Geek Out on Pizza Nerds
Ottawa has a multitude of pizza options — a variety of styles, flavours, shapes, and sizes. Even the most invested enthusiasts would have their hands full trying to eat their way through the capital’s pie scene.
As a pizza connoisseur, I know that not every pizza is built equal. Or, for that matter, for the same purpose. Some of my favourite pizzas in the world are of the Neapolitan variety, but these aren’t exactly the best take-out pizzas, as they don’t travel well.
So when my partner and I were scouring for an evening pizza and realized it was too cold to do anything other than order in, we had to make the right choice. Where would we have our goods delivered from?
Cue Pizza Nerds.
Pizza Nerds is not quite the super thin Neapolitan style I often opt for, but it’s definitely not your classic take-out pizza either. As you scroll through the menu, you are greeted with a variety of creative pizzas. Some have an elevated classic feel, and others are so outside the box that you don’t know what to expect. However, after reading many positive reviews and knowing that their flagship location did well enough to justify opening up a second spot, I figured it was worth a try.
Let me tell you, it was worth more than just a try.
All of the pizzas on the menu are named after neighbourhood streets like The Lyon and The Sunnyside, which shows that they stand true to the city they represent and aim to be “Ottawa’s Pizza.”
We decided to lean into what Pizza Nerds is all about with our choice of pizzas: a more classic option and one pizza creation from the depths of the imagination.
The first pizza we added to our cart was a rotating pie, something you can’t get all the time, so you’d better try it while it’s available. It featured Calabrese-style salami thinly sliced like pepperoni, hot honey, and a very pungent truffle oil.
Now, I am biased because these are three of my favourite things on a pizza, maybe ever. If you threw a few anchovies on there, I’d eat nothing else for a week. Fishy friends aside, this pizza was outstanding.
As soon as we received the order (which was fast and hot), you could smell the truffle wafting off of the doughy delights. I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth in.
The first bite was pure magic. The sweet heat from the hot honey, the salty salami, the pungent umami bomb from the truffle oil and the grated parmesan all hit the mark.
The second pizza was our adventurous try. My partner and I love everything Asian-inspired, fermented, and funky. So when we saw The Albert and all of its kimchi-covered delight, we knew we had to try it.
In addition to kimchi, The Albert comes with a local cheese blend, green onion, black sesame seeds, and a chilli garlic dip that is to die for. This pizza has some bite and a lot of funk. The crispy and fresh kimchi adds the perfect textural contrast to everything you taste.
But any true pizza eater knows that no matter how creative or delicious the toppings are, you cannot mask a pizza with them. It all boils down to two things: the sauce and the dough.
This is where Pizza Nerds truly shines. Their fermented dough has a delightful bounce and chew to its texture. You can tell that time and care are put into each one. The crust is thin along the base, with a perfect rise at the edges, and it HOLDS UP to the terrors of the delivery process. This is one of, if not THE BEST, crusts in the city, hands down.
Their sauce also does the job; it’s well seasoned, spread evenly, and, most importantly, not overly sweet. Understanding natural sugars in a cooked-down tomato is important in the sauce-making process, and Pizza Nerds understands that balancing act.
Hold on to your seat if you thought their inherent thoughtfulness was over. Unlike most upper-tier pizza joints, Pizza Nerds accommodates ‘anti-pizza’ dietary restrictions. That is to say, the gluten-free crust and vegan cheese crowd has a home here. Even the kimchi on The Albert is 100% vegan. There is something for everyone at Pizza Nerds, and there is a pizza nerd in all of us!
So this winter, when you’re cooped up, and all you want is comfort delivered to your doorstep, geek out on Pizza Nerds.
Visit Pizza Nerds at 478 Bank Street in Centretown, at 440 Sunnyside Avenue in Old Ottawa South, or online at pizzanerds.ca
Photos: OLM Staff