Best Pizza in Vancouver 2014? You make the call!

Photo credit: ElfQrin | Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: ElfQrin | Wikimedia Commons

It’s said that in polite conversation, you never talk about two things: politics and religion.  To those taboos, I might add a third: pizza.

Few topics stir up as much passion and animosity as the great debate over where to find the best pizza in Vancouver.  Everyone has an opinion and it’s rare to find two pizza fanatics who see eye to eye on the matter (Inside Vancouver’s Tom Taylor recently offered up a newcomer’s take here.)

But I’m hoping to get to the bottom of the great pizza debate right here.  Do you have a favourite pizza restaurant in Vancouver? Let us know by leaving a comment below.  

And, yes, I do realize that this is actually a ridiculously difficult – maybe even unanswerable – question.

For starters, pizza comes in many manifestations.  For hardcore gourmands, the only “real” pizza is Neapolitan-style: thin, soft crust, tomatoes and cheese sourced straight from Italy, wood-fired oven … the whole nine yards.  Then there are acolytes of New York-style pizza – big slices with a thin, crispy crust, often loaded with toppings, from pepperoni to pineapple.  Another big denomination is the Chicago deep-dish school, for those who like their pizzas decadently dense pizzas with a thick, chewy crust.

Photo credit: Navin Rajagopalan | Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: Navin Rajagopalan | Wikimedia Commons

And in-between there are countless variations.  For instance, lots of the pizza-by-the-slice joints in Vancouver – the ubiquitous Megabites and Fresh Slices – serve a kind of hybrid between New York-style and Chicago deep-dish pizza. (Whether this “franken-pizza” is actually any good is still up for debate.  It is, however, cheap.) Other pizzerias take cues from the Neapolitan school – baking their pies in a raging, wood-fired oven but producing pizzas with slightly sturdier, thicker crusts. Finally, there are all the Pizza Huts and Domino’s out there – which real pizza lovers generally sneer at (except after an especially late night on Granville Street).

Photo credit: Contributorwiki12 | Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: Contributorwiki12 | Wikimedia Commons

To get the debate started, I’d like to mention a new kid on the block: Bella Gelateria in Yaletown.  This might seem like a strange choice, but the award-winning gelato makers have recently begun applying their Italian cookery skills to pizza in their new Yaletown restaurant.  Their style, not surprisingly, is old-school all the way:  straight-ahead, by-the-book Neapolitan.

Inside the waterfront location on Marinaside Drive, not far from the gelato counter, a domed, wood-fired pizza oven is kept blazing night and day. Ingredients are top-notch.  Cheese is fior di latte, tomatoes are San Marzano (“a variety of plum tomatoes … considered by many chefs to be the best paste tomatoes in the world,” according to the menu), the Parmigiano-Reggiano is aged 36 months and the olive oil is extra virgin. I ordered a Capricciosa pizza ($19), which came with all of the above, plus prosciutto cotto, mushrooms and artichokes.

It arrived at the table after after a brisk 60-90-second roast in the wood-fired oven with a slightly charred crust. In Neapolitan fashion, the crust is soft and tearable – meant to be eaten with a fork and knife rather than picked up by hand.  True Neapolitan junkies would probably go gaga over the finished product. Being more of the New York pizza school, I wasn’t completely blown away but I could definitely appreciate the quality of the ingredients and care of preparation.

But I know there are lots of pizza gems out there in Vancouver.  If you’ve got a favourite, let us know by leaving a comment below.

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4 Responses to Best Pizza in Vancouver 2014? You make the call!

  1. Edgardo

    Best pizza in Vancouver for me so far is in Gastown, Antica ( The crust is fantastic, definitely top. The marinara with black olives and covered with Basil is also a terrific vegan option. One with strong cheeses (gorgonzola, grana padano, taleggio), it is also fantastic uncharted taste.

  2. Maputo88

    The Bibo on West 4th is my favorite. Wood oven, real Italians, very good pizza

  3. Natalia

    Campagnolo Roma in East Van!!

  4. linda

    Via Tevere .