For those of you with New York or New Jersey roots, Capriccio will serve you a heaping plate of homesick. In a good way.
Tucked into the Plantation Point Plaza, Capriccio has expanded to offer a full bar area and dining room while keeping its pizzeria café ambiance fully intact. No frills here. Simulated brick wallpaper and dinner salads served in plastic bowls. This place is food-centric.
First case in point is the shout-out I must give to the warm crusty bread that welcomes each table with an herb and oil dipping sauce. Outstanding! There are a lot of good bread dippers out there, but this is surely one of the best you’ll ever taste.
We were seated in the new main dining area, which was packed. The black-attired servers, working in tandem, rushed to clear a table for us, the chairs still warm from the diners who must have left a New York minute ago.
As we switched back and forth on the menu from pastas to baked dishes to scampi and back again, we couldn’t help but notice that pizzas are a crowd favorite at Capriccio. As one bubbling pie after another came floating to tables, I saw teenagers actually put down their iPhones in order to focus on lifting up a slice and scooping up any gooey strings of cheese attached. Texting came to an abrupt halt in reverence to what they were about to eat.
That’s when I made a note to myself: “At some point, you must try the pizza.”
But at that particular moment, we had set our sights on a couple of Italian classics: veal marsala and chicken piccata.
Capriccio earns an off-the-hook rating for tenderness. Both the chicken and veal were prepared as they should be, thinly sliced and properly sautéed. The piccata of wine, lemon and capers had the authentic brownish tone that comes from pan cooking. And the marsala was right on point, not drowning in either too much wine or too many mushrooms.
I chose the penne marinara for my side dish, and that’s when I found myself flooded with memories of my mother-in-law in her New Jersey kitchen tending to the simmering “gravy” for hours.
I threw carb-watching out the window and ate every last noodle. The fresh crushed tomato sauce tasted as I remember hers did, with notes of sautéed garlic and subtle seasoning.
We returned a few days later, for a late lunch, with nothing but pizza on our minds.
This time, we sat at a high-top in the front bar area where we could watch the dough being kneaded and tossed. A couple of men were leisurely sitting at the bar sipping red wine from an ample goblet, talking in whispers.
Capriccio offers twelve gourmet handmade pizzas, and you can even order a personal pie that’s big enough to share. There’s a good assortment of pizza selections from a lasagna to philly cheesesteak to taco to the San Gennaro with Italian sausage, onions, roasted peppers and mozzarella.
But why not go with the house special? We ordered the Capriccio Special with sun-dried tomatoes, grilled chicken, spinach and garlic.
It came to our table hot and bubbly, right from the oven, on a New York-style thin crust. The toppings were so fresh that you could taste each ingredient without mistake—tangy bites of tomato, the earthiness of spinach and aromatic morsels of garlic.
Except for the day’s specials, the menu at Capriccio pretty much stays the same, with reduced prices for lunch.
At dinner, entrees will run from $12.95 for a Linguini Carbonara to $16.95 for the Linguini alla Sabina topped with shrimp, arugula and fresh herbs. For an appetizer you can dig into a cold antipasto for $11.95, the Baked Clams Oreganato for $10.95 or stuffed mushrooms drizzled with marsala for $7.95.
Capriccio serves about 10 different pasta dishes, including gnocchi, starting at $14.95. Main course chicken selections come in at around $17.50, while Italian-inspired veal and shrimp dishes will cost around $22.95.
There’s also hot and cold sandwiches, salads and a whole kids’ menu.
As our waiter whizzed by carrying a pasta bowl that smelled incredible, I made another mental note to myself: “Sooner than later, you must get back here and try some ravioli and one of those big glasses of vino!”
Capriccio Restaurant & Pizzeria
1285 38th Ave. N.
(In the Plantation Point Plaza)
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
Hours: Open Tuesday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.