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Looking for a specific pizza in calgary

My family is looking for a specific pizza. Not necessarily the "best" pizza as it is personal choice and people like different things. To give you some background, my family likes Pizza Hut Pan Pizza. But I dont want to eat at Pizza Hut. So here goes. Here is what I am looking for:

- Spicy, garlicy, tangy thick sauce that has tons of flavor
- lots of toppings!
- Not too soft, not hard crust
- Crust should be not thin, but not like chicago deep dish.

We used to eat at Venus pizza years ago, and Pagliaci's for a deep and heavy pie. A pie's weight should not high because of crust weight, but rather its ingredients.

Any suggestions?

Also, how is Van's Pizza? Also, has any one had the pizza at Shileagh Pubs in Signal Hill?

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  1. I haven't been to Van's for a couple of years, but I recall it as a decent neighbourhood Greek-style pizzeria. Medium-thick but very nice crust, heavy on the toppings, that thick crispy layer of cheese on top. Can't remember the sauce. I seem to remember that the service wasn't as good as you often get in those small joints, but I think that may have been because it was a quiet night and the server was splitting her attention between the dining room and lounge.

    I can't say I'd insist everybody go to Van's, but I recall it as worth checking out a shot, particularly if it's close.

    1. Boy, Venus pizza certainly takes me back! Anyway, being a big fan of the long lamented Venus Pizza I would highly recommend Volos Pizza in Knob Hill. Please note that they are closed for August for holidays.


      1. Sounding like a broken record warning!

        Shilelagh's is a smoke-choked hellhole that my partner and I had the unfortunate mistake of trying when we went to see a movie at westhills. And the food was horrible (cannot comment on the pizza).

        I had Van's at the insistence of an employee of another pizza joint- ordered in- I can only say that it was not very expensive, but for that style, I much prefer Sophies or Nick's (and am I the only one on here who likes Nick's? The way that crust tastes like it was finished on a buttery grill, and the fantastic kalamata oliives they use- I love that place, and delivery is FAST, maybe because I am close to the 14 St location). Sophie's has a fantastic sauce, thick (as if it's made w/ tomato paste- this is how I make my own pizza sauce) and its flavour is seasoned in a way that is hard to pin down, but it definitely includes cinnamon, which is much better than it sounds- Greek, ya know.

        Hart50, I promise to try Volo's!

        1. I used to be a big fan of Van's though recently have been converted by the more steakhouse style pizza's around town which sounds like what you are looking for. I am also a fan of Nicks pizza and would reccomend Eddies Nest as an alternative (though they too are closed for August holidays). Its a take out/delivery only spot on 12 ave SW. They use homemade sauce, good quality toppings and loads of real cheese.

          4 Replies
          1. re: karmafish

            karma, is Eddie's Nest the old Mike's Pizza? I used to live down in the Beltline and Mike's was my favorite.

            1. re: Hart50

              Eddie's is in an apartment bldg near the Lougheed House and Mikes is closer to Centre St.

              1. re: John Manzo

                The Mike's I was thinking of was right across from Rundle College-roughly 12th Ave and 8th Street SW. I know it changed hands some years ago but I can't remember the new name.

                1. re: Hart50

                  sounds like where gnocchi's (and Domino's) is now? Or maybe where the late great Calzoni's was?

          2. Raj,

            The pizza @ Shilelagh's used to be outstanding from 2000-2003. Then it changed ownership/management, the food got worse, the smoke got thicker and I stopped going.

            Luckily all the original great food is now at Tipperary's (16th Ave and 19th ST NW).

            It's even better than before because they have a smoking 18+ lounge, AND a smoke-free all ages restaurant. Love the Pizza and the dinner specials. and the $2 breakfast on weekends.

            Mr. Manzo, have you ever been? Great place for Irish pub fare without smoke.

            For pizza as you described. I would agree with Spiros, Sophies, Volos, and Nick's. I would also recommend Vern's Pizza which I see is now open on 17th Ave just west of 37th ST by the Tim Hortons. They are very topping friendly, though not the most gourmet place I've ever been!

