BEST NEAPOLITAN PIZZA MONTREAL
This week I tried Magpie and Bottega. Magpie is not exactly authentic Neapolitan according to the requirements of the Vera Pizze Napoletano Associatione (VPN) from what I can tell. Bottega has the traditional Neapolitan in their Margarhita and Marinara. Here is my comparison of the two restaurants.
Magpie has the better tasting and more interesting crust. They use the Italian imported 00 flour and they have a "starter" base that required a great deal of craftsmanship in their crust. Their Pizza sauce was not so authentic in that it was laced with garlic, though I believe they used the tomatoes from Italy's San Marazano on the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius in the sauce. The pizza was excellent. They baked it well under the 900 degrees set out by the VPN at about 650 degrees, and baked it for several minutes instead of the 90 seconds or less that is dictated in the VPN certification rules. But the crust was great. I had a non-Neapolitan pizza consisting of prosciuto, tarragon, egg, chantarelle mushrooms. It was excellent. I give them an 8.5 out of 10. I would not order the meatball again.
Bottega was a very festive restaurant with a nice menu of Italian appetizers. We tried the aroncini (rice balls with Mozarella) which were okay. The baccala was good, but not special, though the fish tasted quite fress which seems a little unusual for this dish consisting of salted cod and potato. The fried calamari was excellent; tender and tasty. The salad of arrugala had a nice dressing tasting of taragon, lemon or vinegar, and perhaps egg yolk. The cheese was a grana and was only so-so. Then came the pizzas. The margharita had the classic san marazano tomatoes without anything else but salt and olive oil. The flour was NOT from Italy, but it was milled in the 00 style. The mozarella was fresh and clean tasting. The dough was soft in Nepolitan style and got wet from teh tomatoes. The pizza was not cut in advance, which is common to Napoli pizzerias. My friend had the same pizza with a spicy Italian salami on top of it, called "diablo" I believe. It was a great salami and went extremly well. His wife had a mushroom pizza which was good and had arugala but no tomatoes. My wife had a pizza with prosciutto, which tasted a bit more like ham. I didn't pay so much attention, but I think there was some tarragon, and there was no tomatoe on her pizza. They baked their pizza at 850 degrees in a wood oven for 70 seconds, so it is quite authentic in every regard. I think the absence of the flour from Italy hurt them a bit. The crust is very soft, which they said is part of the Neapolitan experience. The flavors were great. The atmostphere was fun and alive and they were packed by 5PM on Sunday. The Sardinian wine by the glass was wonderful. Their home made pistachio gelato was excellent, as was their hazelnut and compared favorably to any gelato in town. Their nutella pizza was nothing special, though the kids loved it ofcourse. The tiramisu was unique and excellent and presented very nicely. Everything was presented well and elegantly. Even the meatball which none of us liked that much had a beautiful tomatoe sauce with a lone leaf of basil creating a very nice visual sensation. The coffee was great here too. I give them an 8.5 out of 10.
HENCE I RANK THEM EVENLY.
Any other pizzarias you think do well on the traditional Napoletana style (900 degree oven, 00 flour, 90 seconds cooking, san marzano tomatoes, salt and olive oil only for flavoring, a touch of fresh basil).
Lesley Chesterman`s theme on radio show last week was pizza, oneof guests was owner of Amelios (Bernard branch), I believe the other was from Venti. I didnt listen to whole show but I liked the fact that they use all fresh ingredients, also the 5 cheese pizza at amelios sounded interesting. Thanks for report.