The Boston Phoenix
September 2 - 9, 1999

[Food Reviews]

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Campo de Fiori

Pizza my heart

by Rob McKeown

Tucked inside Harvard Square's mini-mallish Holyoke Street Arcade, Campo de Fiori is an Italian takeout counter with a half-dozen scattered tables and a cultlike following. The cult has arisen around pane romano, a street-food staple from Rome that consists of a sweetish dough, patted out by hand and cooked to a state of cracker-crunchiness in seething-hot ovens.

Here the pane comes one of two ways: topped pizza-style ("pane"), or used as a sandwich bread ("panini"). Both of them are no-lose propositions. Among the pizzas, "Trastevere" is a lush, mildly sweet communion of chunky potato, opaque prosciutto cotto, and rosemary ($4 large, $3.50 small). "Attilio" ($4.50 for a large) is an earthier concoction of gorgonzola, mushrooms, raisins, and pine nuts. For people looking for something a touch more . . . vanilla, there's always the stunning austerity of the margherita ($4 for a large), which is simply red sauce and mozzarella.

Because of the delicacy of the pane romano, the sandwiches at Campo de Fiori come off tasting unusually light. The "Siena" ($4.50) is classically less-is-more: tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella. A daily special ($4.50) brought goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and roasted red peppers together -- a cliché, maybe, but a delicious one. For anyone still hungry at meal's end, there's also an Italian rendition of the doughnut called ciambella ($1). It's stupendously sugary and light as air.

Campo de Fiori, located in the Holyoke Street Arcade of Harvard Square, is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Call (617) 354-3805.

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