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Pizza lovers in Montreal? Ever left montreal for pizza?

Im not from here but when i moved here from Philadelphia. I found out there's 2 kinds of pizza. What you guys call Fast food pizza 2for1 which isnt pizza and then normal pizza, but how come pizza in montreal is soo damn expensive? Im talking normal pizza, not 2 for one crap. Is it because cheese is high or dough? Anyone notice the high price of pizza in Montreal compared with most American cities? I haven't been to other parts of Canada to know if this is a Quebec thing or Canadian thing, but i have a feeling its a Quebec thing since we get raped on everything here.

Your thoughts?

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  1. I never left Montreal for pizza, but I have studied and worked in Italy on several occasions. Why do you assume the pizza from where you come from is "normal" pizza? The only justified norm would be pizza as found in Italy (of the Roman or Neopolitan schools). Sure, Philadephia pizza, Montreal pizza, Argentinean pizza (a wealth of those) etc are part of the pizza diaspora, all with their own merits.

    I haven't been to the US for many years, so I can't really compare prices. A dear friend of mine from the North Bronx who is twice as Italian in origin as I am (me = 1/2 italiana) who visits us up here frequently, thinks that in general we have better food for our budget than he does there. Including pizza. Not including wine prices, but we can go to a byow or takeaway.

    2 Replies
    1. re: lagatta

      I don't know why somebody who hasn't lived in the States or Canada recently would comment about this, I have grown up in Montreal and have lived all over the States and in Europe. Food prices are just higher in general along with the over all cost of living in Montreal compared to the United States.

      Now for the Pizza! I personally think quebec/Montreal style pizza with the meat underneath the cheese is a hot mess and tastes terrible. Nothing like biting into a hot sloppy pizza loaded with too much sauce, too much cheese and a lame crust for it to fall apart all over your face with all the topping coming off the crust. This terrible pizza design makes you have to eat it with a knife and fork, much like the chicago deep dish with their overload of cheese and sauce. I am a firm believer that pizza should not be eaten with a knife and fork, therefore the best pizza I have had is the NY style where you you can get full off one slice and fold it in half when eating it. Montreal does have pizza that is NY style such as what used to be the 50 cent slice of pizza on Guy Street, I have no idea how much it is these days.

      I have always loved NY style even though the sicilian style pizza I have had while in Europe is pretty awesome too...But who ever came up with the awful style of pizza that you eat in quebec with those big stupid pepporonis and soggy crust where the toppings come clean off needs to die...Montreal as far as I am concerned is a North Eastern city and as far as I'm concerned is very east coast in its comparison to cities in the US...we should embody great eastcoast styles of city dining with our pizza just as much as everything else.

      And yes cheaper pies would be nice too, however you if you made the pizza better, there would be more demand therefore you can reduce the price.

      1. re: nathan2220

        nathan, I think you have misread my post. I didn't need to specify that I live in Montréal and have for many, many years. I specifically stated that I haven't been to the US recently, but mentioned a NYC friend who had an opinion on relative cost of living at odds with the original poster. Another friend who frequently travels to the US finds prices on some things (especially fresh vegetables) much higher there (Michigan), and lower on others. Housing costs for one thing remain far lower here in Mtl, despite recent increases.

        I was mostly challenging his concept of "normal" pizza, as it has undergone many permutations in the pizza diaspora.

        Not even mentioning the "raped" comment. Cattivo gusto.

    2. Honestly, I have yet to have a pizza in the States that doesn't make me gag on either the 6 pounds of cheese (I went to the US with a friend from England and he wondered why it was that everything in the US has cheese on it) or the mystery meat. Yes, pizza is very inexpensive in the US, but you really do get what you pay for. More is not better.

      Pizza in Italy....a whole other world. Beam me up, Scotty. Any time.

      1. Can you explain what "normal" pizza is? Because even though it might have originated from Italy, from culture to culture the shape, texture, toppings and substance of the pie changes significantly. If you are looking for Chicago style pizza, or any other regional speciality you are probably out of luck.

