The Place: All the recent buzz surrounding Hintonburg’s new pizza joint got me thinking about where else we might find a fine thin-crust pie. It’s a quest that took me to New Edinburgh and the nearly one-year-old ZaZaZa. It’s the latest food business to incubate in the quirky corner shack that was home to the original Fraser Café as well as the first location of The Works Gourmet Burger Bistro. There, Ion Aimers, the founder of said burger empire (which he sold last September for a reported $10 million) has created an off-beat pizza joint that — quelle surprise! — focuses on one item capped with a cavalcade of toppings.
The Deal: With its avant-garde approach to pizza adornment, ZaZaZa sets itself apart from both the traditional Ottawa-style and the nouveau Neapolitan-inspired pizzerias.
The Dish: Of the few starter options, the zesty Feta Crunch Salad is essentially the toppings on a standard Greek salad. But it’s so fresh and refreshing in flavour and price ($3.81!), I don’t miss the lettuce one bit. If you are already fans of the Works’ Tower of Rings, I dare you to resist the equally addictive charms of crisp, dip-able Sweet Potato Cross-Cut fries. Together these starters would make a delightful little lunch. But of course, we are here for pizza. With 25 choices — topped with everything from tandoori chicken, shrimp & prosciutto, to Kraft dinner & hot dog — decision making ain’t easy. I was tempted by the house-favourite Crazy Horse — pesto oil, spinach, mozzarella, mushrooms, chicken, caramelized onions, pine nuts, goat cheese — but made a last-minute switch to Carbonara. With a creamy alfredo sauce taking the place of standard tomato, and a wicked combo of pancetta lardons and strips of bacon, this was one rich and delicious wheel. Crisp snow peas and parmesan on top added excellent flavour contrast. The crust was medium-thin and wonderfully bronzed beneath with good crunch from a combo of cornmeal and a super hot oven. No worries Tennessy Willems: you still hold title for thinnest crust. But this ‘za wins the battle for flavour.
The Cost: The individual size pizzas range from $9.93 – $11.77 and the large size, from $16.89 – $18.80.
ZaZaZa, 143 Putman Ave., 613-747-9292, www.zazazapizza.com