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Una Pizza (Calgary)

I had lunch there today- ordered 3 "pintxos" or something like that, tapas, for $5. These were little skewers of anchovy, bocconcini and roasted red pepper with a dollop of pesto (or some similar sort of basil salsa). They were AMAZING, and I mean "one of the best things I've ever tasted" amazing.

I had a pizza with potato- have always loved potato pizza since discovering it at Amato in Toronto. This version has a little schmier of honey under the cheese (no red sauce) for a gorgous sweet-savoury-salty combo all on top of what is quite simply the best pizza crust I have ever eaten. And i mean EVER. It was orgasmic.

I had water- they do house-filtered water just like Rush does- and an espresso after- and Lord thank you, this is finally a restaurant that gets the importance of coffee: they actually pull Intelligentsia Black Cat!

Pizza was $14. I'd have paid twice that, it was that good.

I might have a new favourite restaurant in Calgary.

http://www.unapizzeria.com/

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  1. wow, gonna have to check this place out real soon! thanks for the heads up, john... i looked at the menu and while I can't say it looks too surprising, your review of the crust is provocative enough to get me in there and see if it really is all that you say it is :) have to say i'm just a *bit* put off by the somewhat pretentious menu though... i mean seriously, "san marzano tomato sauce?" ohhh...... gourmet.... (sarcasm). gimme a break already!

    10 Replies
    1. re: nonlinear

      It's a nice place, but not what I'd consider pretentious. San Marzano is to my reading like "Nutella," Just a brand, a good one,

      1. re: John Manzo

        you are right, john, but what i was getting at is that many, many pizza makers use this variety. it's hardly a selling point. but anyways, i digress, and can't wait to try this pie :)

        1. re: nonlinear

          Many companies can or jar San Marzano a variety of plum tomatoes and yes they are the best in the world.

          1. re: smyth39

            I'm so stupid, I though san marzano was a brand! regardless, it's not something I don't like to see on a pizza menu :)

            1. re: John Manzo

              The San marzano tomatoes are generally sweet and are 95% of the sauce for pizza or pasta

              1. re: smyth39

                In general or at Una? I love San Marzanos... too many places hide cheap tomatoes by adding sugar.

                1. re: maplesugar

                  In general, tomatoes are graded like many other things beef ,coffee vegetables, flour etc, all are bought and sold and eaten but the big but is not all are enjoyable. And yes some people can tell the difference and yes it should be reflected in the price.If you go to buy San Marzano tomatoes the varities are endless and the prices vary.

              2. re: John Manzo

                but i see what you mean, john - "san marzano" is a variety and therefore sort of a brand. that said, it's a very, very common canned tomato... and most good pies will use these, or 6-in-1, for their sauce :)

                you didn't happen to get any pictures of this pie, did ya?

                1. re: nonlinear

                  I did with my camera phone but it's ugly- my phone has real problems with colour. Here it is: http://media.shozu.com/cache/full/a61...

                  It looks like an apple tartlet here- really not a good pic.

                  1. re: nonlinear

                    San Marzano is also a DOP, Denominazione di Origine Protetta, the Italian equivalent of protected designation of origin, like the French Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) commonly used for wines and cheese ( e.g. Cotes du Rhone, Champagne, Roquefort).

                    PS No, my name is not Sheldon

        2. John, you had me at "little skewers of anchovy, bocconcini, and roasted red pepper with a dollop of pesto"... now I'll definitely be trying this place out. Thanks.

          4 Replies
          1. re: foodkarma

            that was the tapas (pintxos) du jour, karma- I get the impression that it changes daily.

            1. re: John Manzo

              awwww man.... oh well I'll still give it a try to see what other flavour concoctions they have going.

            2. re: foodkarma

              mmm me too, I just got over the bocconcini, roma tomato and basil salad from linas.. replacement?

              1. re: crigg

                no, this is a tiny little tapas, not a salad!

            3. Thanks for posting this! It sounds great - and I am so excited to see that gluten-free pizza crust is an option. Not many places offer it.

