With a little help from my friend Sherrye, I discovered a new restaurant in Coupeville on Whidbey Island. Mark Laska, the owner and chef at Ciao, likes to use local ingredients and the freshness they impart makes food taste so much better than if it’s shipped to the eatery in a bag or a box.
Laska learned how to cook from his grandmothers and previously used his talents at four star hotels in Los Angeles. Thankfully, he and his wife decided that was not where they wanted to raise children so they moved to Whidbey Island.
Now he blesses islanders and visitors with authentic Neapolitan pizza cooked in a wood-fired oven. Staff at the restaurant makes their own mozzarella everyday. Many of the meats used in the dishes come from the nearby Three Sisters Farm.
I’m having trouble describing how tasty this pizza is. It’s not the thick, doughy crust slathered with tomato sauce and covered with tons of cheese to mask the flavor that you might be accustomed to. Instead, the crust is very flakey, with plenty of fresh ingredients and dotted with slivers of the homemade mozzarella. It was two weeks ago when I had that pizza and I still remember how much I enjoyed it and savored it.
For dessert, the gelato is phenomenal. Although it comes from Seattle, that’s still very close to local. Try the coconut or the hazel nut. A dollop of hazel nut in a cup of espresso is phenomenal.
Did you know pizza taste better if it is served unsliced? But if you prefer the convenience of sliced pizza, the staff will gladly accommodate you.
Spectacular food, unparalleled service and a lovely view — you can’t go wrong at Ciao.