Tasting gourmet pizza across the National Capital Region: Geneviève Brisson visits Piz’za-za
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.
I should start this entry by confessing that I have a weak spot for Piz’za-za. I had indulged there several times with my boyfriend when he lived in Old Hull; however, ever since he moved to the Ontario side of the National Capital Region over a year ago, I am sad to say that I had not paid a visit.
My exploration of gourmet pizza restaurants was therefore the perfect excuse to head over to Old Hull, for a dinner at Piz’za-za on a Wednesday evening at the end of April.
Piz’za-za calls itself as a restaurant and wine bar, and it does not disappoint on either end. In addition to the pizzas, the menu has a good selection of appetizers, a few pasta dishes, and numerous desserts choices. When it comes to the pizzas, there are over two dozen on offer, and with the option of choosing from a variety of ingredients to add your pizza (at an added cost), the possibilities are literally endless. Across the board, the prices are very reasonable, with the individual-size pizzas ranging from about $8 to $13.
Another highlight here is the wine selection. The restaurant features an extensive wine list with an ever-changing selection of guest wines. There are many options by the glass, the half bottle, the half litre and the bottle in a good range of prices. Plus, the place holds wine seminars about once a month.
We began our meal with the generous plate of antipasto, which came with slices of baguette.
The plate was piled with cured meats (calabrese salami and prosciutto), cheeses (brie and provolone), artichoke hearts, palm hearts, marinated mushrooms and peppers, tomatoes, pickles, black olives, and a sliced hard-boiled egg, served with a side of pesto. This antipasto was clearly made with high-quality ingredients, and had none of that canned taste to it which I have encountered elsewhere. It was deeply flavourful and utterly satisfying.
Next came the pizzas. I find the topping combinations at Piz’za-za to be inspired; there are not very many typical combinations here and trust me, that’s a good thing.
I selected the paysanne pizza, which was dressed with tomato sauce, mushrooms, prosciutto, figs, and provolone cheese. The balance of sweet and salty flavours was divine.
My boyfriend went with the frijoles pizza, which had a mixture of black beans, hot salsa, smoked chicken, red onions, jalapeños, and mozzarella, accompanied by sour cream. I must say that I found it a little dry. You should also be warned that this pizza was very spicy! They certainly did not skimp on the jalapeños, but could have been more generous with some of the other ingredients.
The pizza crust was very thin. The edges had a nice crispiness to them, but the crust was a bit soggy towards the centre of the pizza. Nevertheless, I believe the toppings wholeheartedly made up for this slight mushiness.
To drink, I started with a light, sparkling apple cider from Quebec called Mystique, while my boyfriend chose the St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout. We then opted for a Spanish red from the guest wine list, which accompanied our pizzas quite nicely.
To conclude this so far delicious meal, we shared the made in-house torte au massepain for dessert.
The pastry had a light texture and a delicate almond flavour, and its strawberry coulis added a nice freshness. We were pretty full by this point, so this dessert was the perfect way to finish the meal on a not-too-sweet and not-too-heavy note.
The atmosphere at Piz’za-za is reminiscent of an inviting, casual French bistro. Lights are dim, perfect for a lingering evening with a lover or friends. Oenophiles will enjoy taking a trip up to the second floor of the restaurant to have a look at the impressive wine cellar.
Service here is hospitable while always remaining professional and attentive. The staff is French, but all of them appear to speak English as well.
We were at the restaurant on a Wednesday night and had no trouble getting a table. In my experience though, weekends are very busy and, because the place does not take reservations unless you are a large party, be prepared to wait.
Piz’za-za is well worst the trip over to charming Old Hull, not only for its delectable pizzas, but also for its extensive wine list and pleasant ambience.
Yum!! We can’t wait to try out this place!