Zazaza – Pizza with Piz­zazz

Ottawa Business Journal - Ottawa at Home - - FOOD FRESH BITES - Writ­ten by PAULA ROY Pho­tog­ra­phy by MARK HOLLERON

Pizza needs no in­tro­duc­tion. A sta­ple dish favoured by kids and grownups alike, it comes in many forms. In Ottawa, we’ve tra­di­tion­ally been of­fered an abun­dance of thick­crusted, cheese-slathered pies, but for those who pre­fer a ju­di­ciously-topped, wafer-thin crust, the local op­tions are not as plen­ti­ful. Thank­fully, our pizza sit­u­a­tion is im­prov­ing, thanks to famed local restau­ra­teur Ion Aimers and his grow­ing chain, ZaZaZa, af­fec­tion­ately dubbed “pizza with piz­zazz.”

ZaZaZa’s first lo­ca­tion in New Ed­in­burgh has earned a rep­u­ta­tion for ex­cel­lent food and friendly, at­ten­tive ser­vice. Ion is con­fi­dent that the re­cent opening of his sec­ond lo­ca­tion, on Bank Street in the Glebe, will in­tro­duce more Ot­tawans to a style of pizza which re­flects his per­sonal taste.

“I con­sciously set out to ex­pand ZaZaZa in a sim­i­lar fash­ion to the Works,” said Ion, re­fer­ring to the beloved burger em­pire he pre­vi­ously es­tab­lished in Ottawa. “I wanted to find an­other neigh­bour­hood where peo­ple could walk to the restau­rant, be com­fort­able inside and en­joy shar­ing a meal with friends or fam­ily.”

The 60-seat Bank Street lo­ca­tion is sig­nif­i­cantly larger than the Put­man one, of­fer­ing a greater op­por­tu­nity to com­bine art, the­atre and food, he ex­plained. “With seats at the bar, the kitchen is re­ally on stage, which I love since I con­sider my staff to be per­form­ers whose job is to make your visit fun as well as sat­is­fy­ing.”

The same play­ful menu is of­fered at both lo­ca­tions, with ap­pe­tiz­ers like Good­ness, Gra­cious, Goat Balls of Fire (tasty fried goat cheese and mush­room bites), and Straw­berry Fields For­ever (a flavour­ful berry-topped salad with bal­samic vinai­grette). The list of piz­zas is ex­ten­sive but not over­whelm­ing, with ev­ery­thing from tra­di­tional favourites like the Pa­tient Paul (with pep­per­oni, mush­rooms, onions, olives and pep­pers) to the more in­ven­tive Cal­i­for­nia Cap­rese (topped with pesto, sliced tomato, boc­concini, fresh basil, av­o­cado and bal­samic driz­zle).

From sim­ple to so­phis­ti­cated, there’s some­thing for ev­ery taste, with local and sea­sonal in­gre­di­ents fig­ur­ing promi­nently in the kitchen wher­ever pos­si­ble. Not to be missed are the dessert piz­zas with the same sig­na­ture thin crust, but with a va­ri­ety of sweet top­pings in­clud­ing peanut but­ter and cho­co­late or nutella and berries. ZaZaZa is at 143 Put­man Av­enue in New Ed­in­burgh and 915 Bank Street in the Glebe.

— Ion Aimers

... I con­sider my staff to be per­form­ers whose job is to make your visit fun as well as sat­is­fy­ing.

TOP: The Sweet Glide

BOT­TOM: Restau­ran­teur Ion Aimers.

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