Probably the first food that I’ve had at UBC was pizza from Pie R Squared. A considerable number of new pizza places have appeared over the years. One of them is Pizza Garden, which is located at University Village, right next to an A&W. In addition to whole pies, they also offer premade slices, which they’ll heat up for you (they also have a few chairs available if you want to eat in; otherwise, they’ll pack your slices in a box for you to go). I had their Hawaiian, Pollo Eccllente, and Calabria slices.
To go box
Pollo Eccllente, Calabria, Hawaiian Pizza
Hawaiian Slice ($2.85):
This was topped with prosciutto and pineapple. Even though the pizza wasn’t hot by the time I got to it, the crust was still quite crispy. The outer edges were a bit too tough/chewy, however. The amount of topping was a tad on the sparser side, though still substantial enough to make the pizza tasty and flavourful. Although according to their website, the meat here is supposed to be prosciutto, I think it’s actually ham (it tastes like it at least). I quite enjoyed the pineapple (yes, I’m on that team) with provided a nice sweetness.
Pollo Eccllente Slice ($2.85):
This was topped with grilled chicken, spinach, red peppers and onions. the chicken was white meat, and was hence a bit on the dry side, but was at least well seasoned. I enjoyed the onions, which lent a nice flavour.
Calabria Slice ($2.85):
This was topped with sausage, capicolla, and hot soppressata. This was probably the most flavourful of the three slices that I’ve tried. My favourite was the soppressata, which had a great bit of heat (be warned if you don’t like heat).
The pizza at Pizza Garden was fairly enjoyable: their crust were crispy even when cold, and while they weren’t overly generous with their topping, it was still substantial. The prices aren’t exactly cheap, but not unreasonable either. This isn’t my favourite pizza place, but it’s worth stopping by for a quick bite at UBC.
I’ve really grown a greater appreciation for cheese over the number of years that I’ve been living in Canada. One cheese that I’ve heard quite a bit about but never had the opportunity to sample is burrata. That finally changed during my recent visit to Bufala. They are a pizza joint located on Blvd in Kerrisdale, just a couple of blocks away from 41st Avenue. They specializes in thin-crust Neapolitan-style pizzas, and also serve classic Italian appetizers and drinks. While I initially wanted their Meatballs, I really wanted to sample the Burrata, and ended up ordering that instead. I also had their Carbonara Pizza.
This was served with roasted acorn squash and toasted sourdough. This is the first time that I’ve had burrata, so I don’t know what it’s supposed to taste like. The cheese was quite creamy, although a bit bland. The squash was tender and sweet; I do wish that they could have cut it into smaller pieces however as it was a bit hard to eat with the bread. I really enjoyed the bread, which was nicely toasted.
Carbonara Pizza ($19):
This came topped with pecorino, pancetta, and an egg. The crust was nice and crispy, and not bland. Although there didn’t look like there was much topping, it was actually very flavourful. It wa a bit on the salty side: I actually quite enjoyed it, but I think that it might be a bit too much for others.
While the burrata at Bufala wasn’t mindblowing, I’m very glad to have been finally able to sample it. I also really enjoyed their pies, which are some of the better ones that I’ve had, although I do think that some people might find the toppings to be a bit too salty. Service-wise, the food was prepared relatively quickly and the staff are friendly, but not overly attentive. All in all, I do consider this to be one of the better pizza joints that I’ve tried, and I’d recommend visiting if you like Neapolitan-style pies.
My latest new obsession is gnocchi. Ever since having tried it at Basil Pasta Bar, I’ve seriously developed a love for this dish and will order it whenever its available on a menu. Thus, after seeing pictures of the Gnocchi Ai Quattro Formaggi from Marcello Pizzeria, a dish consisting of the aforementioned pasta baked in a four-cheese sauce, I knew that I had to check the place out. The restaurant is one of a number of casual Italian joints located on The Drive. They have a nice space inside, including an open kitchen where you can see their chefs making Neopolitan-style pizza. Since the latter appears to be their specialty (not to mention that I love pizza), I decided to also get a Medium Ai Due Formaggi Pizza in addition to the aforementioned Gnocchi Ai Quattro Formaggi.
