San Giorgio pizzeria delivers old-school charm and warmth.
I love going way out west for a stroll through Charlottenburg. Its quaint charm and historic buildings give me a glimpse of the Berlin of old. It’s the place your granny would live if she were a Berliner. No offence, Charlottenburg, for I like nothing better than popping around my grandma’s for a much needed break from being an adult. Sometimes you need it.
Charlottenburg’s charm can be found in its neighbourhood restaurants too. Italian eaterie San Giorgio, located just around the corner from the S-bahn Charlottenburg station, is one such place. A good, honest Italian restaurant serving up authentic home comforts is just the kind of spot we want to go to when making an ausflug in the area.
On a sunny afternoon in April, we met with owner Fabrizio, who had just returned from an errand. Dressed in a tracksuit, Fabrizio deeply impressed us by managing to spruce himself up in 10 seconds flat, instantly emerging perfectly polished in a stylish suit – no joke. Italians… even Superman needed a phonebooth to change his costume that quickly. Fabrizio sat us down to tell us the San Giorgio story, and that of the neighbourhood.
San Giorgio has kept it in the family.
San Giorgio has been a Charlottenburg staple since 1989, when it was opened by Fabrizio’s parents. The family are originally from Bari, the capital of Puglia, but Fabrizio’s a true Berliner. He joined the family business in 2004 and spent the following 10 years working alongside his father. Since taking the business over completely, he’s given the place a fresh makeover – both in terms of decor and menu.
Politics and pizza.
Fabrizio’s adapted his menu to suit his customers and the restaurant attracts a large number of politicians. This is thanks to its location a few S-bahn stops from the seats of German government – former chancellor Gerhard Schröder is a regular. Fabrizio’s kept the menu small and enjoys being able to adapt what he serves to suit whoever’s feeling peckish. This has resulted in some German cuisine influences creeping in and Fabrizio isn’t afraid to bastardise classic Italian dishes if the results taste good. And they do. On the menu you’ll find typical pasta dishes as well as lamb steaks and of course, a large range of antipasti. There are plenty of seafood dishes too – calamari, salmon and seabream. In short – something for everyone, not only politicians.
Hunting for the best pizza in Berlin in the run-up to True Italian Pizza Week, we got a chance to sample what Fabrizio’s kitchen had to offer. His chef rustled up two classics – parma ham and parmesan that was full of flavour and character, and good old ‘thunfisch’ pizza.
San Giorgio pizzas feature the classic pizza base, and it’s fresh and crispy. Fabrizio wasn’t lying about his quest for quality either – the toppings on these pizzas are exactly what we expect for real Italian restaurant pizza. This is the sort of stuff that makes you realise that you’re selling your life short dining on frozen pizzas. I think the secret is to make an incredible tomato sauce that bursts with the flavour of Italian sunshine. Top that off with fresh black olives and chunky bits of tuna, or succulent parma ham and flakes of parmesan, and you’re onto a real winner.
San Giorgio’s a treat. Its fresh and contemporary look retains that old school Charlottenburg vibe but keeps things modern. Fabrizio’s charm and enthusiasm for his family’s business is infectious and he made us feel right at home. Next time you’re checking out the old world (apologies to any readers under the age of 40 living in Charlottenburg, we’re only messing), call in on San Giorgio.
Camera: Canon EOS 6D