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Best Slab Pizza in Montreal

I THINK WE NEED TO OPEN A SUB-CATEGORY IN THIS THREAD RE: BEST SLAB PIZZA.

I'm sure many remember Tony & Sons back in the day in Ville-Emard. I've long left Montreal but when I visit or have relatives coming our way we have found St. Hubert bakery on south shore in St. Hubert excellent and fresh.

NDG Boulangerie & Charcuterie had a dynamo back in the 70's/80'S . They would just add some of that smoked HOT cappicolla and you were off to the races! Their cold cuts last I heard are still some of the best around town.

[Note: This discussion was split from the Best pizza in MTL thread at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/369745 -- The Chowhound Team]

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  1. Mozza at the JT market is very good
    Their pizza has recently made appearances in grocery stores such as the metro on beaumont and 5 saison on bernard. I'd go to the source though. The places in Atwater market and Marche de l'Ouest are also good.

    1. Motta is pretty good. Last I had the one from NDG bakery on Upper Lachine (maybe three years ago) it was also tasty but rather heavy and greasy; needed a good blast in the oven to crisp up the crust a little. I'd say almost exactly the same thing for Salerno, a 24 hour bakery on Charland, rather far out of the way for many people but a reasonable detour if you're headed up north or into the city via Papineau or Pie IX.

      1. What defines a slab pizza?

        Bigger? Different shape? Content?

        Never heard of the term.

        6 Replies
        1. re: CaptCrunch

          In Italy, "pizza al taglio" places are a kind of fast-food establishment serving slabs of pizza by weight (or square slice). Is that what we are referring to? The only similar thing I can think of here is those horrible so-called 99 cent pizza places (though all charge more for the cheapest slice now).

          Some of the Italian "pizza al taglio" places are actually very good - is there anything like that here? Bakeries and food shops sell square or oblong pieces of pizza, but those are cold - the pizza al taglio places serve hot food.

          1. re: lagatta

            Motta is the only place I know of with something really similar to pizza al taglio in Italy (variety of different pizzas, sold in single-serving squares), but it's a pretty pale imitation. Most other places, like NDG or Salerno, you normally buy at least 1/4 of the slab, there are often only one or two choices, and the main one is typically plain with tomato sauce, no cheese (I've always assumed you're supposed to add toppings at home).

            Not sure where the term slab pizza came from, but this thread is definitely not the first time I've come across it.

            Also, while most of the pizza al taglio I've seen in Italy is squares cut from large, thick-crust slabs, I've also seen other types of pizza, especially round thin-crust pies sold that way. "Al taglio" simply means "by the piece" after all.

            1. re: Mr F

              Yes, I've seen that kind too. I guess Motta does at least make an attempt to have a dining area; many of the pizza al taglio places I have eaten at in Italy (appropriately, mostly as a student there) have either a counter or some simple seating, and serve soft drinks, beer, house wine and fizzy water. Some of them are actually very good.

              Yes, a lot of bakeries do just a plain tomato pizza and a foccaccia with rosemary and other herbs.

              1. re: lagatta

                There are two problems with Motta: first, the pizza is enjoyable enough but nowhere near the level of what you'll find picking a place at random in Italy, and second, they cool down their thick-crust rectangular slabs, cut them up and package the pieces in little styrofoam trays w/ plastic wrap. I guess they will heat up a piece for you to eat there, but if I'm not mistaken I've seen them use the microwave oven for that, which really wrecks pizza of any sort.

                Most eat-in customers seem to have slices from round, thinner-crust (but not super thin) pies. A couple of nights a week they even have an all-you-can-eat special. But these pizzas are also not what I'd call great. Maybe a little better than the average Montreal pizza, but nothing more.

          2. re: CaptCrunch

            Pizza al taglio. I've always called it bakery pizza. I'd never seen or heard the term slab pizza before reading this thread.

            I like the ones from Roma on St-Laurent. Motta is pretty good, too.

            lagatta, the 99 cent pizza places I would call "pizza by the slice" which I guess is the literal translation and what you see a lot in New-York and might even come from there.

            1. re: CaptCrunch

              I always understood it to mean the large, rectangular, thick-crust pizzas sold by bakeries and also in many supermarkets.. Whether it's sold by the whole pizza or single ready to eat serving, or what toppings it has, are not relevant to the definition.

