Forno Antico Pizzeria – “Let them eat pizza and… cake”
Moving to a new city can be a challenge; where to go for groceries, who to call in a plumbing emergency and… most importantly… where’s the pizza?! It’s a passion – truly great pizza. As far as food groups go, it ranks right up there with burgers and Chinese for this Gypsy.
Pizza is comfort food. The dough, baked perfectly into a tasty crust. The sauce (done well) should accent and never overpower. The toppings can go light or heavy depending on your particular pizza leaning. There are days I want thin crispiness with cheese and toppings, or a great deep with light toppings and there are other days when I want it all… load it up… big crust, loads of cheese, heavy on the toppings.
Important to know where to go for all your pizza cravings.
Fortunately, I have a guide to Ottawa’s best pizza; my friend Angelo. Angelo has made a few pizzas in his day and was delighted to share a few pizza finds with his favourite Gypsy.
First up… Forno Antico Wood Burning Oven Pizzeria… “Ottawa’s only authentic pizzeria”… it says so right on the menu.
Small and intimate, the back wall features a hand painted mural of Venice and the decor is complete dominated by the huge wood burning oven and the gigantic brass espresso machine.
Guaranteed we’re eating pizza made by Italians.
When it comes to ‘boutique pizza’ Forno Antico makes a decent pizza. Terrific toppings. Light on the cheese. The sauce is mild, which accents the toppings perfectly. There is something very special about the taste a pizza gets when baked in a wood burning oven. The slight hint of smoke. The tenderness of the crust.
My favourite thing about Forno Antico pizza is that their pizza is served Sicilian style, a thick, slab like pizza, like Nona’s pizza… rectangular! It brings to mind pizza consumed in the noisy kitchens of my favourite Italians, cheese slipping off the crust and landing on your chin.
I had my standard; ham and feta with fresh (cold) tomatoes on top. It’s a balance thing for me – mild ham, salty cheese, fresh tomatoes. A decent effort, though the tomatoes were cooked, which tends to make my pizza a touch soggy.
Next time, I’m sticking with the basics – the pepperoni – simply because it is GREAT pepperoni! Slightly spicy, you can taste every herb and spice; this is not your average bulk sausage.
The menu is simple. Pizza, zuppe, salads, a couple of starters and a selection of Panini. What I really did not expect… was dessert! Allow me to rephrase… “What I really did not expect, was to be wowed by dessert”!
“Have dessert!” insists owner, Master Pizzaiolo, Luigi Paravan.
“Oh no,” says Gypsy “I couldn’t possibly…”
“We take our Belgian chocolate cake and pop it into the wood burning oven for a couple of minutes so the the icing melts and serve it – hot. It’s our specialty dessert… have dessert!”
“Did you say ‘half melted Belgian chocolate cake’?! I’m in…”
Oh dear God in heaven. Save me from this cake. Worth every extra minute at the gym… the frosting melts, the plate heats and where the melted frosting meets the hot plate there is an edge of caramelized Belgian chocolate icing… and sugar.
Oh wait… I’m not done… that creamy, melted icing covers a warm, gooey chocolate cake so rich, so sinful I swear I moaned. Have dessert!
Eat pizza then… eat cake. Put that gorgeous espresso machine to work with a cup of brew. Truly a solid pizza experience… but the Molten Belgian Chocolate Cake… a home run!
“Oh wood burning oven… how I love thee.” ~ Gypsy
Forno Antico, 683 Bronson Ave, Ottawa, ON 613-234-1377 (yes, they deliver!)