Bufalina — Neapolitan Pizza Worth the Drive


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There is enough conflict in the world without needlessly proclaiming any one place the very best pizza on the shoreline, but I suppose it says something that my two companions sparked to the idea on a Friday of a 20-mile trek on I-95 from Old Lyme to Guilford to sit outside on the patio for an early evening dinner at Bufalina.

I don’t think anyone questions that Bufalina turns out some of the very best Neapolitan-style pizza in Connecticut — thin, soft, somewhat elastic crust, with a modest cornicione and a defining leopard-skin char. It takes only about 90 seconds, and a turn or two, in the wood-fired oven until it is done.

Inside it’s adorable sitting around the horseshoe counter, an arms-length from the shaping and cooking process, and would be perfection on any other evening, but really what sort of person eats inside in Connecticut just as the weather is tipping ever so slightly toward fall? Outside the patio has a funky handmade sensibility, with a small bocce court, and wide-spaced comfortable cafe tables and communal benches.

We reserved three of Whang Suh’s ice cream sandwiches (what price perfection?) knowing that they do run out, ordered a very reasonable, but modestly too-warm bottle of sangiovese, and three twelve-inch pies — much more than enough, but there is pleasure in variety.

We skipped the special — a cubanelle pepper pizza with caramelized onion, asiago and sausage — fretting the rich sweetness of the onion, and instead ordered a Margherita with speck, a Melanzane with roasted eggplant, oregano and fresh mozzarella, Parmesan and arugula, and a Pomodori with small “blistered” tomatoes, herb-garlic oil, buffalo mozzarella and Parmesan.

The Pomodori (pictured) starred, with just the right balance of sweet richness from the cheese and acidity from the tomatoes.

Dessert was a salty-sweet joy — chocolate ice cream rounds concealing a marshmallow center and a bit of sauce, sandwiched between the thinnest of cookies and rolled in crisp crumbs.

Tuesday to Saturday: 4:30 to 9:00 p.m. 1070 Boston Post Road, Guilford, CT. Telephone: 203.458.1377