            2. You mean the bakery on upper lachine? I don't really remember them carrying anything you wouldn't be able to find at Esposito when it comes to cold cuts. And they don't have any specials. However their nostra brand fake capicola ham seems to taste better than the same stuff you'd find at Esposito. Also their breads are quite nice and crusty but they dry off real fast. Never tried their pastries and ready to eat though.

              1. Capitol in JTM and Cavallaro Westmount are the best I've had.

                1. My absolute favorite is Roma on St. Laurent in Little Italy. Second to that would be Capitol in JTM.
                  Hope to hear about other options I haven't tried yet.

                  1. FCI di fiumicino near square victoria do offer slab pizza ( never had the chance to try it out tho, as they close early.

                    1. I'm from LaSalle so it's always been Bruno Brothers, Luigi's, or La Marchegiana. All good!

                      1. Le Pain dans les voiles has to be very high up the list. Really, really good slab pizzas there. As you would expect from such a good bakery, the crust is a cut above anything else I've had in the city.

                        Also tried Roma recently. Not bad; I would put it ahead of Motta, though the latter offers more variety.

                        But when it comes to slab pizza in general, I'd say right now the French baker is the king.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: Mr F

                          Sorry by "French baker" do you mean le Pain dans les voiles?

                          So I am visiting Montreal soon and since I love pizza, I was curious which of these do you think is worth a stop if you had to put them in order.

                          It looks like Roma, Le Pain dans les voiles, Capitol (where exactly is this located and does it have a website) and Motta have been mentioned a few times.

                          Am I missing any others. particularly in bakeries etc?

                          Thanks!

                          1. re: buonaforchettina

                            Capitol is in the Jean-Talon market.

                            Also near the market, you could try Nicola Travaglini.

                            1. re: Glaff

                              Thanks I will check them out. Does Capitol have an address or website? I would like to see photos if possible...

                              1. re: Glaff

                                Nicola Travaglini has one of the best slab pizzas i've ever tasted. The quality of ingredients is incredible - especially the mushrooms. Unfortunately it is freaking expensive!

                              2. re: buonaforchettina

                                Yes, I meant Le Pain dans les voiles.

                                Capitol's looks good, but for whatever reason I've never tried it. Not 100% sure they make their own, but I think they do.

                                1. re: Mr F

                                  Thanks for the info I will definitely stop in and try it. Any others you recommend?

                            2. I don't eat pizza, so I am a bit naive about such matters but, is there a difference between a round pizza and a slab pizza? Isn't the difference just shape, or are there other things to distinguish the two? Thanks.

                              17 Replies
                              1. re: williej

                                There's a pretty big difference in that what people here are calling slab is actually pizza al taglio, a style of pizza predominantly available in Rome and with a wide variety of toppings.

                                I was looking for analogous spots in Montreal so any help would be appreciated :)

                                1. re: buonaforchettina

                                  "Al taglio" just means "by the piece" (which I assume you know, if your handle is anything to go by, but others may not). In Italy it comes in all shapes and sizes, including the thick slabs served in rectangular pieces sold by weight, but also slices of thin round pizza.

                                  Most of the places mentioned are somewhat analogous to places in Rome that serve the thick rectangular pizza by weight, but IMO the one that comes closest to typical Italian quality levels is the one most (superficially) unlike a Roman shop: Le Pain dans les voiles. Most the others that I've tried look the part well enough, but don't really have anything special going on. (I should note there are a few places mentioned below that I haven't tried; my comment applies mainly to Motta, Roma and NDG Bakery.)

                                  The following is NOT my photo, just chose it because this is what I consider typical-looking Roman pizza al taglio...

                                  http://breadcakesandale.files.wordpre...

                                  1. re: Mr F

                                    I hate dissing a neighbourhood establishment, but I'm really not satisfied with the quality of the crust - or the bread - at Motta. It is rather cardboardy. I'll try Le Pain dans les voiles - I've bought bread and croissants there but never thought to try the pizza. I'm very close to Motta, Roma and the Villeray branch of LPDLV... Of course NDG Bakery is far from here, but I'll keep it in mind if I'm ever nearby.

                                    There must be some good ones in St-Léonard and St-Michel, no?

                                    1. re: lagatta

                                      Lagatta, I agree with you about Motta it's not that special. We used to frequent it but then realized it's really not all that great.

                                      1. re: lagatta

                                        I agree about Motta. I actually prefer their round more or less Montreal-style pizza to their slabs, but that is also pretty ordinary.