              1. We had the Margherita and the Prosciutto pizzas. The toppings are fantastic. The Prosciutto has no tomato sauce at all, just ricotta, but what a combination of flavours.

                The crust is not Italian-style (too crunchy, for one thing), but it's really good, and I've never had anything else like it in Calgary.

                1. My partner and I were there around 6-7 and indeed it was crazy packed. We had the same pintxos, the zucchini salad, the serrano ham and melon appie, split the mushroom pizza, and had the dense chocolate pie thing and the panna cotta. All were fantastic- we were sitting at the bar at the rear, nice place to take part in the action.

                  Una is going to have to figure out how to manage both takeout and the dining room on busy nights like this one!

                  1. I took my vegetarian-out-of-town-best friend tonight. We were both very impressed with the food and atmosphere. They have done an amazing job with the decor/environment of the restaurant. It feels very funky chic casual.

                    We shared the pintxos (anchovies, bocconcini, red peppers), a mushroom/arugula/truffled pizza and the potato honey pizza. Everything was tasty! The anchovies were a bit fishier than I'd originally anticipated but still very good. The potato pizza got better with every bite as my palate got adjusted to the subtle flavours. My favourite was the mushroom pizza, the ingredients are so fresh that it was a flavour burst with every bite!

                    I wasn't expecting much for dessert because I find some restaurants that do meals really well tend to be unattentive with their desserts resulting in unimpressive sweets. I've had disappointing desserts at Alloy, Divino's, and Catch but the panna cotta we had was one of the best I've ever had. I like my Panna Cotta really creamy, rich, and full of vanilla flavour and this was exactly to my taste. I contemplated buying a take out Panna Cotta for breakfast tomorrow.

                    Overall great recommend John, I'll definitely be back again and will try the veal/pork meatballs and the marinated zucchini ribbons. Also the gentleman sitting next to us had cubes of beef topped with a mountain of arugula - will be worth finding out which dish that is.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: foodkarma

                      karma, so far you've had everything I've had! Next time try the zucchini salad too- and the chocolate tart thing for desert.

                      1. re: John Manzo

                        Funny - we were going to double up on the dessert and get both Panna Cotta and the rich chocolate thing however they were sold out. Must have been good.

                        My next to try:
                        - Veal and Pork Meatballs
                        - Zucchini ribbons
                        - Torta with piquillo peppers, eggs, ham, cheese
                        - baked cheese crostini
                        - Prosciutto pizza
                        - Dense chocolate thing

                        But above all, cannot wait til my next bite of the Panna Cotta.

                        1. re: foodkarma

                          okay will try to commit this to memory- chocolate slice is called a "budino."

                          1. re: John Manzo

                            Went back yesterday and they had a new pintxos offering - quail egg, smoked salmon, and this capery mustardy sauce... sooo good! I liked this one better than the anchovies.

                            We tried the prosciutto/ricotta pizza, the flatiron steak, the salt cod brandade, and the panna cotta once again.

                            The steak was cooked perfectly and I loved the garnish of arugula and sea salt. The salsa verde that accompanied the steak was creamy and went amazingly.

                            The salt cod brandade was good. It was a very comforting appetizer.

                            The prosciutto pizza was good - the crust was cooked better than other two pizzas I had from previous visits, however my favourite pizza is still the mushroom - it had flavour bursts with every bite.

                            We sat at our table by the window for about 2 hrs just eating, great way to spend a Sat afternoon. Definitely looking forward to our next visit. I think this is the best new restaurant in Calgary

                    2. Just added this restaurant to Chowhound database. Hopefully, a map will appear on the top right hand side of this page.

                      -----
                      UNO
                      , New York, AB , USA

                      1. It was great. 5 Pintxos are $8, it's still anchovies and stuff on the little skewers, Just fabulous, not fishy at all (well no more than what you'd expect with anchovy). I found the pizza a little crunchy, too, but great fresh toppings on the salami pizza (skimpy on the red chilis, there was only one piece on the half I had). Nice wine selection, Steam Whistle on tap. Definitely worth checking out.

                        1. my new favorite place! calgary totally needs a place like this - it's funky, the food and drinks are great, nice vibe - not pretentious!!!!

