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A lunch entree of baked lasagna is served at La Nave, an Italian restaurant and pizzeria in Alzey, Germany. The restaurant offers familiar Italian and German entrees with exceptional service.

A lunch entree of baked lasagna is served at La Nave, an Italian restaurant and pizzeria in Alzey, Germany. The restaurant offers familiar Italian and German entrees with exceptional service. (Gregory Broome/Stars and Stripes)

A lunch entree of baked lasagna is served at La Nave, an Italian restaurant and pizzeria in Alzey, Germany. The restaurant offers familiar Italian and German entrees with exceptional service.

A lunch entree of baked lasagna is served at La Nave, an Italian restaurant and pizzeria in Alzey, Germany. The restaurant offers familiar Italian and German entrees with exceptional service. (Gregory Broome/Stars and Stripes)

A three-topping pizza is served at La Nave, an Italian restaurant and pizzeria in Alzey, Germany.

A three-topping pizza is served at La Nave, an Italian restaurant and pizzeria in Alzey, Germany. (Gregory Broome/Stars and Stripes)

The exterior of La Nave, an Italian restaurant and pizzeria in Alzey, Germany, belies the sleek, modern dining room inside.

The exterior of La Nave, an Italian restaurant and pizzeria in Alzey, Germany, belies the sleek, modern dining room inside. (Gregory Broome/Stars and Stripes)

La Nave, an Italian restaurant and pizzeria in Alzey, Germany, features a sleek and modern dining room that fills up quickly during prime lunch and dinner hours.

La Nave, an Italian restaurant and pizzeria in Alzey, Germany, features a sleek and modern dining room that fills up quickly during prime lunch and dinner hours. (Gregory Broome/Stars and Stripes)

From the outside, La Nave, an Italian restaurant and pizzeria in Alzey, Germany, blends in seamlessly with its vintage German surroundings.

From the outside, La Nave, an Italian restaurant and pizzeria in Alzey, Germany, blends in seamlessly with its vintage German surroundings. (Gregory Broome/Stars and Stripes)

It’s safe to say that the market for solid, moderately priced Italian food is saturated in southwestern Germany. Even small towns in the region feature multiple options, sometimes placed on opposite sides of a street or occupying the same city square.

If an overabundance of delicious pasta and pizza is a problem, however, it’s a great problem to have. In our three years here, my family and I have made a habit of going to almost any decent-looking Italian restaurant for lunch on our frequent day trips around the area. We’ve yet to be truly disappointed. That streak continued on a recent day trip to Alzey, where we visited a centrally located Italian eatery called La Nave.

The building fits in seamlessly with the vintage German surroundings. Inside, the scene is very different: the dining room is sleek and modern, with sparse artwork and subtle lighting accentuating the dark wood floors and furniture.

We arrived just before noon to an empty dining room and were heartily welcomed and led to a table. The menu featured all the Italian classics, from rigatoni and lasagna to an array of tempting pizzas, along with some German staples. We ordered a pizza, a pasta dish and a pair of schnitzels.

As we sat and talked, a steady stream of what appeared to be locals quickly filled the dining room. This sudden lunch rush didn’t fluster the competent trio handling the influx, however. Our drinks and salads arrived immediately, even as neighboring tables turned in their own orders; our entrees made their welcome entrance soon after.

As is often the case, I was immediately envious of my wife’s well-considered order. The lasagna she’d selected was a decadent dish smothered in melted cheese. My son enjoyed an outstanding three-topping pizza that looked equally tempting. My daughter and I ordered jaegerschnitzel, and my longing for the Italian treats across the table dissipated upon the first delicious bite of the top-notch version of my favorite German dish.

It’s difficult for an Italian restaurant to differentiate itself among so much competition. But La Nave, by doing a lot of familiar things very well, made a memorable impression.

broome.gregory@stripes.com

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