        1. Normal being cheese that actually melts and doesn't look like stick on crap AKA 2 for 1. I can get much better quality for a whole lot cheaper. Like here most places charge at least say 25 bucks for an US large which is a Canadian Extra large 16inch pie. My wife is Italian, Canadian born and we live in Saint Leonard and i go around town always looking for different pizza joints to try just to try different ones. Prices here are highly exaggerated no matter how you spin it. Kinda like buying a corvette that starts at 60k for same car that starts at 40k in the US which really sums up the whole how come its pricey for nothing?

          Please don't turn this into a US vs Canada pissing match or whatnot.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mike2000z28

            "Prices here are highly exaggerated no matter how you spin it. Kinda like buying a corvette that starts at 60k for same car that starts at 40k in the US which really sums up the whole how come its pricey for nothing?

            "Please don't turn this into a US vs Canada pissing match or whatnot."

            Right. Now that you're finished pissing, you mean.

            Like everything else in economics, the reasons for price differences are complex. The factors at play include exchange rates, climate, marketing boards, market size, population density, wage levels, social programs and the taxes necessary to pay for them, etc., etc. Lots of things -- from decent French food to university education -- are cheaper up here, btw.

            As for pizza, well, Bottega aside, it's not a great pizza city, though many people who grew up eating the local pies feel differently, think Chicago and NY-style pizzas suck. To each his own. You can always console yourself with a bowl of poutine.

          2. Back a number of years ago when working in a Pizzeria in Rochester NY. I had been asked by a number of clients why our pizza was more expensive than the place down the street. Time and again, I had to explain that we use real dairy cheese. It seems that due to slim margins, the growing trend was to use soy based cheese product which was available at a much lower cost. From what I see the cost of cheese in Montreal is much more than in the US.

            There are some very good pizzas available in Montreal that you could say are worth the price. Then again there are some lousy pies that are just over priced for what they are. I believe it all comes down to knowing where to go to get value.

            The pizza in Montreal is also distinctly different from anything you will find in the US, or even most places as close as Ottawa. Oddly enough, Pizzerias in Montreal tend to dress the pizza then cover the toppings with the cheese, whereas in the US, the trend is to put the toppings on top of the cheese. Personally, I prefer crisp pepperoni than steamed pepperoni. In Montreal, mushrooms on a pizza are always fresh mushrooms, In the US, they most always use canned mushrooms.

            I will never forget chatting with the owner of the now defunct Michael D.'s that was on the corner of de Maisoneuve and Greene, who swore that the best pizza is made with Norvegia and not Mozzarella. Testament being the display case next to the cash stacked full of Norvegia bricks. And it was good pizza too.

            One of the best Pizzas delivered in the downtown core was from a guy named Hamid who owned a place called couple pizza. Their deluxe was not only very reasonably priced, but was hands down the best delivery pizza we found. .... Then one day, they stopped answering their phone....We were very sad to see them disappear suddenly with no notice... later at the end of 2005 while sipping a coffee, and reading the Montreal Mirror column highlighting the year in review, there was a piece on Montreals dumbest criminal. It turns out that Couple Pizza was actually a front for a heroin home delivery operation. Damn I will miss that pizza.

            1 Reply
            1. re: fedelst1

              The sausage called peperoni does not exist in Italy. And there isn't actually a lot of cheese on authentic pizzas. Most North American pizzas tend to be rather overdressed.

            2. good read. Well sometimes the pizza is to greasy when they put the meats under the cheese and whole thing becomes one glob and slides right off the dough like at Dimenna in Saint-Leo, they dress it like that and i used to work for them. As for the mushroom thing, im pretty sure they use real mushrooms but the US is huge so i can't speak for the 1 million pizza parlors, but mushrooms are fairly cheap. I think its a dairy thing because even milk is more expensive here. Its the price controls and taxes also that friggin hurt because everyone has to jackup prices to make a buck. I know back home you could get 2 16inch NY style pies for 13 dollars Canadian :).

