Friday, November 13, 2009

PIANETA GELATO – Puerto Vallarta

Pianeta Gelato can be found in the heart of Zona Romatica across the street from another of my local faves – Joe Jack’s Fish Shack. This area of Vallarta is the older, charming Puerto Vallarta. Zona Romantica is Vallarta's most energized neighborhood with the south side beach, restaurants, bars, lounges and beach side cafes.

Pianeta Gelato is a new casual eatery with 2 different concepts – wood oven fired pizzas and homemade gelato. The short menu offers pizzas, salads, paninis, lasagna, beer and wine. On this visit, Carol, Treavor, Mandy & I went for a pizza dinner.

The pizzeria’s dining area and the pizza oven are outside in a very comfortable garden space with large plants, an overhang providing protection from Vallarta’s golden sun, a rock & water element hiding some of the noise from the street and a collection of sofas near the sidewalk. The sofas are perfect for relaxing and sipping beverages with friends and people watching!

Eloy, the sexiest pizza designer I’ve met, creates one of the best pizzas I’ve found in Puerto Vallarta. For dinner, we devoured 3 of Eloy’s creations. We had 2 Pizza Margheritas – a crust stretched so thin we could almost see through it topped with homemade tomato sauce, freshly shredded mozzarella cheese and thin strips of basil. The third pizza was the Pizza di Prosciutto – again the same incredibly thin crust, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and very thin slices of parma ham providing the “frosting” on this pie. Delizioso!

The pizza pies are fired in a specially designed brick oven within the outdoor pizza prep area located at the far end of the garden. Pizzas are fired for 4-6 minutes depending on the toppings. Each of our pizzas arrived piping hot with charred, cracked edges! The internal oven temperature is approximately 500º Fahrenheit (260º Celsius) with a cooking surface of 380º F (193º C). The oven is never turned off; the wood just burns down. It would take too long each day to fire it up to the required cooking temp.

A shaker containing a dry spice blend of ground red pepper, garlic & onion is found on each table. We all recommend that a couple shakes be added to each slice providing some missing zest to the tomato sauce. Once added, it is difficult to find a better pizza pie in PV.

My friends & I made several stops inside the new gelato space. I did not order gelato but my friends raved about the intense, fresh flavor combinations. However, I did observe a service counter operation that lacked sufficient staff and training to efficiently serve their customers. The “place your gelato order here” & the “pay here” areas are confusing and jam too many customers into a small space. One scooper should not service customers coming from 2 different directions, but there were always 2-3 staffing the cash register. I found it disorganized. If this is resolved, it should be a success.

From the number of occupied garden tables I’ve observed as I pass by this new café, Pianeta Gelato is becoming a popular pizza eatery in Old Town. I know I’ll be returning during this visit, at least for pizza… & I did.

Mmm… Mmm…


$ 10
$ 20
$$ 30
$$ 40+

+ Stop bothering me!
++ Anyone here?
+++ Stopped when in the area.
++++ As needed and friendly.
+++++ Invisibly perfect!

“One visit too many!”
✦✦ “Convince me!”
✦✦✦ “I’ll be back!”
✦✦✦✦ “Same table next week!”

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