Medium Ai Due Formaggi Pizza ($14.95):
Ai Due Formaggi Pizza
This contained tomato sauce, mozzarella, ham, salame, baking cheese, and mushrooms. The texture of the crust was quite good, and was very crispy. There was a good amount of toppings at the centre, which were very flavourful. I particularly enjoyed the large blobs of cheese, which although messy to eat, was very rich and flavourful. The edges were less enjoyable however: I found the crust to be completely bland, as if they did not use any salt or other seasoning.
Gnocchi Ai Quattro Formaggi ($16.95):
Gnocchi Ai Quattro Formaggi
This contains gnocchi that is baked in a four-cheese sauce. The cheese sauce was very rich and creamy, and had a wonderful pungent flavour (I think they probably had gorgonzola as one of the cheeses). The gnocchi itself had a nice tender texture, and is well-seasoned and tasty on its own. The dish is served piping hot, so be a bit careful when eating: I actually burned my mouth a bit during my first few bites.
I visited Marcello Pizza for their gnocchi, and I was not disappointed. Their pizza is also fairly good, although I did struggle a bit with their strangely bland crust. The service could be improved however; while the staff were quite welcoming, they were a bit disorganized. I noticed them getting confused/mixed up by orders, and I did have to wait for almost 30 minutes to get my pizza. All in all, this isn’t a bad restaurant, but not one that I’d necessarily return to either.
Summary: Food: 3.5/5 Price: 3.5/5 Service: 3/5 Overall: 3.5/5 Recommendations: Gnocchi Ai Quattro Formaggi
I’m both a pervert and quite immature. Thus, when I saw some mildly erotic paintings on the bathroom doors of a restaurant, I really could not resist but take a few photos….
Wish I looked like this
Wouldn’t mind taking this home with me
This is either a universal bathroom or…
If you’re wondering where you can find these paintings, they are at Pacifico Pizza & Restaurante. The latter is an Italian joint with two locations, one on Davie and the other on Smithe. I visited their Smithe location during lunchtime, where they served lunch specials that comes with a choice of a salad or soup. I got their 10″ The Gorgon Pizzetta and their Gnocchi Rosa. Unfortunately, they were out of soup during the day that I visited, so I ended up going with their two salads (Caesar and Giardino; yes, I actually ate salads – two in fact).
10″ Specialty Pizzetta (The Gorgon, Caesar Salad, $15.95):
The pizzas that they serve at the Neapolitan wood-fired variety. I could really taste the gorgonzola, which had a nice strong pungent flavour (in a good way) as well as tanginess and richness. The salami also provided a great saltiness and spice, while the mushrooms had a great fragrance. The pizza crust was also very good, and was quite crispy, and nice and cruncy around the edges. The accompanying Caesar salad was standard, but fresh, and came in a fairly large bowl.
Gnocchi Rosa (Giardino Salad, $13.95):
The gnocchi was soft and slightly chewy, and had a nice savoury flavour to them. They were covered in a tangy, but creamy and flavourful tomato sauce. I was somewhat disappointed by the portion size however; it was quite small and more of a side dish for me than an actual meal. The Giardino salad was fresh, and came with a nice oily dressing.
Although I’m quite disappointed about being ‘forced’ to eat my arch nemesis (aka salad), I did quite enjoy the rest of their food. The prices that they have for their lunch specials are fairly reasonable (although I do find their pasta portions to be pretty small). The service seems to vary: the lady I got was a bit stiff and inattentive, but some of the other servers appear to be more friendly. All in all, I’d recommend checking this restaurant out for their erotic bathroom art tasty Italian food.