              1. mike,

                I can commisserate with you, I am from the States. I didn't think getting a good pizza would be so hard in Montreal but, it is. I've had all different styles of pizza and the kind I prefer is a nice chewy crust, a garlicky sauce, real mozzarella cheese, and my spicy pepperoni crisp! (I find the pepperoni here very different than what I'm used to. Here it's more moist and not as spicy.)

                Since the love of my life is here in Montreal, I've learned to adapt. There is one cooking ingredient that I miss a lot and that is margarine in sticks. They only sell butter in sticks here.

                However, given all the other wonderful choices of cuisines here in Montreal, not having good pizza is a small price to pay for me. My husband and I visit our favorite pizza parlor whenever we visit my hometown!

                1. Quebec dairy is more expensive, partly because of regulations, and partly because the average size of a herd is less than 50 cows per farm, which in the USA is considered craft farming. I am very suspicious of industrial cheese in the USA because of rBGH hormones fed to cows (as well as other antibiotics, hormones and industrial waste feed) and tend to avoid any dairy there unless it is organic or artisanal. American Flatbread in Vermont makes a great pizza but it is not 2 for 16$ either.

                  When I go to Ottawa I always go to Cafe Colonnade, they have the best American-style pizza I have ever tasted. There is nothing like it in Montreal.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Venusia

                    Yes, Quebec Dairy is more expensive, but it is also heavily subsidized and price controlled. Thousands of litres of milk are dumped daily which are paid for with provincial hand outs. The price of dairy is not proportional to the cost of production in Quebec.

                  2. you're absolutely right. there is not a single place in this entire city worth eating pizza at. sure there's places for yuppies willing to pay $15 for 2 whole bites but generally, average joe has very little options. even plattsburgh new york destroys us as far as pizza quality. i have had many pizzas in the united states and even the junkiest mall pizza is better than anything available here. it's a shame but one thing is for certain, montrealer's know nothing of mexican food and of pizza. and the latter being apparent from the responses here.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: celfie

                      Well, Mexican food makes sense because people of Mexican origin are one of the largest immigrant groups in the US, (not to mention all the former Mexican territories ... er ... incorporated into the US). I don't travel to the US often, but when I have, I don't find the pizza there any more authentically Italian than what we get here. In logic, it should be less so, as the bulk of Italian immigration to the US (and Argentina) was considerably earlier than the bulk of Italian immigration to Canada.

                      One of the best I've had for not as expensive as Bottegha is at Pizzeria Tibet libre - yes, I know the name sounds hippie-dippie, but the chef-owner is from Italy and makes a very good crust. It is a vegetarian establishment, but I don't like meat on pizza anyway (I do like fishy things, as in the true Sicilian pizza which is of course cheeseless - no cheese with fish).

                      I don't see why anyone would expect 2-for-1 or $1 a slice pizza to be anything but cardboard with crap ingredients on top.

                      I was doing graduate work in Italy, so we often wound up at pizzerias for an evening out, given the limited funds research scholarships provide. We didn't suffer - the pizzas were almost always excellent.

                      1. re: lagatta

                        see here's the problem, i'm not talking about getting a pizza like you would in italy. i'm talking about getting a slice like your would in NYC. do yourself a favour and take a trip to the big apple and experience the wonders of their pizza. lebanese and greek restauranters do not know how to make pizza. there i said it. the pizza sucks! sure bottega is good, but at the same time, i feel like the biggest loser eating there.

                        1. re: celfie

                          No, these days I have zero desire to travel to the US, and I travel to Europe a couple of times a year for work. Why on earth would a NYC pizza be more authentic than an Italian one? And as for breakfast sausage, the very concept doesn't exist in Italy - they eat a very small breakfast, usually sweet (yuk! I love the food in Italy, but not sweet croissants in the morning).

                          Of course I've been to NYC, but we didn't eat much pizza there. One of my best friends there is Italian-American, and doesn't want to eat NYC Italian outside the home.

