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Stratford Avenue in Colombo 05/06 is quite an artsy street with art galleries, designer clothing stores, antique shops and plush cafes. Adding to the allure of the area, Colombo’s latest pizzeria cum coffee shop recently opened doors to the public. Margherita Pizzeria is quite a large restaurant that immediately adds to the eclectic vibe of the locality.
We checked them out on an early on a Friday evening and witnessed a stream of customers flooding in as the night went by. This was of course indication that word of mouth has gotten around and customers varied from families to groups of friends. We also noticed that Margherita’s has a BYOB policy.
Located on the right hand side of the sharp bend on Stratford, Margherita’s is actually quite a large space with ample parking. The restaurant itself keeps with the theme of an Italian bistro with semi-naked walls, ambient lighting, green canopies, soft Italian music and rustic furniture. It’s actually a rather quiet place with the occasional sounds from the show kitchen. The fact that Margherita’s opted for a show kitchen complete with a wood-fired oven means you get to watch your food being prepared from scratch and smell the amazing aromas wafting from the oven.
So what does Margherita’s do that’s different from the Pizzeria’s in town? For starters we notices their pricing to be a lot more on affordable than most. The menu itself is not extensive but according to the owners, they want to keep things simple and perfect a few dishes instead of having a whole list of stuff that’s mediocre.
For drinks we went with two classics that we felt go well with good pizza. A good ol’ orange juice and a lime and mint were served to us by a slightly nervous waiter but those of course are teething issues. Drinks are served with sugar syrup separately which is a nice personal touch rather than having overly sweetened drinks served to you. From the starters menu we ordered Mozzarella Balls and Garlic Bread. Margherita’s does their Garlic Bread a little different and serves an actual pizza with the usual toppings like warm butter garlic and dried bay leaves. The portion itself therefore is considerably larger and has a nice burnt, crunch to it. The Mozzarella Balls are basically deep-fried Mozzarella served with an in-house Sweet Chilli jam which needs to be eaten super-hot for the real cheesy goodness to come through.
Margherita’s only does one size for their pizzas and will also do half-and-half on request. We went with the 4 Cheese and a Sri Lankan Spicy Chicken on a half-and-half and a house classic All Meat which contains Chicken, Sausages, and Mutton! The four cheese was good and for those of you who love the acquired taste of Blue Cheese you might actually like this one. The kids however didn’t like it too much and if you are dining with them, you can always ask the Chef to go easy on the Blue.
Now Sri Lankans love spice and the Sri Lankan Spicy Chicken packs so much of it that the actual flavour of the Chicken tends to get a bit lost.
The star of the show though was the All Meat. I mean with so much meat and mutton at that on a pizza, no one can really go wrong. Margherita’s are quite generous with their toppings which is probably why a lot of people seem to be checking them out and we sincerely hope they keep it that way. The wood-fired, slightly burnt crust topped with all that meat was indeed a treat for all senses.
The dessert menu was not up yet when we visited although we would have liked to wash all that pizza down with a good Italian Tiramisu. But that only means that we would have to go back and about that we ain’t complaining!
So here’s our rating…
Location **** (Ample parking but that one way street issue!)
Ambiance ***** (Love the semi-naked walls and green canopies!)
Service *** (Service can be a bit more lively!)
Food **** (Value for money pizza!)
Price Range: 1,000 – 1,500 per person
Opening Times: 6:00pm – 10:00pm on weekdays and 11:00pm on Friday and Saturdays
Address: No. 78 Stratford Avenue, Colombo 06.
Tel: 0703 340066
Reviewed by Nishu Gunawardana
Photo Credit: Sanura Gunawardana