Located in the heart of the Annex at 402 Bloor West is ZA Pizzeria, a beacon of artisanal pizza in a sea of greasy and standard alternatives. And with prices for a full pizza being less than $20, it is affordable as well.
The pizza at ZA Pizzeria is very thin, which leaves no room for anything but flavour. Interestingly, this pizza is barbecued, something new to the pizza game, and it leaves the thin crust crispy and hard; not drooping like other thin crusts that I have tried. What is even better is that this pizza takes just a few minutes to barbecue, meaning that your artisanal pizza will be ready in less than half the time.
At an event hosted by ZA Pizzeria, I was treated to some of their delectable pies. I began with the Eggplant Parmesan. With spicy tomato sauce, thinly cut slices of eggplant, mozzarella, grano pardaro cheese and herbs, it was surprisingly hearty and filling despite being so thin, and with a little bit of spice, this was a very good piece of pizza.
The same goes for the Funghi pizza, with sautéed mushrooms, porcini cream, goat cheese and mozzarella, it provided a balanced taste of mushroom pieces combined with rich dairy.
The penultimate pizza that I tried was the Deluxe, with red pepper cream, sautéed mushrooms, mozzarella, bacon and cured chilies. As perhaps the most standard of the pizzas that I tried, it was no less interesting or delicious. The toppings provided a medley of flavour that could be staked against almost any other pizza in the city.
To make things clear, all the preceding pizza was very good. But what makes the ZA Pizzeria absolutely worth the trip is the Duck and Grape pizza. Both sweet and savoury, this piece of pizza was like eating dessert for dinner. The sweetness of the roasted grapes and of the balsamic vinegar reduction counterbalanced the heartier duck and, combined with the rich bufala mozzarella and mascarpo, this was an excellent piece of pizza. By far my favourite and the reason you should go to ZA Pizzeria is the Duck and Grape Pizza.
Along with other pies, like the Oh Canada (maple syrup, mozzarella, bacon and potato chips) and the chicken caesar pizza (garlic butter, mozzarella, bacon, chicken, romaine lettuce and caesar dressing), which I certainly want to try, the strength of ZA Pizzeria is in their specialty pizza. This is pizza that you won’t want to miss.
A few tips for you: of all the sauces I recommend the smoked tomato aioli; and if the whole pizza seems too much for you then you can order half a pizza with the remainder of the dough rolled into a garlic roll. This last option is not on the menu.
ZA Pizzeria is located at 402 Bloor Street West.