The Ottawa culinary scene has undergone a sweeping change in recent years, and as a food blogger, I couldn’t be happier. It’s not that I don’t appreciate poutine and shawarma, but there had reached a point when literally every non-fast food entity that was opening its doors was limited to one of those two items as its staple, and it was getting a little tiring.
Thankfully, a wave of trendy entrepreneurs saw a gap in the market place, and have attacked it with vigor. None exemplifies this better than the fine folks behind Fiazza, who opened their doors less than 3 short years ago.
Fiazza takes a modern spin on custom pizza. Using a freshly made, personal size thin dough, the restaurant offers up a handful of name options to the consumer. However, if you’re looking something that fits your personal style – no problem. With a set-up akin to what you’d see at Subway, you can mix and match a variety of sauces, toppings, cheeses, and garnishes. Unlike Subway, however, you can rest assured that your ingredients here are exactly what they say they are. They don’t allow any preservatives in their food, and source locally as often as possible.
It’s not hard to get behind a concept like this. No need to argue with your friends (or in my case, my wife) over toppings – everyone gets their own pie.
We were excited to hit them up on our weekly date night. Right away, you’re greeted with a sleek, but warm ambiance. The restaurant was filled with 20-somethings, making me feel old as heck, being on the cusp of 35. But I could tell, given the clear popularity of the place, that we were likely in for a treat.
It took about 2.5 seconds upon entering to know what I was going to order.
The Pico Mi Chorizo was literally a pie full of Stuff I Want, so I was pleased they took any hemming and hawing out of my hands and had done my thinking for me. Unfortunately, my wife, dealing with a medical condition known as “8 months pregnant” was going to be more difficult. Of course, given she’s 8 months pregnant, please don’t tell her I wrote this, or I’ll be in Big Trouble. So
after a million years she settled on BBQ chicken and mushrooms. With orders in place, it was time for the oven to take over.
Because the crust is so thin, they are able to advertise the pizza as being ready in 180 seconds. It took a little longer in our case, because our pies weren’t able to land a front row seat next to the fire initially. This was fine – good things can’t be rushed (like, for example, my wife’s pizza order), and after 4-5 minutes, our pizzas arrived hot at the table.
Just look at that. I love the fact that the crust is imperfect. It’s a super thin, hand-tossed, home made dough, giving you an imbalanced circle. Because it’s so thin, it’s mostly super crunchy, which I’m a big fan of, but with a few chewy spots here and there to give it a nice blended texture. The toppings were superb. With pepperoni sized chorizo and fresh pico, I was in a very happy place. The volume of spice was ideal; flavorful, without overpowering the other ingredients. I folded it up like a New Yohkah, because it was a little too heavy to shovel with the volume of toppings.
My wife, meanwhile, was digging her concoction.
I tried a bite, and I was impressed. Most restaurants that advertise “BBQ chicken” just take random hunks of bird, and slather it in sauce. That’s not BBQ, that’s “sauced poultry”. These guys know the difference, with a slightly smokey chicken breast that had been cooked over an open flame.
Look, if you’re addicted to the traditional Ottawa style pizza, with ridiculously thick crusts slathered in greasy cheese, then Fiazza isn’t the right place for you. But if you care about preparation, quality ingredients, and vibrant flavor, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better pizza joint in the city.
And just in case you needed one more selling point … they have beer.