Yosteria Enoteca & Mercato opened its doors this past April and brought regional Italian cuisine to Sharpsburg with it. This is Yosteria’s second location; the Youngstown, OH location opened in 2018. Part-owner Alex Zordich is from Youngstown but grew up coming to Sharpsburg to visit his grandfather and make wine with him. While Pittsburgh has hundreds of Italian restaurants, I’m always game to try a new one.
Yosteria’s Pittsburgh location is a bit smaller than its Youngstown counterpart. Half of the restaurant is a market that offers take-and-bake pizzas, dried goods and wine. The dining room is cozy with room for about 35, but the light from the big windows facing Sharpsburg’s main street makes it feel bigger.
If you love dough, then Yosteria’s menu is for you. They have dough in both baked and fried forms with items like pizza and fresh bread. They also have a selection of items to cut the heaviness of the carbs, such as southern-Italian style meatballs, a caprese salad with semi-dried and marinated tomatoes and bresaola, which is northern-Italian dry-aged beef served over a fresh arugula salad.
Yosteria’s menu is filled with small plates meant for sharing, so my group and I ordered a selection of dishes across the menu. We started with some merende or snacks, as we Americans call them. We went with the hazelnuts and potato chips. My dining companions and I were starving, and this was a nice way to stave off hunger. There were also lupini, peanuts and dried apricots available for noshing.
Our larger dishes started arriving, and we were salivating. Yosteria was out to impress, as the first dish they brought us was their pizelle fritte napoletane or Napoletan fried pizza. I had never heard of fried pizza, but put those two decadent words together and you know it’s going to be delicious. Each pizza starts with a small fried piece of dough that’s crispy on the outside and airy on the inside. It is then topped with tomato sauce, melted mozzarella cheese and fresh basil. The gooey cheese complements the crispy texture of the fried dough, and each bite is more heavenly than the next. Having the pizza fried enhances the savoriness of the dish. Yosteria was starting off strong.
We had to have a fresh element on the table, and next came the insalata di rucola or arugula salad. This salad was incredibly simple with only parmesan on top and olive oil and lemon juice for the dressing. The bitterness cut the richness of the fried pizza and freshened our plates for the next decadent dish.
Here is where we made a mistake. We ordered the vastiduzze sicilane, which is fried Sicilian semolina dough. You can choose from three traditional toppings: caciocavallo cheese (similar in taste to provolone), honey, oregano, and olive oil; fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, basil, and olive oil; and stracciatella (the creamy filling in burrata), mortadella, and olive oil. My table thought you could have one of each of these toppings in an order of three, but that’s not the case. Each order comes with three dough balls with the same topping, so we got three separate orders of this luxurious dish. Needless to say, it was way too many carbs for three people. Despite our mistake, we loved getting to sample each of the three variations of this menu item. The base had a very similar crispy texture to the fried pizza, but with a sweeter aftertaste due to the semolina in the dough. The version with caciocavallo and honey benefitted from the sweeter dough. The honey paired perfectly with the dough, while the cheese added some saltiness. The fresh mozzarella and prosciutto version was my favorite. The milky mozzarella and light prosciutto contrasted with the heavy dough. The creamy stracciatella and fatty mortadella version was luxuriously rich.
I can’t go to an Italian restaurant and not order a cheese tray. Yosteria offers two cheese board options. The il sud board focuses on meats and cheeses from Southern Italy, and it’s served with taralli (similar in texture to a breadstick) and artichokes. I went with the il nord board, which includes meats and cheeses from Northern Italy and torta fritta, a traditional fried dough pairing from Emilia-Romagna. This board included hunks of salty parmesan, luscious stracciatella, smoky mortadella and salty prosciutto. The torta fritta melts in your mouth and pairs well with the different flavors presented on the board.
Yosteria used many of the same ingredients in different dishes. I love seeing how ingredients can be utilized in an assortment of dishes, but I wanted a bit more variety. I’m looking forward to returning to Yosteria to sample some of their less dough-centric items.