A slice of Margherita pizza at Ada’s in Portland. Photo by Ray Routhier

I like it when somebody makes my decisions for me. I especially like it when those decisions are delicious.

This happened to me when I went to Ada’s, a new pasta and pizza restaurant on Congress Street in Portland, for lunch.

I had looked at the menu online and saw the half dozen or so pizza options. They all looked great, which is not good for me, since I suffer from severe ordering indecision. Did I want a Patate, with provolone, potato and rosemary? Or a Diavola, with salami, mozzarella, tomato and thyme? Or something else?

Plus, I wasn’t sure if the pizza varieties on the menu – all priced between $4 and $7 – were slices or individual pies.

Luckily for me, the woman behind the counter was taking a beautiful Margherita out of the oven just as I arrived. She started cutting the pizza in its long rectangular pan and showed me that the listed prices were for a large square slab of the place’s Pizza Romana, or Roman-style pizza. The portion was roughly  the size of two wedges from a small circular pizza.

She further told me that the next pizza out of the oven, in a few minutes, would be the Funghi Salsiccia, with crimini mushrooms and Ada’s sausage.

So I just hit the easy button and said I’d take a Margherita now and a slice of Funghi Salsiccia when it was ready. The place has limited seating for eating in, about a half dozen stools against a wall counter and a half dozen more at the counter the staff works behind. There are also two tables. I grabbed the smaller one, near the window looking out onto Congress Street.

A slice of Funghi Salsiccia pizza at Ada’s in Portland. Photo by Ray Routhier

The Margherita looked like an artist’s rendering of a pizza. Fluffy dollops of mozzarella cheese sat on bright red tomato sauce and were themselves partially covered by large, whole basil leaves. The cheese was fresh and creamy, the sauce was tangy and the crust was perfect – crisp on the bottom and airy and light inside.

I had eaten about half of it when the Funghi Salsiccia was ready. Besides the crimini mushrooms and large, browned pieces of savory pork sausage, it had mozzarella, provolone cheese, parsley, extra virgin olive oil and garlic. There was no red sauce and the crust was thinner and a little crisper than the Margherita. Both were delicious.

I ended up eating the whole Margherita and half of the Funghi (I ate the other half as a cold snack later that afternoon.) But one square piece is probably enough for lunch for many people.

Here’s another place where Ada’s made my decisions easier, in retrospect. My two slabs were listed at $5 and $7, which I thought was pretty reasonable for their size and their gourmet ingredients. But when I got my receipt I saw that I was discounted $1 for each piece, meaning my lunch was $10 and not $12. This is because Ada’s has a lunch special, Monday through Friday until 3 p.m., where you get $1 off pizza, pasta, beer and wine. There’s also a $5 “blice” (beer and a slice) special or $10 for a beer, a slice and a salad.

The interior of Ada’s pasta and pizza restaurant in Portland. Photo by Ray Routhier

Ada’s opened in January and is the second location of Ada’s Kitchen, a Rockland restaurant focusing on hand-made pasta and fresh pizza. The Portland Ada’s has an extensive menu of pasta dishes, including Spaghetti Pomodoro, Carbonara, Roman Fettucine Alfredo and several dishes featuring ravioli. Prices range from $9 for a small Pomodoro to $20 for a large dish of gemelli with artichoke and guanciale. As with the pizza, you can eat there or take it out. It’s located near the corner of Park Street.

Ada’s also has a market area, where you can buy their pastas and sauces to cook at home, along with wine and Italian specialities. Fiore, a maker of artisan olive oils and vinegars, sells it wares in an adjacent space.


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