Bedford Pizza Quest
Bedford was the last zone to be conquered in the Halifax Pizza Quest, and with its completion we have scoured the entirety of the urban HRM (Peninsula, Spryfield, Clayton Park, Fairview, Dartmouth, Sackville). It’s been close to 5 years of questing, and these preliminary findings will help me to narrow down the best pizza in the city. I was looking forward to sampling the pizza in Bedford because some of the most reputable pizza shops can be found here:
Nayya Pizza: specializing in specialization! They make over 45 varieties, including Pictou County-style!
Martha’s II: another local favourite, Martha’s serves pizza made the old school way.
On The Wedge: the glory of Sunnyside Mall, specializing in gourmet slices but also customized pies for pick-up or delivery.
Rocky Lake Pizza: die hard fans swear this convenience store pizza shop is the best pizza in Bedford – nay! – in Halifax! They are also the food provider for nearby Off Track Brewing.
We skipped Pizza Girls and Papa Mario’s this round because we’ve sampled them on other quests and we don’t feel that they were competitive.
We ordered medium pizzas with pepperoni, mushroom, green pepper and bacon.
For this quest we drove to each pizza place and ate there. Prices do not reflect delivery charges.
$16.99 (with tax)
The Crust: This was not my favourite crust of the day, but LA and Denton loved it. It was crispy with a touch of cornmeal, but not chewy or bready. “I’d like the crust to be a little more crispy on the bottom,” mentioned ReTales. I agreed with him that the crust was reminiscent of Panago.
The Sauce: “Not an overly complex sauce,” wrote Denton, “but it had some herbs added for an extra touch”. LuShark was not a fan, comparing it to “Prego spaghetti sauce with a few herbs thrown in” while LA was most enthusiastic: “It’s like the sauce really cared and wanted to be there with every bite”.
The Cheese: The cheese was the best cheese of the day! Gooey and melty, with good flavour and a sprinkling of herbs for effect.
The Toppings: We were impressed that our pizza came with crispy top-side pepperoni, but also a layer of Brother’s pepperoni under the cheese! This satisfies the needs of both pepperoni camps: top-siders and underneathers, while providing the heightened flavour experience of smokey, spicy, Brother’s pepperoni. The green peppers were sliced into long strips, but the mushrooms were barely noticeable. The bacon balls seemed out-of-place in what was otherwise a display of quality toppings.
Overall: We really enjoyed the overall flavour symphony, with sauce, cheese and pepperoni playing the leading melodies. LuShark was the biggest critic of this pizza, finding the sauce and crust too basic and the toppings too sparse. LA was its biggest fan (“I swear I’m in love!”) while the rest of us felt generally favourably toward it.
Top Score: Cheese
Top Pick: LA
Martha’s Pizza II
$14.86 (with tax)
The Crust: This is an old school-style crust baked in a real pizza oven. LuShark, ReTales and I prefer this style of crust but agreed that it didn’t have much flavour. LA and Denton thought the crust was dry and overcooked.
The Sauce: There was lots of tangy/spicy sauce. ReTales and I enjoyed it the most, while the others didn’t have much to say about it.
The Cheese: There was lots of cheese coverage, but it was somehow “nondescript”.
The Toppings: For some reason, there wasn’t any bacon on our pizza so I can’t comment on that. The other toppings were simply adequate.
Overall: This was a good pizza, especially if you compare it to most pizzas in Sackville or downtown Halifax. I would almost call it “Dartmouth-style”. But we also found it kind of boring in terms of flavour. “Nothing stands out, but it’s not bad,” wrote LuShark, struggling to find something to say.
On The Wedge
$20.70 (with tax)
The Crust: As with all truly great pizzas, the crust is the most important element. It is the crust that sets apart the destination pizzas from the proximity pizzas. This crust is excellent. “Chewy, well cooked and light”, wrote LuShark.
The Sauce: I found this sauce sweet and rich, while ReTales noted “tang”. Denton thought it was a “terrific sauce with lots of flavour” whereas LuShark claimed she could “taste oregano and tomato but it wasn’t full bodied”.
The Cheese: It had good flavour but it was lost under the tremendous volume of toppings.
The Toppings: It’s not surprising that a place specializing in gourmet slices would have some quality ingredients on hand. Crispy pepperoni, real bacon, sauteed mushrooms and fresh ‘n crunchy green peppers abounded. “You can taste all the individual flavours,” wrote LuShark.
I took issue with the bacon. Strips were clumped together in such a way that they didn’t crisp up in the oven. I had to discard numerous clusters of chewy, under-cooked bacon . Others had no issue with this. Denton conceded that the bacon was chewy but wrote: “Possibly the first pizza I’ve had on the quest where real bacon made a profound improvement.”
Overall: We acknowledged that a “designer pizza” would have been better than our custom choice. If anything, there were too many toppings and everything was too fresh! This is one pizza that would have been better had the toppings been limited and had it sat under the lights for a while to set. It was still an excellent pizza, and the crowd favourite.
Top Scores: Crust, Sauce, Toppings
Top Pick: ReTales, Denton, LuShark, ETT
Rocky Lake Pizza
$12.50 (with tax)
The Crust: This crust was dense, soft, sweet and chewy like bread. I usually prefer a crispier crust, but there was something really fresh and satisfying about this dough. ReTales noted a slight gummy interface.
The Sauce: There was some sort of herb that created unexpected jolts of flavour. It took me off-guard at first but I came to like it as the eating progressed. The sauce was otherwise pretty basic. LA thought the pizza was too dry, and LuShark found the herbs overbearing but mostly the sauce was unoffensive to all.
The Cheese: “A good chewy cheese texture,” according to Denton. Put differently by LuShark, “Good amount of “fake” cheese”. The cheese was adequate, but not exactly the selling point.
The Toppings: We liked that there were plentiful green peppers and mushrooms on top of the pizza where you can taste them. Meanwhile, bacon balls gonna bacon ball.
An unpopular opinion: we also liked the deli-style pepperoni layered under the cheese. I’m going to be unapologetic about this: I like my pepperoni under the cheese and I don’t care if it’s a cold cut. I grew up on it. It’s a comfort food. I can’t pretend it’s on par with a dry cured or Brothers pepperoni, but it worked very well in this particular pizza.
Overall: This pizza is definitely more than the sum of its parts. We loved it! I was worried that I was getting too full, but it was so easy to like Rocky Lake. ReTales also pointed out that this is a 5 minute drive to Lower Sackville, and stylistically similar, yet entirely superior, to any of the pizzas we had there.
- On The Wedge
- Nayya Pizza
- Rocky Lake Pizza
- Martha’s II
Bedford truly is home to some really good pizza, and I would order from any of these pizzerias again. Martha’s has that old school crust, while Nayya brings the flavour. Rocky Lake is a natural crowd pleaser, and On The Wedge dominates the gourmet game. There’s something for all tastes in Bedford, and I see why each of these pizzerias have their followings. But when it comes down to it, On The Wedge got the highest marks due to their quality ingredients and expert pizza construction.
Best Value for pizza in Bedford:
Nayya was the best restaurant for dining in. Their new digs are cozy, with an electric fireplace and real dinnerware. Runner-up would be Rocky Lake Pizza, if enjoyed at Off Track Brewing.