                          I do find it odd that people find the food here to be the same as it is in any other city outside Italy with a significant population of Italian descent. NYC pizza, Chicago pizza are very different. The Argentines have their own type, also very distinctive (there was a little Argentine place that made great examples of their pizza, but it has closed down).

                          mike, as for prices I don't know much about Philadelphia - haven't been there for decades - but I'd be very surprised if you aren't paying less for your mortgage or rent than you would in most major US cities, even though these have increased significantly here in recent years with an economic upturn. Public transport costs are also relatively lower here. Back to food, my NYC friend says vegetables (in season, at least) and several other foodstuffs are a better value and quality here than in his city.

                          1. re: lagatta

                            Can't comment on Philly, but would agree that my experience in NC was similar. Certain food items were dirt cheap (mostly premade food, junk food etc.) But many food items were more expensive, like fresh produce, basic ingredients. I remember being shocked at the cost of dried pasta, to the point that we were considering shipping in pasta from Montreal! Our food bill was significantly higher in NC. Like many places, it is expensive to eat healthy. And I would agree that the cost of good food in Montreal is one of the most reasonable I've seen. BUT Mike's 3 foot stick of pepperoni is one of the items that you probably could find cheaper down there....

                      2. I have to admit that I like eating pizza whenever I travel to the states. I love Montreal, but pizza, hot dogs, burgers, BBQ and fried chicken are not the forte here. Fortunately, there are plenty of other fine food products here. And I would add that the lack of the best of the aforementioned food products is probably a blessing. I gained 10-15 pounds living in North Carolina for two years...

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: moh

                          I was pretty much introduced to Greek Food when i came here and i love it. Theres one place in Philly that does greek that i know of and its not as big as it is here. BBQ and pizza obviously aren't the known foods here to Montreals credit. Its poutine and smoked meat.

                          The pepperoni here is a bit different. I can get a 3foot stick of it pretty cheap(hormel) and its spicier but i think its because people here don't like spicy food to much because even breakfast sausage compared to what i was used to eating taste like a hotdog, its good, but its lacking spices. I guess because its a numbers game as well as taxes that causes certain foods to be higher. On a bright side got the notice that our drivers license are going up!! im at $415 now!!!

                          1. re: mike2000z28

                            You are right about the pepperoni being different, i remember those big sticks in the states, and I don't seem to see similar things here. I like those 3 foot sticks, but fortunately there are many great replacements here. All those great Italian salumes, Kielbasa, chorizo, the hungarian butchers on St Laurent (in particular the cold cuts at Fairmount Boucherie).... Don't know how long you have been here, and this may be old news to you. But although they aren;t the pepperoni you remember from before, you can find some very nice spicy sausage products at Vielle Europe and Fairmont Boucherie, spicy capicollo at various Italian boucheries and chorizo all over the place.

                            1. re: moh

                              Pizza in discussions in Montreal always seem to slag our city. As someone who has had pizza in about half of the United States, I don't see the huge quality disparity that everyone speaks of. I think alot of the guff comes from the fact that some people simply don't like "Montreal style" pizza, chiming in that Chicago, Philly, Bronx Etc style pizza is far superior. Everyone is entitled to their style preference.

                              As of late i've had a few fabulous pizzas all excelling at a particular style, at Neopolitana, La Fornarina, Amelio's, and Bardeco. They are all as good as any pizza I've had anywhere.

                              1. re: tocino.

                                Oh, no question, it is a style preference. It is not that I dislike the pizza here, it is just a different beast. I love the pizza at Napolitana. It's just that when I am watching a football or hockey game, I want a sloppy "American" style pizza (understanding that this is not a homogenous category). Amelio's is pretty good, and it is my favorite so far in the city. But they are almost always closed when I am craving this type of pizza, and it is very hard to find a good alternative. I'm not saying this is the best pizza, it's just different and for my tastes, meant to be eaten in different contexts. And unfortunately, it is harder to find as many alternatives in Montreal. This is not to say there isn't a lot of terrible pizza in Chicago, Philly, NY, etc. There is, of course. But there are also a lot more reasonable purveyors of "American-Style Pizza" (I know, I know, blanket catergorization...) in those places. I am talking the small mom and pop businesses in the neighbourhood that make a good honest pie, no fancy ingredients, no wood-burning oven, just reasonable food that goes great with beer and pop, potato chips and a football game. Sometimes, I just want that.

