There’s an exchange in The Devil Wears Prada where Stanley Tucci’s character Nigel says to Anne Hathaway’s Andrea “You do know that cellulite is one of the main ingredients of corn chowder”.
This is a quip that lives rent free in my head. It may be my version of the Roman Empire, and it’s what fleetingly passes through my mind when looking at the menu in the newly opened Glasgow branch of Civerinos.
Serving what can only be described as gigantic slices of pizza (two slices are half of a 20” pie), along with sides such as parmesan and truffle chips, a giant mozzarella stick and mac and cheese bites. This funky restaurant is on Radnor Street - the site of Le Petit Cochon, which sadly closed in 2021.
Inside the two couldn’t be more different. La Petit Cochon had a cosy vibe with fairy lights, soft music and a bar that looked like something out of a European indie film.
Civerinos is bright, colourful and covered in graffiti art from local artist, Pizza Boy. There’s bent-plywood furniture inspired by a half pipe skate ramp, a DJ booth and standing tables inspired by New York slice bars.
It opened earlier this month and is, according to founder Michele Civiera ‘ a dream come true.’ Civiera, who opened the first pizzeria in Edinburgh in 2014 added: “We’ve worked hard at creating a shop, a vibe and a menu that we hope the community will love and the people of the city have come to expect.
"With a passion for authentic flavours and a commitment to excellence, we’re here to serve the people of Glasgow our signature slices and good times. It’s been humbling to sit inside our first restaurant in Glasgow this week.
"We know our offering is special, and that comes from all the magic that happens behind the scenes with our incredible teams, consistently carving the craft of pizza making. It’s where the Civerinos journey begins, and I can’t wait to welcome everyone in and let our food do the talking.”
The restaurant was very busy on the Monday night that we went along. You can’t book, but service was quick and tables were being turned round fast, so the wait isn’t an issue.
From arrival, the staff were attentive and helpful, explaining the menu and keeping in communication over the wait and tables that would be available soon.
We ended up in a comfortable window seat and, having checked out the menu, decided to go for the full New York experience by ordering a slice each and some sides to share.
I chose a slice of the big eggplant energy (£5.50) which had a topping of sugo, vegan mozzarella, aubergine, spinach and sundried tomatoes with fresh basil.
My boyfriend went for the big poppa (£5.50) topped with Civerinos blanca base, double mozzarella, red and green jalapenos all topped with crispy onions and chimichurri sauce.
To accompany, we shared a giant mozzarella stick (£8.50), arancini and, at the recommendation of our waitress, the garlic crust bites (£5). We also ordered three dips (£1 each) - ranch, hot sauce and chipotle mayo - for the crusts and sides.
Everything arrived speedily, with the slices served on paper plates and the sides in red plastic baskets with Civerinos branded greaseproof paper on the bottom.
First up, the giant mozzarella stick which was crisp and packed full of stringy cheese. What can often be a tasteless starter (usually served with a tomato dip to counteract this), Civerinos’ was tasty thanks to the panko breadcrumbs and a seasoning of grated parmesan.
A hit which is no doubt now all over social media thanks to its comical cheese pull. Next the arancini, which was a lovely golden colour.
Inside was a creamy filling of rice and small chunks of carrot. The filling was reminiscent of a nursery style veg and rice soup - creamy, comforting, but you wouldn’t want more than a couple.
The garlic crust bites were as good and moreish as described - little pops of unbelievably light crust, with a hint of garlic.
These were a large portion but they kept well and were enjoyed the next day. Finally, the main event, the pizza slices.
My pizza had a full and half moon of aubergine and a few basil leaves atop the tomato, cheesy base (you’d never know this was vegan cheese) and a charred crust. In fact this charring (read very burnt) extended to the entire base.
While it didn’t detract too much from the flavour (which was earthy and rich thanks to the aubergine), I wanted to check if this was normal as the other slice only had partial charring.
All pizzas are cooked in large, wood fired ovens and staff have apparently been trained in the business’s techniques via the ‘Doughboy’ academy and production lab. This is to ensure perfect dough and sauces, every time.
Our waitress assured me the crust and base were fine and normal, and did offer to replace it, but we declined as the slice tasted fine. It just didn’t look great.
Across the table, the big poppa, was a spicy, vibrant dish due to the smattering of chimichurri and jalapenos. After a range of large portions, we didn’t have time for dessert though the only dish, hot cinnamon doughnuts (£6.50) looked great.
This was definitely a carb fest, and while there’s no corn chowder in sight, I don’t think Nigel would approve.
We left full, and in no doubt that this will be a huge hit for the west end, especially with anyone looking to eat before an event at the Hydro.
It’s a cool spot with trendy dishes (cheese pull anyone?!). But, as with all new openings, there are some small teething problems, which I am sure will be sorted out as Civerinos makes its first home west of the M8.