                                      2. re: Mr F

                                        Thanks for the reply and advice. The one photo of pizzas I could see from Le Pain dans les voiles looked the most promising so far of what I have seen (the Motta photos looked pretty awful but I will reserve judgement until I'm in Montreal shortly).

                                        One thing though: as you may have imagined I spent much of my life in Italy and a culture of pizza al taglio is much more prominent in Rome (pizza by the slice is actually pretty rare in many parts of Italy, much more so than say in NYC) so most Italians who have been to Rome know exactly what I am referencing here (your photo is fairly typical) and pizza by the slice is going to be rectangular if it is any good.

                                        So keeping this in mind, do any of these places have that sort of variety here?

                                        Thanks again

                                        1. re: buonaforchettina

                                          buonaforchettina, bella, I have never seen anywhere here with the variety of pizza al taglio found in Rome. And certainly no "vino sfuso"!

                                          Since I also studied in Perugia, there was an echo of it there with smaller establishments, not just near the two universities but also in other neighbourhoods. (For others) Perugia is about half way between Rome and Florence: already in Florence pizza al taglio is less prominent and mostly for tourists, thus not very good - this ONLY my personal experience.

                                          If you should have any recent recommendations, please list them on the Italy board! I remember some good ones in San Lorenzo near the university, but that was 20 years ago...

                                          1. re: lagatta

                                            Thanks lagatta! I definitely have pizza recommendations for Italy and Rome in particular and will look for a thread on that on the Italy board. I lived in Rome for many years as well as a year in Florence and Milan as well where I came to appreciate the pizza al taglio even more when I went back (I am guessing that Montreal might have better pizza al taglio than most places in those 2 cities if that makes anyone here feel better :)

                                            There are some great pizza al taglio places in Rome I can mention and some of them have astonishing variety but it's also important to know one that does a good amount of business such that they are constantly bringing out the teglia (rectangular tray) with fresh hot pizza (for the ones which are supposed to be hot, that is)!

                                            Have I understood that in general, in Montreal it's expected to be cold from the shop?

                                            Here is a very good thread in Italian on pizza al taglio in Rome on the Gambero Rosso forum of the famous Italian gastronomic guide:

                                            http://forum.gamberorosso.it/viewtopi...

                                            You will find a lot of the 'noted' ones here as well as others. Things have gotten more "chowhoundy" in some ways there in recent years as you will see :)

                                    2. re: williej

                                      It's usually a very thick crust, of a different sort than typical thick-crust pizzas. It can be a delicate balancing act to make one of these pizzas that isn't soggy from the sauce, which is usually laid on pretty heavy.

                                      What else is different?

                                      - you usually buy it cold, for reheating at home (though some places will heat up a piece for you)
                                      - it's often sold with tomato sauce only
                                      - when there are other toppings, you normally just choose from whatever set recipes are available at the bakery that day
                                      - you can usually buy a whole, half, quarter or eighth of a slab

                                      1. re: Mr F

                                        Just so you know; the original (Roman version) is not typically thick and usually toppings abound.

                                        1. re: buonaforchettina

                                          That is true. You beat me to it. Studying in Italy years ago, I ate more than I'd like to admit to in Rome and in Perugia, where the pizza is more Roman than anything else. So many topping ideas!

                                          1. re: lagatta

                                            San Marco, Bête a Pain, Deli la Tratorria are all very good. Nicola Travagli very good as well but way overpriced.

                                            1. re: JerkPork

                                              Addresses would be great for those like myself who are new to the area :)

                                              Thanks

                                              1. re: buonaforchettina

                                                Hear hear! It should be the etiquette on this board, but it doesn't seem to be.

                                              2. re: JerkPork

                                                Bête à Pain: 114 Rue Fleury Ouest Montréal, QC H3L 2T6 (514) 507-7109 - I didn't know they made pizza.

                                                San Marco: 1581 Rue Jean Talon Est, Montréal, QC H2E 1T1
                                                Téléphone : (514) 727-5401

                                                La Trattoria: 19787 Ch Ste Marie, Kirkland, QC H9J 3L8. (Kirkland is a West-Island suburb).

                                                1. re: lagatta

                                                  Thanks Lagatta!
                                                  I'll try to include addresses going forward.

                                                  Roma as mentioned above is decent too, located in Little Italy.
                                                  6776 Boul. St Laurent Montreal, QC H2S3C7

                                                  1. re: JerkPork

                                                    Thanks for the addresses and recommendations!

                                      2. There's a pizza place in the Halles D'Anjou that sells slab pizza; I've not had the chance to try them yet, but they look good.