NJ Dining: Trattoria Sorrentina (UPDATED)


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Trattoria Sorrentina
7831 Bergenline Ave, North Bergen, NJ
(201) 869-8100

Ethereal Pizza, particularly anything resembling the genuine Italian article, can be particularly hard to find in New Jersey, or even New York City for that matter. Sure, in Jersey, we have some really good Italian-American places like Lodi Pizza, Pizza Town USA in Clifton, Santillo’s in Elizabeth, Reservoir Tavern in Parsippany, Star Tavern in Orange, or the legendary DeLorenzo’s Tomato Pies in Trenton that make great American-style pies. But the real, thin crust deal like they make in Naples? With a real savory and basil infused sauce that uses San Marzano tomatoes? That’s a very tall order.

So it happened about a week ago I was talking with Daniele, owner of DiPalma Brothers in North Bergen, and asked him where he liked to eat pizza. Daniele and his family are from Naples, and serve probably the best Italian cuisine in the entire area. So when he uttered the following statement, it was like as if an entire shipping crate of San Marzanos had just fallen on top of my head.

“I eat at my uncle’s restaurant — Trattoria Sorrentina, on Bergenline and 79th street. They make the real thing.”

Now you must understand, Rachel and I just ate a full dinner at DiPalma Brothers. But just on Daniele’s recommendation alone we made a bee-line for Sorrentina and got a plain Margherita pie to take home. It was — for lack of a better descriptor — the best pizza I have ever eaten in the entire North Jersey area.

Trattoria Sorrentina uses a gas fired brick oven to make its pizzas. A true Pizza Napoletana as it is made in Naples would actually use a wood fired brick oven and reach 1000 degree temperatures. Sorrentina compromises with the gas oven and cooks its pies in excess of 600 degrees, and they use domestic flour as opposed to Italian “00″ flour, so it is still technically American style Pizza, which combines elements of true Italian-style pizza by using high-quality ingredients. However, I actually happen to prefer this pseudo-authentic hybrid Nouveau Italian-American style to what is served at A Mano in Ridgewood, which for all intents and purposes is actual Pizza Napoletana.

Near-Neapolitan Pizza in North Jersey. Bravissimo! Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

Trattoria Sorrentina is a great casual place to bring family and friends. Be careful about weekend nights though, it can get seriously packed.

At a lot of Italian restaurants the quality of the bread is an oversight. But not at Sorrentina — its a great crusty loaf that comes out nice and hot from the pizza oven,

Sorrentina’s pies differ from most pizzas in that the large pies are oblong in shape, and they have several varieties with more toppings than the true laws of Neapolitan pizza-making would allow. However, for pies that taste this good, I’m willing to cut them a bit of slack from Neapolitan orthodoxy.

One of Sorrentina’s skilled pizzaiolos making a Quattro Formaggi (Four Cheese) pie.

The Quattro Formaggi pie.

Quattro Formaggi closeup.

Fried Calamari. We were a little disappointed there weren’t any tentacles but they were fresh and quite tasty.

Pizza Don Antonio, a mixed vegetable pie.

Don Antonio closeup.

Slice closeup.

Here’s one of their specialty pies with Rucola (Arugula/Rocket) and Prosciutto ham.

Pizza Margherita, the classic. I urge you to order one of these first before trying any of the other varieties. The sauce has a wonderful acidic and savory flavor, which can only come from real San Marzano tomatoes from Italy, that are grown in the volcanic soil near Mount Vesuvius. The Marinara sauce is infused with basil and garlic, topped with fresh basil, pecorino romano and mozzarella cheeses, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

The small pies have the traditional round shape.

Sorrentina has a full-blown Italian menu in addition to the pizzas, including antipasto and pasta selections and regular meat and fish entrees. This is one of their specialty salads with grilled chicken, mozzarella and tomato.

18 Responses to NJ Dining: Trattoria Sorrentina (UPDATED)

  1. Michele says:

    a me mi fai 4 pizze margherite,
    grazie

    michele moto design google

  2. Cindy says:

    ….drooling…

  3. Bill says:

    Jason:

    Have you try the Neapolitan pizza place in Ridgewood – A Mano ?
    I wonder how it compare to Trattoria Sorrentina.

    One thing I find interesting is that A Mano makes the pie on the kid’s menu in that oblong sharp but makes the regular pie circular.

  4. Eric says:

    I also wonder how it compares to A Mano in Ridgewood. I think the pies at A Mano are as close to the real thing as you can get. Would like to hear from someone who has tried both places………..Anyone???

  5. Bosmer says:

    A Mano is awful. I went there once and would never return. The center of the pizza is very mushy and unappetizing. There wasn’t much balance in flavor either.

    Unfortunately, the service is the worst part.

    Those pics look great. I look forward to trying Trattoria Sorrentina.

  6. Dan H says:

    Jason,

    I work in North Bergen and go to Trattoria Sorrentina at least once a week. I was wondering when the word would get out on this place. It’s really great.

    I agree that their pizza is about the best in the North Jersey area. This pizza is stylistically different from coal oven versions (that seem to have a cult following), but it is every bit as tasty.

    You are right about the tomatoes. The San Marzano flavor is evident and makes a big difference. The Margherita is about is good as it gets for me.

    All of the food is great here. The pastas and entrees are all really good. Try the grilled octopus over potatoes and zucchini.

  7. Eric says:

    Went there the other day. The pizza margherita was very good. They use quality ingredients and execute the pies well. The pie is COOKED perfectly, unlike alot of other pizzerias. I hate when you get a layer of hot oozing cheese and sauce on top, followed by a mushy, doughy center, and then a crispy bottom and crust. These guys know how to get the center of the pie cooked perfectly. This, to me, is very important. Highly recommend this place. Will have to revisit A Mano to compare. I went there once before and they had agood pie too(perfectly cooked as wel). However, I hear that they are not consistent. Some bloggers state that they serve a mushy center as well. Will have to check it out.

