Bradley Ogden’s Hops & Harvest has arrived at Tivoli Village. It’s only a week old, but the casual new restaurant is already packed tight with neighborhood diners hungry for the same deliciousness that made the chef’s eponymous restaurant at Caesars Palace a hit for a decade. It will surely be one of the most buzzed-about restaurants in the coming weeks, which might overshadow another comfortable and tasty new spot just a few steps away.
Pizza Lounge opened weeks ago at Tivoli Village, near the northern tip of the development. This space was previously occupied by Radio City Pizzeria, which moved Downtown to East Fremont. As Pizza Lounge, the room is decidedly more upscale, with dark wood accents and white upholstered chairs and sofas, plus a pair of handsome, happy-hour-ready bar counters. Speaking of happy hour, this new spot has delicious deals that fit right in with the already stellar offerings of its Tivoli neighbors, $5 plates of Buffalo wings and meatballs and a $10 “flight” tasting of two pizzas and two different wines.
The menu is a refined step up as well, much more balanced and diverse than your average pizza joint. Standout small plates include a baked brie and fig flatbread ($8.95), essentially a personal-sized pizza with thin, crispy crust and layers of rich, slightly sweet flavors, and the even more decadent lobster mac ‘n’ cheese ($10.95), a garlicky treat which does not skimp on the seafood. There’s a massive selection of salads, from classics like Caesar and Cobb to a signature pear and gorgonzola combo ($9.95) with candied walnuts in a balsamic dressing. The portions are generous and the selection varied—there’s also an intriguing Thai-fusion salad with chopped chicken, cilantro and tortilla strips, and a Greek salad speckled with feta cheese. Tivoli Village has not yet found its niche as a lunchtime spot, but with all these options plus pasta, sandwiches and sides in the $10-$15 range, Pizza Lounge may be the perfect solution.
The pizza comes in three sizes: personal, that ample, crisp rectangle; or medium 14-inch or large 18-inch round pies. Of course you can build your own, but you’re better off sampling a couple of the 22 (!) pre-set creations. Feeling simple and traditional? Go with a caprese, a white pizza with grilled chicken and sausage, or a classic Hawaiian with juicy pineapple nuggets. Wanna get a little weird? There’s a grilled chicken and feta pie with a creamy white sauce, or a taco pizza with ground beef, beans, cool lettuce and crispy corn chips. Not weird enough? One of Pizza Lounge’s most popular signature creations is the chipotle shrimp pizza, more white sauce plus spinach, grilled shrimp, goat cheese, mozzarella and bits of cranberry. It sounds like disaster but ends up an addictive bite, creamy while slightly sweet and smoky.
My favorite bite was the California pepperoni pie, plenty of everyone’s favorite pizza meat plus bacon, spinach, ripe medallions of tomato and a nicely spiced plum tomato marinara. It’s actually the perfect way to sum up what they’re doing at Pizza Lounge—hitting the right spot with a few extra touches that go a long way. The developers at Tivoli Village seem committed to creating a great overall dining destination, and this is a strong addition.
Pizza Lounge Tivoli Village, 778-0400. Daily, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.