Sicily in a Slick Setting

MTHigh-backed booths in vivid, red velvet create a clublike atmosphere.
The Etazh chain has been expanding at quite the clip of late. The ever-increasing number of these urbane cafes has been providing city dwellers with standardized minimalist interiors plus menus with all the familiar favorites -- a bit of Italian, a dash of Japanese and even a touch of Mexican -- all at reasonable prices. They're something like a hipster's McDonalds.

When the Etazh chain moved into the former digs of the Bunker live music club, it may have seemed that perhaps it had bitten off more than it could chew, given the size of the premises. Perhaps for this reason, or maybe just to add some variety, this latest venture is named Etazh Projekt and includes a DJ Bar Picasso in the basement and Pizza dal Capo upstairs.

Pizza dal Capo has the red-seated booths of a classic pizza parlor, only they are clad in velvet instead of leather, and the backrests are ostentatiously high. The walls seem to be covered in slate tiles and the lighting seems a little too sophisticated to be found in your average pizza joint. Besides a lengthy entrance via the DJ bar, the restaurant has its own shortcut access from a side street off Tverskaya.

The menu has been specially prepared by a Sicilian chef and includes a huge range of pizzas -- 19 in all -- starting at 280 rubles for a fried-potato pizza and rising to 480 rubles for seafood pizza. A simple but tasty oregano and rosemary focaccia goes for 60 rubles. Pastas range from 230 rubles for penne amatriciana with bacon and tomato, up to 550 rubles for tagliatelle with lobster. Risotto starts 300 rubles for vegetarian, while the most expensive is 460 rubles with tiger prawns and saffron.

Carpaccio comes in three varieties -- beef (330 rubles), red tuna (350) and salmon (340 rubles).

Overall, the prices could not be considered super democratic, but given that this must be some of the most expensive real estate in town, they seem reasonable for the location.

12 Tverskaya Ul., 662-7002, 24 hours, M. Tverskaya.