  8. Sarahbeek says:

    Went yesterday for the first time.
    Ordered a small Margherita and a small pepperoni w/artichoke hearts.
    The Margherita was so wonderful I couldn’t abandon it to taste the other.
    The bread was a nice touch. Crunchy crust with a warm soft inside – not the standard generic bread that some places serve.
    Worth every penny of the parking ticket we received while there!
    (Don’t park at the meters across the street on Wed. between 1 & 3)!

  9. So tonight we went to A Mano, which we liked, but did not love. Nevertheless, from a pizza geek’s perpective Its much more the “real deal” than Sorrentina in terms of it being a true Pizza Napoletana, so I corrected the post to reflect that. Nevertheless, I prefer Sorrentina’s pie for the value propostion (A Mano is anything but cheap) and the fact that I prefer the bolder tasting sauce and the pie is much more consistently and uniformly cooked, this despite having the lower temperature oven. I hope to get the A Mano post up shortly, but if you look at the Flickr stream you can see the photos. I’m sure it will bring on heated debate from the Pro-Napoletana and Pro-authenticity crowd.

  10. [...] week, I wrote about Trattoria Sorrentina, an Italian restaurant and pizzeria in North Bergen making high-end pies with top quality [...]

  11. Michele says:

    so pronte le pizze?

    una 4 stagioni al 15, grazie.

  12. north hudson firefighter says:

    pizza is thin crust and delicious! Broccoli Rabe was terrific aswell. If I want great pizza, I come here.

  13. shupa says:

    Just tried sorrentina for the first time last night based upon this review. I live in englewood cliffs, and after mapquesting the location I set off at 7 pm. Unfortunately, it was raining, and I ended up missing about 20 different street signs on my way there. What should have been a 15 minute trip ended up being a 50 minute journey interlaced with bouts of nonstop cursing and banging of the steering wheel.

    Needless to say, by the time I arrived at Sorrentina I was not in the best of moods. I picked up my pie and calamari (had called in my takeout order before leaving home), and after getting lost only twice (hurray!) on my return trip home and then waiting for my pie (margherita) to reheat, I was finally ready to eat.

    To put it simply, the pizza was so outstanding that it nearly made the entire debacle of a journey worth it. Mind you, this was a pie that had been sitting in their oven staying semi warm for near an hour waiting for me to pick it up, and then sittin in my car for 30 minutes while i got lost again (twice!) on my return trip home, before finally being reheated at 350 for 10 minutes..and it was still pretty much as good as it gets. The only other pizza in north jersey that I’ve had thus far that can even compare to Sorrentina’s is Brooklyn’s Brick Oven Pizzeria. Can’t wait to go back and try a couple of Sorrentina’s other offerings.

  14. James G says:

    I just ate at Sorrentina for the second time with my girlfriend. I really do love this place, for the friendly staff, the prices, and of course, the food. The first time I had their food I brought a margherita home. This pizza blew me away. I never tasted anything like it. The crust had an awesome char, the tomatoes were sweet, the cheese was creamy, and everything was in perfect balance.

    Last night was not as great. The service and price was still right on. We started with the mussels which were fantastic. We then had lobster ravioli and pizza margherita. I swear the ravioli had mint in it. It didn’t kill the meal but it was just kind of odd and unexpected. The waiter was unsure what herb was really in them but I’m almost positive it was mint. The margherita was not as good as i remember. The crust was a little too thin, giving a cracker like texture to most bites. There was still some raw flour on the bottom of about half the pie. The tomatoes were also lacking some seasoning. I’m hoping it was just an off night because I defintely wanna go back again. This place stil ranks in my top 5 pizzerias in NJ.

  15. John says:

    I visited Trattoria Sorrentina because I’d seen it many times as I drove by, and I forgot that I’d read about it in Off the Broiler. The pizzas looked good, and I saw some huge plates of lasagna going out to tables, so I brought the kids in for dinner. I ordered one dish of ravioli for both of them, and I ordered a chicken caeser salad for myself. The salad was rather plain, with the chicken buried beneath a pile of lettuce, but what do you expect for a ceaser salad? The ravioli dish was a joke, with an average size plate only half covered, and the ravioli were spread out one layer thick, just six of them. Unfortunately I waited until the kids pretty much finished the ravioli before I complained to the waiter about the puny portion for $11. He said I could “order” another plate. I told him I felt bad already having the poor deal we got, so why would I order another. He said he’d check with the manager. Five minutes later he came and said they’ve been serving them that way for five years. He didn’t offer anything like extra bread, obviously not realizing that we felt ripped off, so I left no tip and would not return there even for their pizza.

  16. [...] Again, go read Ed Levine’s post and admire the great pictures at the tail end.  If you don’t already read Ed’s Off The Broiler blog you should (and you really should have back before his diet!  Ed knows good food and is a great writer to boot.  He has never steered me wrong and he is responsible for introducing me by way of his blog to my all-time favorite pizza joint Trattoria Sorrentina). [...]

  17. Nora says:

    I always knew we made a perfect pair. My boyfriend grew up in North Bergen and I in Elizabeth. Over the years we both enjoyed turning each other on to our two favorite pizza places, his Trattoria Sorrentina and my Santillo’s.

  18. Mark says:

    Had the 4 cheese Pizza as take out and ate it the next day after heating it up for 10 minutes. I had no idea there was no sauce on it. That said, it was so freakin delicous and not dry at all. How do they do it? Usually pies with sauce are dry to me. I want to try the Margaritta pie next. And I live 30 minutes away but for great pizza, I will travle

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