Dottore l'Antica: Beirut's Ultimate Italian Trattoria

I’d heard of Dottore almost as soon as it opened its cozy, quaint perch in Hamra nearly two years ago. Diners were raving about its Neapolitan pizza, with its at-once crunchy and soft outer crust, tender dough, and premium toppings.


The ultimate pizza dough can be found at Dottore


Those of you who follow me on Instagram (@Beirutista) may be all too familiar with my worship of masterful pizzas. Meticulously attentive to detail, I admire pizzas that are the product of a vivid imagination, melding a myriad of tastes, flavors, and textures in novel ways to tickle the palate.

Dottore was being heralded as one such purveyor of a pleasurable pizza, and I was more than eager to try it.

Fate finally found us tucked in comfortably at the trattoria-like space, which is longer than it is wide and stacks hundreds of wine bottles precariously on their sides along the restaurant walls. The feel is pure unadulterated Italia, from the humble wooden tables and chairs, to the small oval-shaped plates for sharing, to the massive windows that pivot outward over the narrow trottoir seating.


Dottore interior

After a hearty welcome by head waiter Tarek, who is friendly without being smothering, we were offered a fresh-baked pizza bianca dusted with dried oregano. On each table are three bottles of liquid gold: extra virgin olive oil (and trust me, the deep green hues attest to it), peppery olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. A ramequin of grated Parmesan accompanied the crispy-thin pizza, and with that, the mood was set.


Pizza bianca dusted with oregano


Tarek advised we start with the crespoline agli spinaci (26,400 LL), which resembles a crèpe stuffed with spinach, ricotta, and parmesan cheese. The casserole is baked in the wood-fired oven for a sizzling finish, but give it a minute or two to cool down before diving in. Silky, savory, and irresistibly delicious, it made for a perfect prelude to our meal.


Crespoline agli spinaci


Submitting ourselves to the genius of the pizzaiolo, we murmured in awe as the Caprina pizza (26,400 LL) was nestled between us. A colorful affair of plump cherry tomatoes, red onion ringlets, olive slices, fresh mozzarella, globs of chèvre, and large leaves of basil, this pizza doesn’t lend itself to the hand-held quality. Nope, don’t even attempt to hold it by its fluffy crust—the delectable toppings will slide right off. Instead, relish each bite deliberately with fork and knife. Chic and in control is the name of the game here.


Caprina pizza


We could have easily stopped here, but at Tarek’s urging, we moved on to the frutti di mare pasta (40,700 LL). This is a dish that captures every scent of the sea, with the robustness of fresh calamari, mussels, and shrimp tossed liberally with linguini in a tomato-parsley sauce. If you’re a staunch pescetarian who thrives on “fishy” food, this pasta is for you.


Frutti di mare pasta (spot the Lebanese flag!)


Tarek wouldn’t let us go without sampling the house tiramisu, which transported us back to our trattoria days in Firenze. Creamy mascarpone envelopes coffee- and rum-soaked ladyfingers and is powdered with cocoa. We swiftly lapped it up.


Tiramisu--plated, as it should be


Everything about Dottore is inviting. The obsession with good food and impeccable execution; the superb hospitality of staff members; the warm atmosphere of the restaurant along a quiet street in vibrant Hamra. I’d only consider replacing the paper napkins with proper tablecloths and dialing down the prices of a few dishes to more alluring levels.

A google search as to the meaning of “dottore l'antica” (Italian for "old doctor") reveals it to be a generic character in a play whose function is to impede young lovers. Indeed it were so that night at Dottore. For in the couple of hours comprising our stay, we channeled the adoration we typically reserve for each other to the delicious experience laid before us. And it was euphoric.


Dottore l'Antica Pizzeria
Hamra, Antoun Gemayel Street.
01-349379

Comments

  1. I keep suggesting this place every time friends say "let's get dinner", but it has yet to happen! Glad you enjoyed the place :)

    ReplyDelete

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