Ah, pizza — the great go-to food. Give friends some time to figure out what they want to order, and they will inevitably land on pizza. That’s the easy part. But what style of pizza? Luckily, we live in a pizza-happy city with many styles from which to choose. We’ve taken on the burden of trying some of the best, to provide you with what you need to make your pizza case.
When it comes to pizza, you can’t get more classic than a New York-style pie. The style evolved in the 1900s, as an American twist on the Italian Neapolitan-style pizza. The difference? Where Neapolitan-style pizza crust is thin in its entirety, the crust of New York-style pizza is thick and crispy along the edge and soft and thin in the middle.
The thin crust comes from hand-tossing the dough, usually made with high-gluten bread flour. Traditionally, the only toppings used are tomato sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese — simple enough that the large slices can be folded in half to eat. If you want to get a little crazy, add toppings on top of the cheese. New York-style pizza originated by the slice, as it was too expensive for people to buy a whole pie. One of the more mainstream styles of pizza, you can buy whole pies at many pizza joints in the city.
Slip off the streets of Edmonton into a New York-esque dive bar. SOHO is a shrine to the spirit of the punk music scene and has a menu of four New York-style pizzas that are almost as big as the tables and made with SOHO’s own San Marzano tomato sauce and a blend of three cheeses. As the menu says, don’t expect anything fancy, just delicious. – Katrina Turchin
Oliver | 11454 Jasper Ave NW, Edmonton | 780.483.7646 | sohoyeg.com
Neapolitan pizza is here to say that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Well-considered and prepared ingredients, and not too many of them, bring out the genius of each. The crust of a well-made Neapolitan is thin with an airy “cornicione,” or rim, that is crunchy on the outside and light and soft on the inside; the sauce is generally made from just plum tomatoes, garlic, basil, oregano and salt; light, fresh mozzarella (fior di latte in Italian, translated as “milk of the flower”) is spread on top; one or two additional toppings are all you need.
You can, of course, dress a Neapolitan up a bit if you choose. You can’t really go wrong with some well-placed prosciutto, roasted mushrooms or artichoke heart, but no orgy of overdose here. No pile of random toppings that have no business sharing a pie. Pure, simple goodness, because, as Newton said, nature is pleased with simplicity.
The wood-fired oven at the back of Rosso Pizzeria is the soul of a great pizza. Its crusts are made with unbleached, non-GMO, organic flour and the sauce is simple San Marzano tomatoes and salt. The classic Margarita is the undenied champion, featuring crust, sauce, fior di latte and a couple strips of basil. – Michael Ganley
Garneau | 8738 109 St NW, Edmonton | 780.433.5382 | pizzeriarosso109.com
Hear me out: Forget about the round shape and thin crust, Detroit pizza is the real deal. It’s doubly cheesy, meaty and heavy, and the square pan deep dish pizza is the ultimate fix for serious cravings. Why waste the space when you can stack pepperoni and cheese all the way to the edge?
It’s like a sheet of savoury cake. The highly hydrated dough, hand stretched into the corners of a heavyweight steel pan, creates a porous, usually more than 1.5 inches-thick crust. The layered toppings hide beneath the cheese, with pepperoni baked to perfection, dressed with stripes of tomato sauce.
It might not be the pizza you grew up with, but it fits right in our city. Imagine a long winter night where the crispy cold air smacks your face, and all you want after a grinding day is to munch on the most comforting of foods. That’s when Detroit pizza comes in with its caramelized edge and warm chewy crust. You can feel the heaviness in a square slice, and that’s the weight of pure joy.
