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At Si Cara, crusty delights in edgy surrounds

Arancini at Si Cara restaurant in Central Square.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

Where to: Si Cara in Central Square.

Why: For light, airy pizza and other casual snacks from Michael Lombardi, who’s also the executive chef and partner at SRV in the South End. Si Cara means “yes, dear,” in Italian.

“The name comes from the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren, when you visit and they let you do whatever you want. Mine would give me desserts when I stayed at their house,” Lombardi told me when the restaurant first opened a few months ago.

The bar and entry at Si Cara restaurant in Central Square. Lane Turner/Globe Staff

The backstory: Lombardi longed to open a restaurant in a “major square.” He settled on Central for its character: “I feel like it has a lot of small, independent businesses, and it’s not overrun by out-of-town or big-box stuff. I felt like a 1,500-square-foot local pizzeria fits into that style of everything else that’s going on in the neighborhood. I love the energy of it. I love Graffiti Alley. It’s edgy,” he says.

Lombardi knows edgy: He worked at Del Posto in Manhattan, for many years the acclaimed flagship of Mario Batali, and at L’Office in Paris.


Pepperoni pizza at Si Cara restaurant in Central Square. Lane Turner/Globe Staff

The food: Si Cara specializes in pizza, but not your usual thin, oily slices.

“Our pizza is different because we have a really high hydration, a lot of water content, and a 48-hour fermentation,” he says. The result is a Neapolitan, Canotto-style pie: puffy, lightly charred, free-form cylinders that look like a child’s rendition of a UFO.

“It should look like a life raft,” he says.

Roasted beets at Si Cara restaurant in Central Square. Lane Turner/Globe Staff

Lombardi’s favorite is the pepperoni with pearl onion and oregano, but there are plenty of offbeat choices, too: roasted squash with marcona almonds, goat cheese, and prosciutto; shrimp fra diavlo; an earthy mushroom and taleggio combo with charred leeks. At lunch, there are also classic pan pizzas by the slice, from standard pepperoni to potato or sunchoke.


Sides are also tasty, though apportioned lightly: Soft, silky barbecued carrots with crispy pig ear were gone in four bites; so were the meatballs and clouds of ricotta. An arancini duo, on the other hand, is massive: malleable, buttery, wrapped in Stracciatella with a twinge of lemon.

Most dishes are under $20.

Broccoli pan pizza at Si Cara restaurant in Central Square. Lane Turner/Globe Staff

What to drink: A honey-and-herb Old-Fashioned; an “Italian ice” made with crushed ice, gin, and limoncello; Miller High Life; and a tight selection of Italian wines — none for more than $60 per bottle

The takeaway: A sophisticated pizza parlor with a few fun menu detours. But order extra.

Si Cara, 425 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-945-7629, www.sicarapizza.com

Kara Baskin can be reached at kara.baskin@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @kcbaskin.