Ciao: Coupevilles’ Hidden Wood-Fire Pizza Haven

by Megs Thompson

Known on the island as the best wood-fire pizza around, Ciao, located in downtown Coupeville, is definitely at the top of this pizza lover’s list! Not only is the location amazing- a relaxing three block jaunt from local landmark and watering hole Toby’s Tavern and the waterfront- the staff are always friendly, outgoing, and truly looking to make sure you have the best dining experience they can provide.

I can honestly say that of my last five visits to Coupeville, I’ve enjoyed lunch, dinner, or an afternoon cocktail at Ciao on four of those visits; it has quickly become one of my favorite stops. For the sake of conversation: the only reason I didn’t stop by on trip 5 was that I’d just finished munching my weight in cinnamon rolls at the Knead & Feed a few blocks away.

Sourcing local ingredients (from Gelatiamo in Seattle, 3 Sisters Beef in Whidbey Island, Rosehip Farm & Garden in Coupeville, Isernio’s in Seattle, and Willowood Farm in Ebey’s Landing), the team at Ciao is very conscious of being a local business. They jump at the chance to support other local businesses. They also believe strongly that the key to a great pizza, starts with the dough. Using Mediterranean sea salt, Caputo flour from Naples, and fresh, active cake yeast, as well as well-fed groundwater from Coupeville (which offers a unique natural blend of minerals and salts – perfect for emulating the mountain spring water found and used in Naples pizza), they seem to have struck edible gold! With a wood-burning oven made almost exactly like the oldest ovens ever excavated, and a staunch refusal to ever allow a microwave into the kitchen, the team at Ciao really is doing Neapolitan pizza the way it’s meant to be done.

I recommend starting with the Clinton Caesar, a perfectly garlic & parmesan-y Caesar salad served atop a toasty wood fired pizza crust. Keep in mind this is definitely large enough to share, or take home for munching later on – with which I ask for a side of the house-made spicy garlic sauce for dipping.

As for the main course, I always order pizza, with my favorite being a toss up (get it? Pizza? A toss up?) between two of the white pizzas, the Ciao Tuscany – made with fresh mozzarella, parmigiano, ricotta, fig, gorgonzola, arugula & prosciutto – and the Coupe Ciao – featuring Isernio’s mouth-watering chicken sausage, spinach, walnuts, parmigiano, & garlic oil. Again, there’s always enough to share, or take home for later.

After dinner, if you time your visit right, you can relax with a delicious cocktail and settle in for the smooth jazz of any number of local musicians that frequent the establishment. If you happen to stick around long enough, you may find yourself tempted into sampling the daily gelato flavor, or one of the heavenly homemade cannolis.

For more information about Ciao, the full menu (keep in mind some items change with the seasons), as well as more delectable food-porn, check out their website – www.ciaocoupeville.com – or look them up on Facebook under the same name.

Ciao!