Summary: Food: 4/5 Price: 4/5 Service: 3.5/5 Overall: 4/5 Recommendations: The Gorgon Pizza, Gnocchi Rosa
I love pizza in all its forms. I love thicker Greek-style pizza, and I love thinner, New York-style Pizza. I have never, however, tried neapolitan-style wood fire pizza before. This style of pizza appears to have gained quite some popularity over the past number of years, and there are quite a few places in Vancouver offering this variety. To sample my first neapolitan-style pizza, I decided to check out Sopra Sotto, a (relatively) newly opened Italian restaruant on The Drive. During my visit, I got their Porchetta E Friarelli Pizza, as well as Maccheroni Al Forno.
Porchetta E Friarelli Pizza ($18):
Pizza Slice (Bottom)
This came topped with porchetta, rabe, and mozzarella cheese. This was the first time that I’ve had Neapolitan-style pizza, so I’m certainly not an expert on the dish. I will have to admit, however, that I was a tad disappointed in the pizza. I found the crust to be a bit soggy, although the edges were quite crispy and light. More importantly however, I did find it to be a little bland. The porchetta is the standout of the dish: it was tender, juicy and well-seasoned, and was what made the pizza enjoyable.
Maccheroni Al Forno + Crispy Speck ($17 + $3):
Maccheroni Al Forno + Crispy Speck
Maccheroni Al Forno + Crispy Speck
The macaroni was al dente and just a tad too hard for my personal taste, although I think that it’s still fairly reasonable. I did like the thick creamy sauce and cheeses in the dish, as well as the mushrooms, which provided a nice flavour. Unfortunately though, the dish was just completely underseasoned to me, and was bland. Even with the addition of the speck, I found it to be too bland to be enjoyable. The portion was also very small, more like a side dish than a main.
My experience at Sopra Sotto was both good and bad. I was a bit underwhelmed by their food, which was underseasoned and bland; moreover, I found their pasta portion to be quite small and not worth the price. Their porchetta was very tasty however. More importantly though, I was very impressed by their service. I had a wonderful server (I think his name was Sean) who was incredibly friendly and welcoming, and was incredibly attentive in spite of attending to several tables. All in all, while I do think that the food can do with some improvement, the service has really left a great impression on me. I really hope that this place sticks around.
Summary: Food: 3/5 Price: 2.5/5 Service: 4.5/5 Overall: 3.5/5 Recommendations: Porchetta (they have an appetizer, a pizza, and apparently a sandwich during lunch time).
So I just had probably the most awkward/embarrassing experience in recent memory. The day started out normally enough. I was craving food, as usual, and decided to visit Papa’s Gourmet Pizza, a small casual shop on Main Street serving up pizzas, a big selection of pastas, and various casual Greek fare. I had a slice of their Pesto Chicken pizza and also a large Mac and Cheese.
Pesto Chicken Pizza Slice ($2.25):
The pizza was quite heavy and loaded with toppings consisting of chicken, pesto, and feta cheese. It was very flavourful, perhaps a bit salty for those who who don’t like overly salty foods, but I really enjoyed it. I did find the crust to be a bit soft, probably because it had been sitting out under a lamp for a while, but that did not bother me too much.
Mac and Cheese (Large, $10):
Large Mac and Cheese with Garlic Bread
Mac and Cheese (sauce was a bit watery)
This came with two slices of garlic bread, which were perfectly toasted, buttery with a nice flavour of garlic. I absolutely loved the layer of gooey, rich cheese on top. The noodles themselves were a tad on the soft side, but not too mushy. I was disappointed with the sauce however: I found it to be way too watery and hence, did not really coat the noodles too well, and was also quite bland. The portion was very generous: I ended up taking about half of it home. It actually tasted better reheated the next day, after the sauce had thickened.
I quite enjoyed my visit to Papa’s Gourmet Pizza. The prices are very good, especially for their pastas, where you get a very large portion for currently just $10. Moreover, the staff were also very friendly. All in all, while their food does have room for improvement, I still really enjoyed my visit, and I’d highly recommend checking this place out.
