387 Forest Avenue, Buffalo
235-8598, Visit the Facebook/daniela.catering.caffe/
Daniela. (yes, the period is intentional) is a welcome addition to the Elmwood Village neighborhood. Nestled on a corner of Forest near the Richardson Olmsted campus, it’s slightly offset from other city restaurants, but the location perfectly fits its cozy vibe. A warm greeting from behind the counter, welcoming bartenders, and delicious aromas are early indications that the visit will be worth it. An established caterer, Daniela Antonella Cosmano Kayser, opened Daniela. in the recently renovated space earlier this year.
On a recent visit, my husband and I snagged coveted seats at the bar and enjoyed the lively exchange between the bartenders pouring favorite wines and suggesting new cocktails and the regulars who surrounded us. At a nearby table, a family sat to enjoy dinner, with the parents popping up to greet friends who happened to pick the same spot for their evening meal. You have a few options for your meal at Daniela. and each has its merits. Order at the counter and have it brought to your table, receive full service at the bar, or go the takeout route. There was a steady stream of all ages in and out of the restaurant while we ate and drank at the bar. The menu offers an array of options, from antipasti, salads, and panini to pasta and pinsa Romana, as well as a few desserts.
The star of this menu is the pinsa Romana. Featuring a distinct crust that’s airy on the inside and crispy on the outside, the dough’s ingredients and a longer fermentation process make its texture different from traditional pizza. The dough comprises wheat, soy, and rice flours, as well as a starter. The crunch and tang of the pinsa Romana’s crust makes it more reminiscent of sourdough bread. The ’nduja and melanzane pinsa Romana ($16) combines tomato sauce, fior di latte, ’njuda, and eggplant for a memorable flavor. The heat from the ’njuda plays well with the sweetness of thinly sliced eggplant. If you have not yet had the good fortune of sampling ’nduja, it’s a wonderful spreadable pork salumi with a hearty kick. I’m fortunate to have roots in the land of ’nduja, in Calabria, Italy, so my father introduced me to the magical salumi at a tender age. Lucky for all of us, you can pick up a nice option at several local grocery stores or give it a try in restaurants like Daniela. now. For a less spicy, but equally delicious option, the capricciosa pinsa Romana ($15) features tomato sauce, artichoke, olive, ham, mushroom, and mozzarella.
The pasta dishes include several options that are a welcome departure from red sauce topped with cheese. I ultimately favored the option we chose without pomodoro sauce, the orecciette alle cime di rapi ($17), tossed with broccoli rabe, parmigiano, red chili flakes, olive oil, and garlic. Dusted with breadcrumbs, the orecciette is coated with spicy, garlicky olive oil, and there is plenty of broccoli rabe for each bite. My husband liked the penne melanzane and burrata ($18), a richer option, topped with eggplant, pomodoro sauce, mascarpone, and burrata. A rosa sauce, the mascarpone is mixed in with the tomatoes to create a dreamy pink hue and, thanks to the burrata, it gets even creamier. A hearty handful of fresh basil adds texture and fresh flavor.
If you want dessert, my vote is for the housemade gelato. The pistachio and hazelnut flavors were tasty, fresh, and authentic. Muted green pistachio gelato means it’s free from dye and full of flavor.
In a red sauce- and pizza-heavy food city, Daniela. and its unique pinsa Romana provide a refreshing offering for Italian food lovers. Dine in and enjoy a glass of wine or an espresso with your meal, as well as pleasant conversation around the bar. Visit soon to enjoy the chance to take a gelato with you for a stroll following your meal; it will surely summon Italian lifestyle vibes. Next time you crave pizza, try the pinsa Romana at Daniela., and save room for gelato.