Tasting gourmet pizza across the National Capital Region: Geneviève Brisson visits Zazaza
Geneviève Brisson is a master’s student in communication at the University of Ottawa, working on a thesis on gastronomic tourism. An Ottawa native, she has an appetite for discovering everything the National Capital Region has to offer, especially its burgeoning food scene.
My exploration of gourmet pizza restaurants in the National Capital Region continued as I visited Zazaza with my boyfriend at the end of last month.
This small place in New Edinburgh offers an experience similar to the one you will find at The Works, but with pizza instead of burgers.
Zazaza’s menu features twenty-five different pizzas in two sizes – the small ones ranging from about $10 to $12, while the large ones are roughly $17 to $19. Only a few starters and two desserts are on offer, and this should right away be taken as an indication that you come here for one thing: the pizza.
We started our dinner by sampling the feta salad. It was disappointing: the entire salad was uninteresting, on top of being excessively cold and overly dressed for my taste.
We then moved on to the pizzas, which were without a doubt the best part of dinner.
After agonizing over the long list of choices, I opted for The Sweet Glide pizza, which had a beautifully balanced mix of delicious toppings: pesto sauce, mozzarella, brie, prosciutto, shrimp, pear, pecans, and arugula.
My boyfriend went with the Curry Crazy pizza, which had a tomato tandoori sauce, mozzarella, tandoori chicken, roasted red peppers, in addition to what I think made the whole thing really stand out: cashews and a generous drizzle of yogourt speckled with coriander.
The pizza dough was just the right thinness, resulting in a crispy crust that was nor too brittle, nor too dry. And while our pizzas were topped with numerous ingredients, these all harmonized really nicely and made for a mouthful of flavour in every bite.
With so many interesting topping choices and such well-executed thin crust pizzas, we will definitely make a point to come back to try more varieties.
From the couple of wines available, I had the house red – a perfectly ordinary and acceptable French wine, which came served in a casual-looking stemless glass. Out of two local beer choices on tap, my boyfriend opted for the Steam Whistle. Interesting to point out that many people around us had soft drinks served with a straw out of old-fashioned small glasses bottles.
While I was very much looking forward to our choice of dessert, a chocolate, peanut butter and banana cake (a match made in heaven!) I must say that I was quite let down by it. It tasted stale and a little bland.
The tiny restaurant has a slight quirky and retro vibe, a nicely laid-back atmosphere, and some good tunes. The walls are a deep shade of red, adorned with an array of modern art, including one of a revolving kaleidoscope-like motif emanating from a projector!
The restaurant seems to want the open-concept kitchen to take center stage, by framing it in theatre-style red curtains. However, the opening is too high from the perspective of the customer, sadly making it impossible to see the chef working his pizza making magic.
As for the service, it is friendly and efficient, especially given that there is only one waitress on staff that night.
If you eat at Zazaza, my advice would be to stick to the pizzas. They are the definitely the highlight, and well worth it. The pizzas can also be eaten in or taken to go. So, if the small space happens to be full or if you are simply craving a nice gourmet pizza (without the effort!) in the comfort of your home, consider a take-out pizza or two from Zazaza.
Once again, let me know if you have any suggestions of gourmet pizza restaurant in the National Capital Region for me!
Do you have any suggestions for great gourmet pizza in the Ottawa area? Leave a comment below!