                          1. I went to Una on Friday night and fell in love with the place. It really is the best pizza in the city. The crust is perfectly crisp and chewy, and the toppings are so flavorful. I also loved the energy in the restaurant - lively and hip, but not pretentious. Our server was excellent - friendly and intelligent and very efficient. I can't wait to go back again. We totally need more places like this in Calgary. In fact it didn't even feel like I was in Calgary when I was there!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Jigga

                              added to all above comments- prices are very reasonable to boot. And they're open 7 days until 1AM!!

                            2. Okay, I have a question....I really want to try Una now BUT....should I go at lunch or can I go in the evening with my well behaved 2 1/2 year old? Just thought I would ask before trying it & feeling out of place (and no I will not ruin your dining experience with a screaming child....I bring tons of bribes to keep him quiet). :)

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Merry113

                                The last time I was there with my 9 year old at 5 pm. A mother with a baby was at the back of the resto as well, so I I think you are good.

                                1. re: Merry113

                                  You can go at either time (it's loud, so any "kid noise" just blends right in and there were kids there on Friday night when I went), but be aware of 2 things: (1) it's busy, so you may have to wait in line (unless you have a reso, but they only take them for 6 or more ppl); and (2) it's crowded (which is more of a problem if you have a little one with a car seat etc.) Other than that, I'm sure you're 2 1/2 yr old will love the place and the food!

                                2. This place was OK... Here is my beef: Pinxtos tasted good but if you are going to put them on a 4 inch stick why put them in the middle and not on an end so it's much easier to eat.
                                  Cod appie was OK but the crustini was just plain terrible, as if they had been just sitting around on that plate for a week.
                                  Prawn Appie was basic.
                                  Now for the pizza which personally I would call a flatbread. I had the prosciutto and it barely had any on it for $19! This flatbread was very dry too.
                                  The space reminds me of Farm. Lots of staff I recognized from Mercato.
                                  Lastly prices are different then their online menu.

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: hclass

                                    Okay, I'll bite- why would you call it "flatbread"?

                                    1. re: John Manzo

                                      Pizza imho has sauce and a decent layer of cheese. Every time I've had a flatbread in a resto it was similar to what I had at UNA. Also with an Italian name "Una Pizzeria" I was expecting more of a traditional Italian pie. Do you see where I'm coming from John?

                                      1. re: hclass

                                        Well as we all know too well, there are a lot of 'I want to be Italian's' out there.

                                        1. re: hclass

                                          Pizza in Italy has very spare toppings, at least a lot of it does. I think this is much closer to a trad Italian pie than just about any place in town.

                                          1. re: hclass

                                            pizza in italy may or may not have red sauce, depending on where you are and what style of pizza is being made. neopolitan pies (and derivatives) have a tomato sauce, however pizza in rome (which historically precedes the neopolitan pies) doesn't have this and instead is coated with olive oil. so really, when you say "traditional itialian pie," it really means nothing in terms of sauce, at least :)

                                            also, flatbread is unleavened whereas pizza dough is fermented - so they are entirely different breads. i would suspect that una pizzeria ferments their dough.

                                            1. re: nonlinear

                                              I said A trad ital pie, not THE trad pie.

                                              1. re: John Manzo

                                                hi john - yes, i know. i was responding to hclass, not you :)

                                      2. I just don't get calgarian's high praise of mediocrity at high prices. We went to Una on Friday night (table for 6 so reservation was made). The place was totally happening. We ordered a bottle of wine, least expensive bottle on the muenu of this pizzeria was $35...hmm. Looking at the menu, we ordered some appetizers and main plates(at least what we thought were main plates). The appetizers and salads were ok...the pizza was well done, but very expensive, relative to any other city i have visited in canada or the states. Then came the meatballs, oh my lord, the look on our faces when they arrived...three smallish meatballs on a plate for over $14. I thought the economy was going to wake up resauranteurs to the fact that value must be given for them to survive. I hate going to places where i feel ripped off...hence, even though the place has a lot going for it, i will probably not be back. I guess they took the approach that if Mercato could get away with it, why couldn't they.

