When Tony Gallo and Pietro Vardeu opened Sardinia in 2006, Sunset Harbour wasn't the dining neighborhood it is today -- customers stumbled across the pasta and Pubbelly by mistake or word of mouth. At Campania, Gallo and Vardeu's third and latest concept place in the former Egg & Dart space, the same applies. Located just a few blocks from Harry's Pizza and north of midtown, Campania isn't close enough to anything to attract pedestrian traffic, which means that the cuisine will have to charm locals to go out of their way.
Campania brings the regional sun-kissed fare of the Naples and the Amalfi Coast to the Design District. New Times was invited for a taste last night.
The vibe here is rustic and casual. Warm tones, wooden tables and floors, and black and white photography fill the vast space.
The menu is broken up into several parts: antipasti, pasta, entrees, pizza, calzone, saltimbocca, and insalata. A market on the left corner of the restaurant has strings of housemade mozarrella and burrata waiting to be ordered.
Choose from several kinds of cheesy appetizers like mozzarella with provolone, mozzarella with celery hearts and bottarga, or prosciutto e mozzarella ($14). Thin slices of San Daniele prosciutto share space on a plate with slivers of homemade cheese and arugula leaves.
Steamed mussels in a pool of white wine and oregano ($12).
Pastas are made in house and proffer everything from raviolini caprese and baked lasagna to baked linguini with seafood. I went with my favorite pasta dish of all the time, the simple and classic spaghetti puttanesca ($14), which has cherry tomatoes, anchovies, black olives, and capers.
Jumbo prawns with tomatoes, garlic, and parsley ($28). Other entrees include a 14-ounce ribeye with roasted potatoes, veal milanesa with mozzarella and basil, and seared tuna steak with pistachio.
A custom-made blue mosaic tiled pizza oven has been imported from Italy and inhabits the right corner of Campania. Spheres of dough topped with their mozzarella are the base for every one of their pies. Choose from 14 pies, including the signature "campania" -- a white pizza with mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, arugula and prosciutto. We opted for the cappricciosa with tomatoes, mozarella, artichokes, ham, black olives, and mushrooms ($14).
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For dessert, you can either have the familiar and get the tiramisu (it's the same as Sardinia's), or try something new like the lemon cake ($10).