by Charlottesville29

Lampo205 Monticello Road . Charlottesville, VA . (434) 244-3226

Why Lampo?

What a refreshing addition Lampo was to the Charlottesville dining scene when it opened in late 2014. In an era where many young chefs vie to create the next big thing, here were three talented young chefs joining forces to create a traditional food governed by rigid rules: Neapolitan pizza. After much practice, study, and expert tutoring, the three chefs –Mitchell Beerens, Loren Mendosa, and Ian Redshaw — mastered the pizza, which alone may warrant a slot in The Charlottesville 29.

But, there’s much, much, more. Some chefs vow to keep it simple, but then cannot help from trying to show off through contrived cooking. When it comes to keeping it simple, Lampo’s chefs walk the walk, embracing the Campanian approach to food: use outstanding ingredients and get out of the way, allowing the product to shine. The astonishing results can often leave customers wondering how something so simple can taste so good.

A fourth owner, Andrew Cole, former sommelier of Tavola, is one of the town’s most devoted bar managers, whose passions for cocktails and beer rival his passion for wine. Start a meal with one of his barrel-aged cocktails before enjoying a wine or beer paired with your food.

With a tiny, brick Belmont space, there is often a wait, especially for dinner. But, the food, drinks, and cheerful service are always worth it.

What to Order

Daily specials invariably warrant consideration, especially General Tso’s Sweetbreads, the Dish of the Year and the Szechuan Pastrami Panuozzo, the 2016 Dish of the Year. On the regular menu, a standout is the porchetta panuozzo, which three different area chefs named the best thing they ate in all of 2015. Below are our picks, choices by Lampo’s own chefs, and appearances in Five Finds on Friday, where other area chefs and personalities have named a Lampo dish one of the best in town.

Our Picks

  • Antipasti: Pane; Polpettine al Forno
  • Insalata: Cavolo Nero; Brussels Sprouts
  • Panuozzo: Porchetta; Muffalata, Vegetable
  • Pizza: Margherita D.O.C.; Marinara D.O.C.
  • Specials
  • Whatever Cocktail Andrew Feels Like Making

Chefs’ Picks

  • Brussels Sprout Salad (Mendosa)
  • Vegetable Panuozzo (Mendosa and Beerens)
  • Hot Carl: a warmed Muffaletta Panuozzo (Redshaw)
  • Marinara D.O.C. Pizza (Beerens)
  • Hellboy Pizza (Redshaw)
  • Pasta a la Chittara with Broccolini, Ginger, and Calabrian Chili (Redshaw)

Five Finds on Friday Picks