I don’t go to Saar very frequently to eat out, which is probably why I’ve pretty much ignored Gusto, a pizzeria that opened a few months ago. Until now, that is. After reading a mention in Time Out Bahrain, I went for dinner with a group of friends, and again a few days later with parents. The reason I went again is because I think I found my new favorite pizza in Bahrain! There were definitely a few hit and misses though. I’ll combine the dishes that were ordered on the two separate occasions for ease of review.
The pizzas are made in a traditional wood burning oven, and it shows. They are light and crispy, thin style authentic Italian pizzas. I’m no pizza snob, I definitely enjoy Papa John’s from time to time, but after a trip to Italy last summer I like to think I know what good authentic pizza constitutes. And Gusto’s pizza base is exactly what I like. Crispy at the edges, with a thin crust that’s the tiniest bit charred on the edges while maintaining its chewiness towards the center.
We ordered a artichoke goat cheese salad with roasted peppers, diavolo pizza which is pepperoni with spicy peppers, a quattro formaggi pizza, a pizza with ricotta cheese and artichokes (not pictured), and a margherita with additional buffalo mozzarella on top (Doc margharita). I was very excited about the salad, and thought it looked great, but the taste disappointed me. The goat cheese was tough and rubbery, and the few roasted red peppers didn’t mix well with the lettuce leaves. If it had been a lettuceless salad, with a pile of roasted red and yellow peppers, artichokes and creamy goat cheese they would have had a hit. The artichokes, both in the salad and on top of the pizza tasted canned, I usually love artichokes but I ended up pushing these to the side. The toppings on the pizzas themselves were hit and miss.The quattro formaggi was very bland; I couldn’t even detect any sauce under the heaviness of the cheese. But the next two pizzas completely redeemed the place and one in particular, the doc margherita, is the reason I ended up going back the same week. The margherita was spectacular, the buffalo mozerella was gooey and melted, the basil tasted very fresh and added a flavor that permeated the whole pizza and the tomato sauce also tasted light, fresh and perfectly seasoned. Everyone agreed that was the clear winner. The diavolo was also really good, with crispy spicy pepperoni, but the pepperoni was a little too much, those of you who like really meaty pizzas will like this, while I like a little less meat to really taste the cheese and crust.
The second time I went back, I ended up getting the same margherita with buffalo mozarella pizza and a shrimp pasta (pasta with gamberoni, giant shrimp, rocket, and cherry tomatoes). The presentation was really nice, I was immediately excited to dig in. And the pasta didn’t disappoint! It’s done in true Italian style, with very little sauce, just olive oil and a touch of tomato, with a lot of garlic. The shrimp was huge and cooked perfectly, but I didn’t like that it came in the peel (I like my food totally ready to eat). The pasta overall was a bit salty for my taste, but if I combined roasted sweet cherry tomatoes and rocket with each bite it evened it out. My parents ordered the seafood pasta (I don’t eat squid or octopus) and they really liked it, but also had the same complaint that it was a little salty. If the sauce had a bit more tomato in it to give it a more substantial feel, I think I’d like it even more.
Regardless, go to Gusto if only for the pizza, but be careful of some options on the menu that won’t impress as much. I’d advise you to go simple, try the buffalo mozzarella margherita pizza, and what seems to be their speciality on the pasta end, the seafood pastas.