So now, are you wondering about the “embarrassing” incident that I referred to earlier? Probably not, but here it is. I needed to use the washroom, and unfortunately Papa’s Gourmet Pizza was small and did not have one available to the public. Fortunately, there was a JJ Bean right next door. Since I felt pretty embarrassed about being one of those people who just use the washroom without making any purchase, so I got myself an iced Americano.
My conscience cleared, I headed to their toilet. Unfortunately, being the idiot that I am, I just could not figure out how to lock the door properly. I thought that I had it closed, but then a man walked right in on me while I WAS LITERALLY SITTING ON THE TOILET WITH MY F***ING PANTS DOWN. Needless to say, I was quite traumatized (although to be fair, I think that it was probably even more traumatic for the man as he’s had to actually witness the disturbing picture that I’ve just described to you). I ended up bolting out of the place and spent the next few hours curled up in a ball in humiliation.
They say a picture’s worth 1000 words. So here’s a picture:
In case you can’t tell what this is, it’s a slice of Mac and Cheese pizza. Yes, they have finally done it. They have combined two great dishes together to make something so incredible that I seriously cannot find the words to describe the feeling of ecstasy that coursed through me when I caught sight of this monstrosity. And by “they” I’m referring to Nat’s New York Pizzeria. They are a casual pizza/Italian joint with two locations in Vancouver. I’ve passed by their Broadway/Kits location a number of times (their other location is in Denman), and decided to finally check them out this week. While they are probably best known for their New York-style thin crust pizza, which they sell in large individual slices in addition to whole pies, I’ve heard great things about their sandwiches (heros), so I got an X Large Veal Cutlet Parmesan Hero on my first visit.
Pies by the slice
More pies by the slice
Veal Cutlet Parmesan Hero (X Large, $12.95):
Veal Cutlet Parmesan Hero (X Large)
The sandwich had a pretty generous amount of filling, which consisted of breaded veal, tomato sauce, mozzarella, as well as onions and peppers. It was a very messy sandwich; I used an embarassing amount of napkins while scarfing this down. The bread was quite soft and light. There was a good amount of veal present, which was tender and well-seasoned. Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of tomato sauce and I didn’t really care too much for the one in this sandwich; it was quite thin and dripping everywhere. I do also wish that there was more cheese present; most of the mozzarella appears to be present on the edges and I seriously could not detect any parmesan. I had the X Large size (which I think is the same size as the large, except with more filling), and while I didn’t have much trouble finishing it all in one sitting, it was quite a large sandwich and very filling (and probably enough for two meals for someone with a smaller appetite).
Of course, I can’t review this place without trying their pies, so I returned the next day to get a few slices of their pizza. Now, having visited the day before and seen the available flavours, I had already planned on which varieties to get. That plan quickly went out of the window however when I saw the Mac and Cheese-topped pizza sitting in the display case, just beckoning to me. I had no choice. I just HAD to ge a slice of that. I also picked up a slice of their N.Y. Deli and BBQ Chicken. They warm the slices up for you in their oven, so you get them fresh and hot.
N.Y. Deli Pizza ($3.75):
This came topped with capicollo, ham, pepperoni and salami. I quite liked the crust on this pizza was thin and very crispy. There was a good amount of meat, which was nice and salty, as well as gooey cheese. It was a bit greasy, but I didn’t mind; I like greasy, fattening food. Maybe it’s just because I don’t have a good palate, but I honestly couldn’t distinguish between the different meats; they all tasted like pepperoni to me.
BBQ Chicken Pizza ($3.75):
This consisted of ranch, olive oil, sweet onion, bell pepper and Nat’s BBQ sauce (as well as, of course, chicken). Again, the crust was nice and crispy. The chicken was a bit dry but still tender. I quite liked the BBQ sauce, which was sweet with a nice smokey flavour.