                                        12 Replies
                                        1. re: tortue

                                          hey - i couldn't agree with you more.

                                          1. re: tortue

                                            Well JM would have paid $28 for the potato pizza. I'm not sure I would have been willing to pay more than $17 for the salami pizza, but it was very good, maybe a little skimpier on the toppings than I would have preferred, but it seems to me that their cheese and tomato sauce is higher quality (so costs more to use) than what you normally get, so they have to charge more than what you normally pay.

                                            1. re: hsk

                                              I'd agree with hsk. I thought the ingredients were fresh and high quality.

                                              Personally though I liked the amount of ingredients on the pie... but only because when I visited other "Neopolitan pizza" places like Famose, I found they piles on ingredients making the crust super soggy and I appreciated the crispness of the UNA crust.

                                              At the end of the day, restaurants cater to different tastes and people. Hence the variety out there. If you want a thick crust, sausage-loaded, cheese-laden pie this is not the place for it. When I crave that type of pizza, I'd go to Spiros.

                                              I like UNA because it offers a nice atmosphere to sit with friends and have small dishes to share. Personally I don't mind the price for the experience. But then again, because I compare UNA to a Pulcinella or a Famosa or a Farm and find the price point to be fairly similar.

                                              If I was expecting UNA to be like a Pizza Hut then absolutely I'd feel it was too expensive. Agreed entirely that this city has a higher price point than other metropolitans in Canada. Heck people complain about cost of living in Vancouver but when I lived there I ate out cheaper than in Calgary, at the end of the day though I'm in Calgary right now so my thought is either I suck it up and wait to eat certain things when I'm back in Van on visits or I suck it up and pay the bill. Depends on the worth of that meal to me at that particular time.

                                              1. re: hsk

                                                Is JM me?The potato pizza was nowhere near $28. I had lunch there- three pintxos and the potato pie- for less than $20. Considering that I spent $35 on sushi (Sushi Club) on Weds, $20 for this incredible quality was a bargain.

                                                1. re: John Manzo

                                                  I think foodkarma was referring to your quotation from your original post "Pizza was $14. I'd have paid twice that, it was that good."

                                              2. re: tortue

                                                I agree with your comment of 'Calgarian's high praise of mediocrity at high prices'. Although a bonafide foodie - I come with a sense of value. Although the food at Una was 'good' it was not over the top. In fact I found it basic. I was there last night and was surprised by the number of staff on duty - although it did get very busy at one point. However, for all the staff I did not get the warm professional service I expected. It was more 'we're good so take it or leave it' attitude.
                                                Pizza was okay. And it is not pizza you enjoy eating cold the next morning - which is rare.
                                                Also, can we get some Canadian wines by the glass? One of my big pet peeves of local restaurants.

                                                1. re: pglenn

                                                  Canadian wines generally aren't great values (price point wise) for Albertan restaurants to carry compared with the rest of the market, but that's another topic.

                                                    1. re: John Manzo

                                                      What's wrong with pglenn's opinion?

                                                      1. re: John Manzo

                                                        Sorry I should have expanded on that. It's more a sense that the community gets too excited over some pretty simple things. There is a lot of hype over this place, and I understand part of that; it is high energy and has an attractive decor. But there is no cause for extensive hype over the food. It's a nice night out with a friend but I felt I could have created this meal at home. There was nothing overyly unique or exciting. I know many could not create this at home and I understand and appreciate that. So for those who eat out nightly this would be a good comfort spot.

                                                        1. re: pglenn

                                                          We'll agree to disagree. Una would be a gem in ANY city.

                                                  1. I tried UNA pizza for the first time one evening last week. I loved the atmosphere and the decor. My dining companion and I shared the mushroom pizza and the salami pizza. Both of us agreed that the mushroom pizza was outstanding. I loved the texture and flavours of the different mushrooms as well as the peppery arugula. The salami pizza was tasty but didn't wow us as much as the mushroom one. The crust was more crispy than I had expected but not in a bad way. I'd take crispy pizza crust over soggy crust any day. The only thing I wish they would have to make the pizza taste even better is a wood fire oven. Other than that, it's probably the best thin crust pizza I've ever had here in Calgary.

