Indianapolis is quickly becoming one of the hottest food cities in America. A destination for true foodies who are interested in everything from fine dining to food trucks. This column will put the spotlight on one of these local hot spots to help get the word out and share in the love of all things food.
Review by Dustin Heller (@eatindywatchindie on Instagram)
The typical layout of this column is fairly straightforward: I introduce you to the featured restaurant of the week and then I tell you about my favorite items from the menu; my “can’t miss” choices. Well, what if I blew that format up and just deemed an entire restaurant as “can’t miss”? For starters, the spotlight would be extremely short and probably not very entertaining (unlike all the others … wink, wink).
Secondly, it would show you how strongly I feel about the restaurant in question. Diavola (located at 1134 East 54th Street) is a pasta and pizza powerhouse that can’t fly under the radar any longer. The Meridian-Kessler neighborhood knows all about this hidden gem, but I’m here to let the cat out of the bag for the rest of us. Rise up, foodies!
Diavola has been around for a few years now, but the recent change in ownership has taken the place to the next level. Even walking into the place feels like you’re walking into an inferno. Not because the air conditioning isn’t working, but because of the fiery red and orange color scheme on the walls. They even have a personalized brick oven that looks like something out of the movies. With a charming bar in the back of the restaurant and an inviting patio out front, everyone is sure to feel comfortable and welcome.
Diavola is a pizzeria at heart where their delicious made-from-scratch pies take center stage, but don’t think for a second that is all they have to offer. The pizzas are truly gourmet with an assortment of toppings that would make any foodie proud. Want roasted sweet corn on your pizza? No problem! What about pear? Sure thing! Not in the mood for pizza, you say? Well, their vast selection of starters and salads or their amazing homemade pastas will surely do the trick. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m really into this menu. Here are four “can’t miss” items to help you on your way:
Diavola Pizza: If the pizza is worthy enough to carry the restaurant’s name, it is certainly good enough to make the top of my list. The freshly made pizza crust is covered with a flavorful pomodoro red sauce and topped with fresh mozzarella, peppadew peppers, basil, olive, and a boatload of delicious little pepperonis. Be prepared -- the first bite will knock your socks off! I challenge anyone to find me a better pepperoni pizza in all of Indy!
Tricolore Pappardelle: This pasta would make the top of almost any list I’ve ever done, but that pizza is darn near perfection. I’ll give everyone out there a little secret on how to win me over … fresh made pasta in-house. I fully respect the time and effort that goes into such an undertaking and my taste buds, thank you. This housemade pappardelle is served in a traditional basil pesto with heirloom tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and fresh mozzarella pearls. I’m not a huge fan of olives, but they make this dish. Don’t be scared to try something new.
Parma Pizza: No, this isn’t Chicken Parm in the form of a pizza, although it does have shaved parmesan. This is a subtle pizza that is bursting at the seams with flavor. The crust is topped with salsa Bianca (classic white sauce), mozzarella, arugula, shaved parmesan and some really amazing prosciutto from La Quercia in Iowa. Widely considered the best prosciutto in America. All of this adds up to a beautifully complex pizza that is making my mouth water as I’m writing this up.
Wild Mushroom Ravioli: Another homemade pasta that is nothing short of brilliant. Fresh ravioli stuffed with spinach, mushroom, and truffle that is served in a bold and creamy gorgonzola sauce with thyme and walnuts. There is a depth of flavor in every bite that has to be experienced first-hand to truly appreciate it. It’s pasta-licious!
After such a delicious meal, you’re gonna want to save some room for dessert. Might I suggest the Spumoni Bomba …