Mac and Cheese Pizza (around $5.75):
Mac and Cheese Pizza
The only pizza you eat with a fork
Snack for later
This is the pièce de résistance. I don’t know if this is a special/limited-edition flavour; I haven’t seen the flavour being offered on their website and it wasn’t present when I visited the shop the day before. The piece came topped with a thick layer of mac and cheese, as well as tomato sauce and bits of ground beef. I did find the mac and cheese to be a bit bland and the pasta was overcooked and too soft. It was still quite tasty however, and very fun to eat (I had to use a fork on this). While the price of around $6 is a bit steep, the slice is absolutely massive (probably 2x bigger than their already large regular slices), and is probably enough to feed a person with a normal appetite. Now, even though I had already scarfed down the aforementioned N.Y. Deli and BBQ Chicken pizza, I could have still finished the Mac and Cheese. However, just because I COULD didn’t mean that I SHOULD, and since I did already get a bit of a stomach ache from devouring an entire X Large hero the day before, I decided not to take my chances, and ended up taking half of the pizza to-go to enjoy as a “snack” for later.
The Mac and Cheese pizza at Nat’s New York Pizzeria has been worth the visit alone. It may not be the greatest thing that I’ve ever eaten, but seriously, how often do you get to eat a mac and cheese pizza? The rest of the food is also quite good, and the prices are fairly reasonable if you factor in their larger portions. Overall, be sure to check this out if you enjoy pizza or other greasy but tasty Italian-American fast-food.
Summary: Food: 3.5/5 Price: 3.5/5 Service: N/A Overall: 3.5/5 Recommendations: Hero, Pizza (BBQ Chicken, Mac and Cheese if it’s available)
I LOVE pizza. I know that this may seem like a dumb statement (because well duh!), but here’s the honest truth: I actually did not like pizza at all the first time that I tried it. I was 7 at the time, just before I came to Canada, and my family and I were on a trip to Disneyland in Tokyo. We had pizza for lunch at one of their restaurants, which I remember well because it was shaped like Mickey Mouse’s head. Now, I don’t know if it was because the pizza was bad or if it was because it was the first time that I’ve tried Western-style food and I’m just not used yet to the taste, but I just HATED pizza and refused to eat it. In fact, my parents had to bribe me by offering to buy me a hotdog if I finished my pizza (which didn’t really make that much sense in my opinion).
Fortunately, my palate has become more “normal” now, and I absolutley love pizza. I haven’t had it for a while though, mostly because I love a lot of other foods too and, unfortunately, don’t have a large enough wallet to eat out every day (although my heart and waistline would probably thank me for it). To break the pizza drought that I’ve been having, I decided to visit Sunrise Pizza & Steak House for lunch today. I ordered their small Sunrise Super Special Pizza.
Sunrise Super Special Pizza (Small, $12.95 + 20% discount):
The toppings consisted of mushrooms, pepperoni, salami, bacon, ham, green peppers, olives, onions, cheese and tomato sauce. The crust was on the thinner side, although it’s not really thin-crust pizza. It was perfectly baked and browned, and very crispy on the edges (the interior was a bit soft and soggy, but that was expected due to the toppings). There was quite a generous layer of toppings, including a lot of meat and gooey cheese. The small size was a perfect portion to satisfy a big eater like me.
My visit to Sunrise Pizza & Steak House has certainly satisfied my pizza craving. The staff were also very friendly and attentive. Now, a funny thing occurred when I got my bill. The price of the small pizza was $12.95 (which was already a very good deal on its own), but for some reason I got an additional 20% discount on top of that. I have no idea why, if they are having some special promotion (or maybe they just really like me?), but I’m certainly not complaining! Overall, I’ve had a fantastic experience, and I’d love to come back again and try out their baked lasagna (I saw another patron order it today, and it looks FREAKING FANTASTIC).