artisanal Neapolitan-Style pizzas using locally sourced organic ingredients, gourmet salads, and service that can’t be beat. It isn’t a Trenton tomato pie, but it’s absolutely worth a visit.
Osteria Procaccini is a local chain. There are three restaurants, but the one in Crosswicks is closest to Trenton (a 15 minute drive). The restaurant is located inside the 300-year-old Crosswicks Inn, a handsome former tavern in a charming town of historic houses. When you walk inside, you’ll see a display of wine bottles all from Hopewell Valley Vineyards. It turns out that Osteria Procaccini is a licensed distributor of these wines–so though the place is BYOB and will happily assist you with any alcohol you bring, you can also purchase Hopewell Valley wines by the bottle while you dine. It’s incredibly convenient, and offers the best of both worlds.
The pizzas here are superb. The flavorful dough is rolled into an incredibly thin crust, making for a light pie. Toppings are inventive and change seasonally–I recently had a special with fresh mozzarella, shaved asparagus, chopped leeks, and shaved parmesan. The regular menu includes things like the Z Pie with organic crimini & shitaki mushrooms, white truffle oil, provolone cheese and fresh parsley, or the Pizza Vongole with tomato sauce, fresh baby clams marinated in olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano and parsley. You get the idea. About half the pies are topped with red sauce, and the other half are “white” (just the cheese and other toppings). Though the red sauce is superb (though a little sweet, but many like it that way), we like both the red and white pizzas equally equally. We recommend you try one of each. All the flavors are well paired, and each pizza is prepared with enormous care. The pies are cooked in a blazingly hot terra cotta oven, which means it’s often less than 5 minutes between ordering your pizza and it arriving steaming hot onto your table. If there is any flaw in these pies, it’s that sometimes the undercarriage can’t stand up to the weight and wetness of the gourmet toppings. We recommend that you order your red pizzas “well done,” which means another few seconds in the 900 degree oven, charring the crust to a perfect sturdy structure that can withstand even the wettest toppings while adding extra caramelized toasty notes to each delicious bite. Pies range from $10-$16 dollars, but they aren’t huge. If you’re hungry, you’ll probably want to order two pies for every three people in your party. The kitchen will happily make you a pie with different toppings on each half, which is good way to sample the menu.
Pizza isn’t all that’s offered, however. Osteria Procaccini also has an assortment of antipasti, bruschetta, salumi, and salads. The caprese di buffalo salad is a full plate of buffalo milk mozzarella, served with fresh tomato, roasted red pepper, and a sweet-and-tart balsamic reduction. The caesar salad can be ordered with kale, making it a delicious and hearty appetizer. Salads are $8-$13, and are generously portioned.
One of the things we love about Osteria Procaccini is that it caters to most dietary restrictions. They offer a gluten free crust as well as a surprisingly good whole wheat dough (which we like as much as the regular dough). Both the regular and whole wheat doughs are vegan, and so if you order a pie without cheese it’s very easy to have a filling vegan dinner here. The ingredients are all organic and made without artificial preservatives, colors, sweeteners, or hydrogenated fats.
Though the place is often packed, the service here is terrific. They consistently hire and train some of the friendliest waiters and waitresses we’ve ever had, and it makes the whole experience a pleasure. The wait staff checks in on you frequently, and since the pies come out of the kitchen astonishingly quickly, we recommend that you order one item at a time, rather than placing your entire order at once. That way you’ll get each pizza piping hot, right out of the oven.
On my last visit, I dined with a friend and her twin 5-year-olds. When asked how he liked the pizza, one of them replied: “This sauce tastes better than all the other sauces we go to. Boom boom laka boom boom.”
I can’t think of a better way to sum it up than that.