I was so bummed when the summertime restaurant inside Union Square’s open air pavilion no longer opened in the summer. It was so nice being able to enjoy a meal and glass of wine with the sounds of squealing children from the adjoining playground as background noise (see previous review here). That’s why I’m so happy the restaurant is back (as of last week) and even better than ever as Bocce.
How is it better? Well, first of all, the concept is different. Before, everything was focused on the green market. Now, it’s all about summer in Italy. That means pizza. We tried all but one of the pizza’s on the menu (the only one we didn’t try was the shrimp scampi). Every pizza was good with wonderful crust. But I should have expected that since this place comes to us from the same guys as Roberta’s. The crowd fave was probably the mushroom, but I also liked the farm pie, which was topped with all sorts of different greens, including mint. I was a little concerned at first – hellooo these are not normal pizza toppings – but decided it was a unique and well done pizza. There were no complaints about the pepperoni or sausage pizzas either.
I’m a fan of any restaurant where the drink menu is larger than the food menu. In this case, it’s about double in size. There was an entire section for spritzes (like I said, this place is Italy in summertime), including Aperol Spritz ON TAP. I tried the green market spritz first (Tequila, Cucumber, Vermouth, Elderflower, Celery) and followed with the rosé (Cocchi Rosa, Rose, Strawberry, Sparkling Rosé). Both were super tasty and refreshing.
And please make sure you order the bocce bread for the table. It’s basically a large round of ultra soft, airy, pizza crust, served with ripped ricotta that’s been seasoned with garlic, fresh herbs, and olive oil. YUM.
Finally, round out your whole experience with a game of bocce out front. I, personally, think it’s best enjoyed with a drink in hand and would be a fun way to spend a happy hour. You didn’t think this place was called Bocce for no reason, did you?