                                1. re: moh

                                  I think you'd like Ville St. Laurent Pizzeria. They've been in business many many years and make a very generously topped pie.

                                  1580, rue Barré , Saint-Laurent , QC H4L 4M6

                                  1. re: C70

                                    Do they still after all these years? Then that's where I'm going from now on. It will be worth the commute from the West Island.

                                    I'm sick of paying 20 bucks for glorified bread! If I had a dollar for every time I've done so, I'd be a millionnaire! I want that 6 lbs of cheese on it, hell I eat all natural most of the time, but when it's time to order pizza I want 1/2 inch thick of non-burnt cheese on there.... cheese that stretches two feet when you go to bite into it.

                                    Tonight, yet again, another disappointment! The dog ate well, though. I specifically asked for it not to be cooked too much, and they specifically burnt it... crust and all. I also asked for double cheese, well I'd hate to see what singular looks like. I think one way around this is to learn to make my own crust, spend 10 bucks on cheese, and have 10 bucks left in my pocket.

                                  2. re: moh

                                    Well then, we are discussing entirely different animals. I hate that overcheesed stuff (lactose-intolerance is one reason, exposure to the real dish in Italy another) but to each his own.

                                    But I don't find there is much real Italian pizza in Mtl either - I haven't been to Bottega recently - too expensive for me. The best I've found in my neighbourhood for a price I can afford (pizza is NOT what I'd eat for a fancy, expensive meal) is the Tibet Libre place I mentioned, but that is really Italian style (except for the unusual Asian-inspired variations, but I order a normal Italian kind. And it is vegetarian, which doesn't bother me in the slightest although I'm not a vegetarian, as I don't like meat on pizza, but is certainly not for pepperoni fans.

                                    My only beef with them is that they don't have a wood-burning oven, which does produce a better crust quality. Not all places with wood-burning ovens are fancy or upscale.

                                    1. re: lagatta

                                      no one has said anything about 'real' italian pizza. we're talking american's pies here.

                                      1. re: celfie

                                        Then talk about them. I can talk about real pizza if I want.

                          2. I'm sorry but wouldn't you all consider Euro Deli's slices to be a pretty accurate parallel to your average cheap NYC pizza slice? Not nearly as great as a real Brooklyn pizza, but cost-wise and preparation seem pretty accurate to me and they're damn tasty for a few bucks. Now authentic European pizza is an entirely different discussion and I've never experienced any adequate recreation at a restaurant establishment on this continent; the closest I've had is freshly baked homemade pies.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: OliverB

                              Isn't Pizza Pinoli in Monkland Village area, considered a NY-style pizza slice?

                              Pizza Pinoli
                              5524 Av Monkland, Montreal, QC H4A1C7, CA

                            2. My o my montreal has become maybe worser in all north america for pizza why you ask the are simple , water , the flour and lousy commercial mozzarella that restaurant gotta use ,there s Prato on the main makes a fairly good pizza but for me i go to Frank & Pepe in New Haven , Conn. which makes awesome pizza good hunting for pizza

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: stleoitalian

                                Whattya nuts? Sally's Apizza beats Frank&Pepe hands down anyday and twice on Sunday! (hehe).

                                1. re: porker

                                  gonna try that 1 next that s what lots ppl. tell me its better isn t sallys , franks cousin

                                  1. re: stleoitalian

                                    I have no clue...I was just having fun with the well publicized rivalry...
                                    Actually, I think Sal was Frank Pepe's nephew.