The old-fashioned wood plank patio at High Dough’s Garneau location is where you’ll feel the authentic dirt city energy in a Detroit deep dish. The classic pepperoni and tomato sauce never go out of style. But if you want an extra deluxe bite, go for “You Make Me Thick.” This pizza is filled with bacon, ham, pepperoni, tomato dices, beer cheese and mozzarella, with skinny drizzles of spicy tomato sauce on top. – Sophia Yang
Strathcona Junction | 7341 104 St NW, Edmonton | 780.757.4460 | thehighdough.ca
Edmonton’s food scene rightly has the reputation of producing some great post-bar grub, the most famous likely being its donair establishments, which have proliferated deliciously city wide. But we also have another savoury way to satiate booze-assisted hunger: Chicago-style deep dish pizza.
Beyond its city namesake, the specific chef and location of the “first” deep dish pizza is unknown. What is known, accord-ing to a Chicago Tribune article titled “Who Invented Deep Dish?” is that, in 1943, “Chicago produced a unique variation on traditional Italian and American pizzas. It has a coarse, crunchy crust, sauce on top of cheese instead of the other way around, and Italian sausage at its heart.”
The “deep” part comes from the oily dough rising up the side of the pan which, unlike pans used for most other pizza styles, has a higher edge. The toppings may change, and some places spread a lot of sauce, but if the crispy crust isn’t at least a thumb width high, you aren’t eating Chicago deep dish.
Since 1996, Edmonton’s own Chicago Deep Dish Pizza has provided pizza by the slice to Whyte Avenue walkers, buskers and booze drinkers using a consistent business model: get in, pay for your piece of pie with change, then get out and continue enjoying your stroll down the avenue. Whether you’re heading to another bar, another show, or winding down the night, a piece of deep dish makes for hearty, filling fuel. – Cory Schachtel
Chicago Deep Dish Pizza
8114 104 St NW, Edmonton | 780-413-8866
16203 Stony Plain Rd | 780-413-8866
Growing up in Alberta means that you grew up with Greek-style pizza. Whether you’re in Edmonton or in the small towns that surround it, you’ve seen it — the Greek family restaurant that is also a pizza house. Some of us remember going to the Flamingo, in Meadowlark, for pizza done this way. We miss that place.
There are some rules to a great Greek, Western Canadian-style pizza. You need to have the cheese coat the other toppings. No picking stuff off. The order is crust, sauce, toppings and then the cheese on top. From the oven, the cheese will be a little bit scorched. That’s good. The dough isn’t thin; it’s bread-like and dense.
It’s absolutely not artisan pizza. It’s not trendy. It’s the pizza you loved when you were a kid. It’s the stuff that makes you recall family dinners. And, of any style of pizza you’ll find, it might be the most… Canadian.
Go old school at Dallas Pizza. It has posters of Greece on the wall, and some faux Greek decor, which is pretty well a requisite. The menu has two sides: pizza and not pizza. Dallas has a Greek pizza on offer; look for Feta cheese, olives, tomatoes and onions. The tomatoes are served fresh, in big slices atop the cheese. The rest of the ingredients are stuffed underneath the cheese, which has a crust from the bake. It’s nostalgic. It’s delicious. Don’t like olives on pizza? Question your life choices. – Steven Sandor
Dallas Pizza & Steak House
Forest Heights | 7834 106 Ave NW, Edmonton | 780.466.1112 | dallas-pizza.com
In a nondescript strip mall in northeast Edmonton, a small pizzeria has redefined the correct method of pizza delivery. Versato’s Pizza was finding that its pies were too heavily topped to send out into the world in the traditional manner. “The pizza is so thick that all the liquids will seep into the crust,” says the woman working the till while serving up a slice that looks like a cross between a traditional piece of pizza and a smoked meat deli sandwich. If you so request, Versato’s staff will put the pizza in the box upside down, allowing the liquids to ooze to the top (or is that the bottom?) while transporting the pie. When it gets to you, flip the whole box over and voila, 1.5 inches of topping with a still-dry – and crisp – crust. “It just made sense,” she adds. Flipping right. – Michael Ganley
Homesteader | 12753 50 St NW, Edmonton | 780.413.3440, 780.428.3547 | versatospizza.com
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This article appears in the October 2022 issue of Edify