Turning half a century old is no small feat, especially for a restaurant! Which is why locals flocked to The Original Port Pizza Bar to celebrate this wonderful restaurant’s 50th birthday.
Owned by Carmine Misale, who bought the venue two weeks after getting married as a wedding gift for his wife, Port Pizza has very much been a family focused restaurant right from the get-go. Melina Misale’s 77-year old Nonna even works 4 days a week, hand-making Carmine’s specialty lasagne along with other authentic Italian dishes!
If this isn’t the very representation of what it means to be a family business, I don’t know what is. And, once you enter Port Pizza, you become apart of this family as well. When we approached the venue, two charming accordion players smiled warmly and began singing in harmony to welcome us.
The staff were friendly, floating from person to person with plates of food or trays of generously filled wine glasses. I purposely arrived hungry, so I sneaked a Rice Ball right away and, upon first bite, was comforted by the nostalgic memory of warm cheesy dishes my mom used to make. The crispy outside added a fresh crunch to my old memory, and their secret blend of spices gave this delicious ball a level of depth. Although I arrived hungry, I could tell I was going to leave very, very full.
We grabbed a glass of red and moved outside to check out their courtyard beer garden. It was like walking into a Nonna’s back garden! Twilight was setting as a group near the back made fresh Zeppole, and beside them was an area set up for homemade tomato sauce to be made right before our eyes.
“Over there is where they’ll do the pizza dough throwing.” directed a young woman rolling Zeppole dough, before inviting me to eat one of the fried creations she was lovingly making.
Let me tell you, if you go to Port Adelaide and don’t eat a Zeppole from The Original Port Pizza Bar, you’re doing it wrong. They’re a-mah-zing! Light and doughy on the inside, a thin crisp on the outside and, either tossed in sugar or enjoyed plain, they’re a serious treat.
It was around this time a young woman began singing a stunning rendition of “Que Será, Será” and, for a moment, I forgot I was in Adelaide and was transported straight to Italy.
And I haven’t even gotten to the Pizza yet! Tray after tray of piping hot slices of Pizza constantly flowed out of the kitchen, as though they had their very own pizza wizard back there. One thing is for sure; Port Pizza is all about traditional flavours while offering exceptional variety. Serving an array of toppings as well as different crusts, from thin to deep dish, they even have a veggie packed vegan option!
For me, Pizza is all about the crust and the sauce. Let me just say, if all Port Pizza offered me was a plate of their perfectly cooked dough and a layer of that fresh tomato sauce on it, I’d be one happy girl. Unsurprisingly, they’ve nailed their Pizzas.
As the night drew on, we wandered and joined kids in making homemade pasta, goofed around with their quirky photobooth and watched sparklers fly high as they cut their spaghetti themed cake, everyone cheerfully singing Happy Birthday in this dear space.
Whether you’re out with your whole family or enjoying a romantic evening with a loved one, The Original Port Pizza Bar is really a special experience. My advice; begin the night with your favourite Pizza and a glass of vino, then end it with a coffee and sugar dusted Zeppole. You won’t be disappointed!
Happy Birthday to The Original Port Pizza Bar. Here’s to the next 50 of keeping traditions alive!
Words by Jamieson Eileen
WHERE: 49 Commercial Rd, Port Adelaide