                                                    For dessert we shared the chocolate budino and the panna cotta. Neither of us was fans of the budino. The panna cotta was definitely the favorite although both of us found the texture to be a lot stiffer than what we were expecting. Texture aside, the flavours of the panna cotta were spot on. The mixture of berries and crushed biscotti combined with the creamy panna cotta in perfect harmony.

                                                    All in all, a great meal with great service! I'd definitely be back to have the panna cotta again and hopefully the texture will be a little less gelatinous next time. I can't wait to go back to try the potato pizza and the prosciutto one as well.

                                                    As a side note, I was surprised to run into Jackie Cooke, formerly of Petite Restaurant. She was our server for the evening and I chatted with her briefly. She confirmed that she is no longer at Petite.

                                                    1. I also tried Una for the first time last week. I had the baked cheese, the meatballs, margherita and salami pizza, the affogato and the budino.

                                                      The baked cheese was ok. The meatballs were amazing. I love the marinara sauce around the meatballs (which were moist and delicious!) But I would have loved to have some crusty bread to soak up all the yummy sauce. I ended up just using my fork and trying to spoon it into my mouth. Haha. The margherita pizza was really plain and boring (not worth the money), but I really enjoyed the salami. I'll definitely try the mushroom one next time since miss.foodie said it's better. I LOVE the crust. It's thin, crisp, not soggy, and perfectly seasoned. It's similar, but not quite as perfect as the ones I've had in Rome. I was a little disappointed in the size of the pizza. For some reason I was expecting it to be larger, like the ones I've had in Italy.
                                                      The service was good, but I felt like I was waiting a long time for everything.
                                                      Also, we tried the double filtered water (apparently through at coconut) and...tastes like regular water. Haha.

                                                      The affogato was delicious. I love the super strong espresso mixed in with the ice cream. I personally liked the budino. I wasn't too fond of the hard texture, but I enjoyed the taste. I DID NOT, however, enjoy the white stuff that came on the side. Is it cream cheese?? Whatever it is...it doesn't taste good with the budino.

                                                      All in all, it was a good restaurant. Nice decor. It wasn't as "orgasmic" as I was expecting, but still good.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: Bex_03

                                                        Can't wait to try Una & all the other places everyone has mentioned lately.

                                                        Bex03 It could have been mascarpone that was served alongside the budino - which if you were expecting sweetened whipped cream could have been a surprise...otherwise I'd think mascarpone would make a nice counterpoint to the chocolate.

                                                        1. re: Bex_03

                                                          It was definitely mascarpone and I agree that it doesn't add much- they already sprinkle it with maldon salt so more savoury (which mascarpone is, relative to the budino itself) isn't what's needed- some whipped cream or vanilla gelato would be perfect.

                                                          1. re: John Manzo

                                                            I am addicted to the clams and chorizo at Una. I know it's pizza and wine, but the appies are what keeps me going back. Has anyone had the gluten free crust yet? Reviews?

                                                        2. I ate here for second time and also very much enjoyed it. The SO had never been and thought it was great. The service was attentive and friendly. I'm a little leary about letting a 20'ish year old pick out my wine, but he did well based on my description of likes and dislikes.

                                                          We started with two procuitto wrapped dates drizzed with balsamic glaze ($2 each) - yummy, I've made these before, super easy - followed with a chili garlic hot shrimp appetizer, which was cooked perfectly. I asked to see what olive oil they used because I loved it (normally I don't care for many of them). Then we shared prosciuttino pizza topped with san marzano tomato sauce,crisp prosciuttino, provolone piccante cheese, and fresh arugula. It was light, hot and bubbly. Very delicious but the $19 price tag is a little out there, I think. I've had very a very similar pizza at Giuseppe's for $11.

                                                          Overall it's a fun place with great food and great service. I do think it's a little expensive but I usually expect to pay a bit more when it's on 17th Avenue. I will be back!