OMG…where do I start. I found this place from a local recommendation who said the pizza was very good. Then read reviews on TripAdvisor where most were positive too. Being half Italian, and from a mother who only cooks from scratch as a child, I have high expectations when it comes to “excellent” Italian food.
Summary: This is the best outside of Italy I have ever eaten anywhere else. Period.
Normally, I’m turned off by a restaurant with a large, extensive menu of choices to chose from. Usually screams ‘touristy’. I can happily admit everything we had here… after eating here 3 times during a recent 4-night stay in Playa Del Carmen (July 2021)…everything is homemade and greatly executed the way I’ve had them on many trips to Italy.
If Playa Del Carmen is a shorter plan ride than Italy, you can just chose to come here for all of your Italian favorites. We tried the Chorizo Pizza (because we’re in Mexico, so why not); Gnocchi with Bolognese and Spaghetti Carbonara.
Now, a ‘real’ Italian place I personally judge by their Spaghetti Carbonara. Most make theirs too saucy – wrong. Some use cheap ingredients and it’s dry – wrong. Then places like Rome and La Famiglia properly make this dish with just the right amount of sauce on homemade spaghetti noodles, with just the right amount of pepper and parmesan mixed together – perfection!
Secondly, being Italian the red sauce I consume is always judged. This can be more of a personal preference to most. However, if you’ve been to Italy and truly know what Bolognese Sauce should taste like, then you’ll have no reason not to enjoy this perfectly made Bolognese Sauce with the lightest homemade Gnocchi’s I think I have ever eaten. Usually Gnocchi is heavy or thick. These were not, and didn’t make you feel overly full after consuming these delicious morsels of homemade goodness. Yum!
Lastly, there’s the pizza. Be it as it may, maybe you’re from Chicago with deep dish or Detroit-style…which I both like too, in their own respective ways. However, truly Naples-style pizza should be a thin crust cooked just enough to be crispy but not overly cooked to be well done. And just under-cooked enough to be soft in the middle. While the outside crust is light and airy with a crisp crunch to dip in a mixture of olive oil and freshly grated parmesan cheese (at least that’s how I do it). If you’re looking for a truly authentic Naples-style pizza, look no further than La Famiglia. No need to travel all the way to Italy…just hop on over to little Playa Del Carmen and enjoy the best pizza outside of Italy (in my food judgement experience).
Unfortunately, I was too excited to dive into the Bolognese and Carbonara, so I missed getting pictures of these two. But the portions are plenty big to enjoy for one or share together. Will have to redeem myself with pictures on my next trip. 🙂
(1/6) La Famiglia Lunch and Dinner Menu – Appetizers
(2/6) La Famiglia Lunch and Dinner Menu – Salad, Gnocchi
(3/6) La Famiglia Lunch and Dinner Menu – Fettuccine, Ravioli
(4/6) La Famiglia Lunch and Dinner Menu – Meat, Fish, Lasagna, Dessert
(5/6) La Famiglia Lunch and Dinner Menu – Pizza List
(6/6) La Famiglia Lunch and Dinner Menu – Pizza List (continued)
The inside of the restaurant is basically setup as an indoor/outdoor-type place, with a couple tables setup on a patio along the sidewalk. In the Playa Del Carmen heat of July, I preferred right next to this air condition unit to cool me down a bit.
La Famiglia has an upstairs dining room (and where the restrooms are at). Overall, the décor is quintessential small Italian café-type feel. I like the owners did not care to integrate bright Mexico colors and keep very simple with lots of whites everywhere.
The perfect Italian Pizza at La Famiglia (this one already half-eaten because I was too excited and forgot to take a picture)
La Famiglia traditional Italian table servings of Olive Oil with Herbs and (hot) Olive Oil with Peppers
Overall, I will return to La Famiglia multiple times every visit in Playa Del Carmen.