            1. Looking for lots of toppings, great sauce....try Western Pizza. There is one on Elbow Drive and Heritage. This is truly "Saskatchewan-style" pizza. Whats that you ask? They cut it in squares and you will be amazed by the weight of a pie.

              1. Calzones! R.I.P.!
                Man do I miss that place.
                iirc Pizza Pipeline was alright in Glenmore landing for this type of pie you are discussing, but It's been eons since I've been.

                1. Hear, hear on the fantastic pizza at Sophies! Not too greasy, not too thin, not stingy with the toppings--just perfect!

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Calgarycalgary

                    have to second the verns pizza. They have a website. www.verns.com. wonderfully yummy pizza and will fill you up. might not be "gourmet" but definatly some of the best i've had.

                    1. re: epicurian1

                      ummmm perhaps the website has changed? I clicked on the link and ended up at verns featuring horst stalls and breast enlargement. My friend laughed out loud at my face as I searched the screen for "pizza"

                      1. re: alex8alot

                        lol... this happened to me too, but i wasnt willing to admit it!

                        Oops... i guess i just did. ;)

                      2. re: epicurian1

                        wow, not one, but two links for breast enlargement on the same page.. amazing

                      3. re: Calgarycalgary

                        Yeah, Sophies is good. Mgmt. used to own Mino's on 14st 26 ave SW. Their family used to run Spiros on 17th and 37st SW. Still, I believe the best deal hands down for quality taste, toppings, value is A Pizza Plus on Bow Trail and 45st SW. 240-1441. Been around since the 80's. If you like higher end/higher price try Sophie's or Olive Grove Express in Westhills. Have not tried Vern's

                      4. The correct link is www.vernspizza.com

                        IF you're up to an eating challenge, go for the X-Large Mamma Mia - the last one I had weighed in at 11.25 POUNDS!!!
                        Took me a week to finish.

                        1. I'm from Regina originally and have not found a great pizza yet in Calgary. Hands down the greatest pizza is at Uplands Pizza in Regina. Puts Vern's and Western to shame. If you are ever in Regina you MUST try it. www.uplandspizza.com

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: cowtownman

                            Try the places we discuss here. And welcome to Calgary.

                          2. went to pulcinella tonight for the first time.... very disappointed.

                            First of all, the crust was burnt. This wasn't the acceptable charring that lends smokiness, but a bitter, bitter blackness. I had the Quatro Stagioni: ham (large chunks of mediocre deli ham) CANNED mushrooms (completely disgusting), artichoke hearts, anchovies and cheese.

                            Do some people prefer canned mushrooms?

                            and it was wet and bland.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: alex8alot

                              de gustibus non disputandum est.

                              It's not for everybody.

                              They don't use "deli ham."

                              I recall JG saying that canned shrooms are trad Napolitano, or something like that.

                              Me, love the stuff. Love Pulchinella.

                            2. I never encountered the canned mushrooms during my two years in Italy, but clearly, they were directed toward someone's palate. I just didn't know whose. And I should have added that it TASTED like deli ham (in texture as well) to me. I have been spoiled for life by Regina's ham from the market, they aren't to blame for that.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: alex8alot

                                Do you mean the ham that's on Western's pizzas? Because I agree, that is tasty! They call it "bacon"=back bacon, delicious.

                                1. re: John Manzo

                                  your all missing the point, was it closed because of the shooting or the food, or the lack of people in the bar?

                                  WHO CARES!

                                  Regina folks you want western pizza in Calgary, be loyal to the establishment, spread the location word of mouth, and above all else make it a routine.

                                  Owners of the establishment, start off small, Like Jim Baiton did, start by offering eat in and take out and delivery service. let your reputation and quality spread by word of mouth, within two to three years after you have established yourself and you have a cashflow happening, then and only then can you think about expanding into the night club or bar scene, my advice stick to being a really good family restuarant with a nice sports bar and forget about the martinis.


                                  Big Pete