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Ottawa, we need to talk: Stop with the grease wheel pizzas already!

By Yasmin Nissim on June 21, 2013

I’ve lived in the nation’s capital for just over ten years now, and I have always been on the prowl for an awesome, hole-in-the-wall pizza place within city limits. Now it may simply be because I enjoy a certain type of pizza that is hard to find in Ottawa, but then for the sake of variety(!), we need to have a few other choices than my pizza-nemesis: the grease wheel!

The grease wheel tends to be characterized by thick dough, lots of cheese (hence all the grease), tons of toppings and a somewhat soggy texture. Think Sloppy Joe, but pizza. There are many who enjoy this style of pizza, but for me it just doesn’t cut it. I’ve also noted a strange practice in Ottawa to put toppings under the cheese as opposed to on top. They’re toppings! Not bottomings, toppings! Again, just my personal preference, but I find toppings under the cheese leaves them soggy, greasy and tasting mostly of the cheese. Meh, not for me.

Personally, Neapolitan pizza is where it’s at, with my particular favourite being the Margherita. With a beautiful thin, crispy crust, sliced buffalo mozzarella that complements and doesn’t overwhelm, flavourful tomato sauce and fresh basil, what’s not to love! Simple, but classic and doesn’t leave you feeling like you’ve just swallowed a bottle of 10W40. Thankfully, I’ve found a couple places in the city that cater more to this style of pizza, and with wood fire ovens too!

From left, a Quattro Stagioni and a Margherita pizza from Anthony’s on Wellington. Photo by Yasmin Nissim.

 

I recently visited both Anthony’s in Hintonburg and one of the awesome new food trucks in the city, Pizza E Panini in Westboro – I think I may have finally found my long sought after pizza spots. Both offer the gorgeous thin crust that I adore, wood-fired to perfection. The prices are excellent whether you’re looking for a sit-down spot for dinner or a tasty snack while browsing the shops. I realize there are a few other places in Ottawa with wood-fire pizza or more “upscale” pies, but I particularly enjoyed these two for their great ingredients, simple goodness and reasonable approach to cheese coverage.

A lovely little pizza from Pizza E Panini. Co-owner Leo Raguseo was kind enough to add all kinds of spicy extras to this pie. Photo by Yasmin Nissim

A lovely little pizza from Pizza E Panini. Co-owner Leo Raguseo was kind enough to add all kinds of spicy extras to this pie. Photo by Yasmin Nissim

 

When it comes to things like music, art and food, subjectivity reigns supreme. So if you enjoy your grease wheel, it’s all good. I’m just thankful that in Ottawa’s sea of soggy crusts and gobs of gloopy cheese there are some different pizza options starting to emerge.

What’s your preference? Are you a fan of the grease wheel or something different? Let us know in the comments below!