At the start of July, I had the chance to try out Urbano Pizza Co., the latest project by co-owners Christian Mena and chef Lino Oliviera, the same folks behind Sabor Restaurant and Bodega Tapas and Wine Bar. Offering up thin crust pizzas with a build your own pizza option, the new addition to 103 Street was on a lot of people’s radars. Given that their opening date was June 5th, I’m astonished at how long I managed to hold out!
In all honesty, I’m not the biggest North American pizza fan. Start the booing and tomato-throwing now. I like my pizzas very simple: a thin, yet withstanding, crust with a bubbly crisp, simple San Marzano tomato sauce, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella. I’m a true Neapolitan at heart, something I experienced nearly every day on a three-week school course on the island of Ischia, off the coast of Naples. For me, nothing will beat those memories. Having said that, when I eat any kind of pizza now, all I can really think about is 1) Is it delicious? 2) Would I crave this pizza and come back?
Thanks to the fabulous Brit, an invite to a pizza and pop party coincided with my work schedule quite nicely. Even Joe tagged along, something I didn’t expect from my noodle soup-loving boyfriend. The space is small, seemingly designed for the lunch time crowd or for a quick bite. Twenty or-so seats occupy the back upstairs space while a handful of small tables occupy just outside the doors. It’s a quick meal in part due to four TurboChef Fire hearth-style pizza ovens, cute little pops of colour and a focal point in the room, and responsible for your pie that is done in 90 seconds. They’re even portable — stylish and functional, I like! A full countertop of toppings is available for your choosing to build your very own customized pie.
Our night started off with a taste of Urbano Pizza Co.’s six signature creations:
1) Nonna’s Fave ($9.95, unpictured): Any sauce, any cheese.
2) Pork & Pineapple ($11.95): Porchetta, Grilled Pineapple, Camembert, Tomato Sauce.
3) Bubby’s Fave ($11.95): Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese, Red Onion, Capers, Hollandaise. One of my favourites for the night although I’m a bit partial to this particular flavour combination. Perhaps leaving the smoked salmon on for after the oven would have been better.
4) Bacon & Eggs ($11.95): Back Bacon, Caciocavallo Cheese, Onion Jam, Two Eggs, Fire-Roasted Tomato Sauce.
5) Piri Squared ($11.95, top left): Piri-piri Chicken, Portuguese Chorizo, Limiano Cheese, Roasted Red Peppers, Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce, Shoestring Potatoes. I missed out on the Portuguese Chorizo on my slice. This is what happens when you’re dining with pizza lovers that know what they’re doing. Curse my logic of choosing the small slice! Sadface.
6) Garden Fire ($11.95, corner shown, top right): Grilled Portobello, Grilled Zucchini, Roasted Red and Yellow Peppers, Grilled Artichokes, Grilled Eggplant, Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce, Vegan Cheese. Holy vegetables! Pretty cool that they have vegan cheese though.
We also had a chance to try some of the staff’s favourite pie combinations. It’s endless really the amount of combinations you could do. It’s nice that Urbano Pizza Co. gives their customers free reign, albeit increasing the risk of an overzealous pizza builder making a bad pizza! Offering a gluten-free crust and vegan cheese is a point in many books. By the end of the meal, all the flavours were kind of a blur, something that wouldn’t normally happen if you ordered only one or two pizzas. Duly noted: I like jalapenos on my pizza!
My thoughts? Apparently Urbano Pizza Co. had revamped their pizza dough recently, adjusting to customer feedbacks of gummy or soggy middles. Seeing that I hadn’t tried their pizza dough earlier in June, I can’t compare. The crust I had was crisp and border-lined blackened in order to hold up to the toppings. Still on the thinner side of things, this can be a hit or miss for a lot people. It was lacking the pillow-y soft middle of the bubbly crust that I’ve come to love and look for but the variety of toppings would make a pizza lover happy. My mom would absolutely love this crust, tip-toeing between the flatbread and pizza line.
I’m glad to see that Urbano Pizza Co. is making their sauces in-house. A selection of Tomato, Fire Roasted Tomato, Roasted Red Pepper, and nut-free Pesto sauces are available for the choosing. The Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce would be my pick! Ear-perking toppings like the Piri Piri Chicken was enticing, although I wished there was more of a kick to it. I appreciate the fact that all the toppings at Urbano Pizza are of high quality though. Caciocavallo or Camembert cheese? Real deal stuff. Premium toppings are an additional $2 on top of the base price of $11.95. Pretty reasonable although I haven’t been in to make my own pizza to see how much they actually put on.
Overall, a good lunch option for the downtown crowd. Quick, fully customizable with a variety of toppings, and affordable at an average of $12 a pie. Was it delicious? Yes. Would I crave it and come back? Questionable. I’d like to think that if I craved pizza that much, I would be attempting to make my own creation at home. Have you tried Urbano Pizza Co.? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below! Congratulations to the team at Urbano Pizza Co.!Urbano Pizza Co.
#110, 10220 103 Street
Disclaimer: I was invited as a guest for the complimentary dinner. I was not expected to write a post. All opinions are of my own.