Pizza with pizzazz
Here are Metro Vancouver’s best pizza places — as voted by you!
Which pies take the prize? Get the (deep) dish on the top pizza places in Metro as voted by readers, and don’t settle for second best the next time you dial for delivery.
The latest food group to be featured in our ‘best of ’ series is pizza.
Much like burgers and tacos before it, pizza is an almost universally appealing fare — albeit one that is slightly more segmented than the aforementioned other two food groups.
There’s Neapolitan, Chicago, New York, Sicilian, Californian — the list goes on.
“There are many influences on pizza however, two main are: Napoletana Style — where the authentic pizza was born. A certification from Naples stipulates the exact ingredients to use in dough and toppings, stipulates the form of the pizza and the time cooked in the wood-fire oven, producing a certified soft, elastic, floppy base with delicious authentic, fragrant ingredients — and American Style — each big city of America created their own style of pizza with the influence of Italian immigrants many years ago,” Marco Cresciullo, of Pizzeria Spacca Napoli in Port Moody, explains. “Brooklyn style is my guilty pleasure.”
So, rather than crown one eatery as the champion of the latest vote, due to the fact that we were unable to segment the voting into individual pizza sub-categories, we decided to ask Cresciullo, as well as Dom Morra, a co-owner of one of the many reader favourite pizzerias, Via Tevere on Victoria Drive, to dish on what makes pizza so delectable, in general.
(Full disclosure: Via Tevere and Spacca Napoli were joined by Supreme Pizza on Victoria Drive and Pizzeria Farina on Main Street in jockeying for the top spot.)
“It’s a simple and perfect balance of dough, cheese and tomato sauce,” Morra explains of the universally appealing qualities of a good pie.
“It’s quick and delicious when made with the right ingredients. It appeals to people of all ages.”
According to Cresciullo, a good pizza also comes from the heart.
“The passion to make it,” he explains. “Whether it’s the passion behind using the freshest and most authentic ingredients, or the skills behind the dough and the oven it’s cooked in, or the company it’s made with, the pizza will taste delicious.”
At both Via Tevere and Spacca Napoli, the teams cook up traditional Neapolitan pizza, which, to be considered truly authentic, has to follow the strict guidelines of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana.
“Soft chewy crust, great tomatoes and Fior di latte with a variety of toppings,” Morra explains of the eatery’s specialty eats. “The pizza is cooked in a 900-degree, wood-fire oven to give it a slight char.”
While delicious Neapolitan-style pizzas have been proving very popular in recent years, the pizza category, in all its forms, has been a hot food group for many years.
“I think pizza in general is a trend right now,” Cresciullo says.
“The fast-food industry and the growth of pizzerias are vast, with many different styles.”
But, according to Morra, the Naples-originated pizza style is more a way of life than it is about following a specific food trend.
“Some restaurants follow trends, putting new or unique toppings,” he says.
“We like to stick to classic flavours that you would find in Naples and southern Italy.
“The flavours of our childhood summers in Naples and the way we like to eat our pizza.”
Perhaps it’s this simplicity that makes the most popular pizzas at Via Tevere, also the most uncomplicated.
“You can’t go wrong with a beautiful Margherita.
“But, if you need a little something extra, then the prosciutto and arugula is a popular choice,” Morra says of the two most popular pies.
“The prosciutto adds a nice saltiness yet it’s crisp and fresh with the arugula.”
True to his word, when we dined at the intimate eatery to see what all the buzz was about, there was a steady stream of the classic pizza concoctions landing on tables.
“We’re always looking for new ways to spin classic flavours but, in the end, we like to keep it simple and traditional.”
At Spacca Napoli, customers also enjoy the simple eats, but there’s a more complicated compilation of pizza ingredients that has also proved popular with diners.
“The Alla Facciazza was my pizza (that won) the Best Vancouver Pizza 2017 award,” Cresciullo says.
“A decadent, delicious pizza topped with 18-month aged prosciutto, house-made arugula pesto, porcini mushrooms, truffle cream, roasted pistachios and shaved Parmesan.”
But, what it all bubbles down to (sorry, I had to use a slight pizza pun somewhere), the key to any great pizza, regardless of it’s style, comes down to two easy elements.
“Simplicity and quality ingredients,” Morra says of the essentials to a perfect pizza.
It’s as easy as that.