Oroville eatery serves up top-notch pizza, pastas and gyros
Oroville, CA 95965
“This may be the best spaghetti and meatballs I have ever eaten. No joke.”
That was a text message I sent my boyfriend, Chuck, while sitting down for a solitary lunch at The Broken Plate in Oroville. I really wasn’t kidding. The baked pasta (I chose spaghetti noodles, but could alternatively have picked penne) was served in a small, disposable aluminum dish, with a layer of perfectly melted and browned mozzarella on top.
There wasn’t just one thing that qualified the spaghetti dish ($8.95) as the best I’ve ever had. It had a perfect layer of cheese, with a simply amazing tomato mint sauce, which was used quite sparingly but packed a wallop of flavor. And there were those Mediterranean meatballs, with spices that were bold but not overpowering.
I’d discovered The Broken Plate via Yelp while searching for a good place for lunch in Oroville. The reviews were overwhelmingly positive (4 1/2 stars out of 5) and, after visiting the restaurant’s website and perusing the menu, I decided it was worth trying. The website boasts the accolades of chef/owner Michael Athanasopoulos, who was born and raised in Greece and has won a couple of International Pizza Challenge awards. Last year, he opened his restaurant in Oroville, where the menu ranges from pizza to pasta to Greek staples like gyros, hummus and spanakopita.
I was craving pasta during my first visit, but after reading all about Athanasopoulos’ affinity for pizza, I returned to try that, too. I ordered the carbonara ($12), with cheese, ham, bacon and a creamy white sauce. All pizzas are 10 inches and thin-crust, so they serve one to two people. One bite in, I was sold. The crust had a perfect cracker-thin finish, and the garlicky white sauce brought the rest of the ingredients together while once again not being overwhelming. And while it didn’t quite steal my heart and taste buds the same way that spaghetti did, it was some damn fine pizza. My companion, however, ordered a salad and said while it was passable, it was generic and overall underwhelming. My guess is their efforts are focused elsewhere.
For my third trip, I decided I’d quit teasing Chuck with pictures of the fabulous food I’d found at The Broken Plate and actually bring some home. I ordered him the original gyro, which comes with lettuce, tomato, red onion and tzatziki. Having enjoyed the carbonara pizza, I opted for that flavor combo on a gyro. As the menu indicates, the meat is a blend of lamb and beef, and gyros are offered as wraps ($8.45-$9.45, with fries) or as platters ($11.45, with fries, salad and dipping sauce).
We’d ordered the wraps and both were fantastic. Unfortunately, the drive from O-town to Chico was long enough to make the pitas a bit soggy, but honestly it didn’t really matter. The gyro meat was so tender and flavorful—sliced into little strips so it blended with all the other ingredients just right. Even the fries, not my usual side dish of choice, were good, crispy and with just the right amount of salt.
Aside from the salad, my only real complaints about this place are the cramped dining space—the outside patio is nice, but inside is quite small—and the lack of real servingware. Maybe they really do break a lot of plates, because even when I ordered for sit-down, I was brought styrofoam.
One huge bonus, and something those outside Oroville should take note of, is that The Broken Plate recently opened a food truck, called The Lamb & The Wolf. I haven’t tried it yet, but it has been posted up at the Fork in the Road and other events countywide. Its menu is focused on Greek items, so you’ll have to go to the restaurant for pizza and pastas. But if the food’s any bit as good as The Broken Plate’s, you’re in for a treat.