Annesso Pizzeria, located at 8484 N. Friant Road near Trader Joe’s in Northeast Fresno has officially opened for business. This much anticipated second restaurant for well-known local chef Jimmy Pardini features a pizza-focused menu accompanied with New Italian/California Cuisine inspired sides like crispy brussels sprouts with fried capers and super thin and crispy parmesan covered fries with aioli dipping sauce.
The restaurant’s exterior features an Instagrammable big ‘A’ in neon lights, just like the one at Annex Kitchen, Pardini’s other restaurant. The interior of the restaurant is spacious and modern, yet warm feeling, with wood accents, modern lighting and an expansive bar with seating. Curved wooden booths allow larger parties to gather, and an outdoor patio appears to be a potential site for future expansion of seating. (It was not in use when I visited the restaurant on July 30th, however, it was also very hot out.)
Annesso’s pizzas are made upon a crisp-on-the-outside chewy in the center crust with delightfully crisp tiny bubbles baked into it. Both red and white sauce pizza choices are available. On my first visit, our group ordered the traditional pepperoni pizza, which was generously topped with perfectly domed, slightly crisped pepperonis, and the Pineapple pizza, which was topped with thinly sliced fresh pineapple, prosciutto, and Fresno chilis. We also ordered the brussels sprouts appetizer and the parmesan fries. Every item we ordered was delicious, and we agreed we would 100% be happy to order them again.
The adults in our party each tried a drink from the bar. I went with the firecracker, which was vodka-based and included a habanero simple syrup and mint. It was just slightly spicy and very refreshing. The crushed ice made it extra cold and enjoyable on such a warm day. My friend ordered the Poolside Punch that featured watermelon, lemon and mint and she loved it as well. My husband was pleased to have a well-made Old Fashioned (his beverage of choice) garnished with a Luxardo cherry (the sign of a truly good Old Fashioned, he says).
Our visit to Annesso was during a busy Friday lunch hour. We had a reservation for 1pm, and we did wait a few minutes for our table, but not long. We heard the standby wait was around 1.5 hours, so a reservation would be in your best interest when you go. (You can make a reservation online here.)
Our server was very attentive throughout our visit, and the hostess was friendly and warm. Both flat and sparkling water were offered when we were seated, and the carafes were left on the table so that we didn’t have to wait for refills. (Though with how attentive our server was, I don’t think that would have been an issue.) Unfortunately, we were too full for dessert, as the soft serve ice cream topped with salted caramel on the menu did sound enticing. Next time!
Overall, our visit to Annesso Pizzeria was excellent, and I very much look forward to returning soon!