Halifax Pizza Quest: “NONO” (North of North)
The NONO Pizza Quest marks the final chapter of the Halifax Pizza Quest… well, as far as the peninsula is concerned. The next stage in this ongoing quest will be to hold the Peninsular Pizza Finals! The #1 candidate from each neighbourhood will proceed to a battle royale to determine who makes the best pizza on the Halifax Peninsula!
But before we get ahead of ourselves… Here are the results from the “North of North” district:
If you’re just tuning in – Our pizza team orders a medium pizza with pepperoni and green pepper from every shop in a determined pizza neighbourhood. We rate the pizzas on a 5 point scale in categories of crust, sauce, cheese, and toppings. There is a separate scale for “Overall Impression”. Click here to see all 5 Halifax Pizza Quests.
For the purpose of this quest (and life) I have named the area lying north of North Street as the “NONO” neighbourhood, whereas everything contained between North and Cogswell streets I refer to as “North Central”. Halifax is still a little confused when it comes to its “North End”, but I think this demarcation is a sensible way to make sense of things.
Within this neighbourhood we have: Metro, Shadia’s, Velo’s, Korca, Rush Hour, Big Wedge and Salvatore’s. Which one makes the best pizza in north end Halifax? Let’s find out!
In the order of delivery succession:
I used to live down the street from Metro Pizza and I was a fairly loyal customer. They claim to make the best garlic fingers in Halifax, and I would have to concur. However, I have not conducted a Halifax-wide garlic finger quest and our present topic of study is pizza.
Metro Pizza arrived first, as it was right across the street from our headquarters. We opened the box to a pretty standard pizza.
My Pizza Team found this pizza to be very underwhelming. There was not enough sauce, not enough flavour… there was just nothing that made this pizza stand out.
I think I’ll stick to the garlic fingers!
This pizza was also pretty average, but I love the nice big flat strips of green pepper on top. The cheese was decent, but there could have been more of it. Opinions were split about the merits of the crust (it was fine), but everyone liked the sauce enough to give it a 1st place finish!
Rush Hour Pizza
This was the first time in my life that I couldn’t eat a slice of pizza. I had to spit it out. I don’t know what exactly offended me about it (I gave it a second chance to the same effect)… but it didn’t have this affect on anyone else. Maybe Rush Hour pizza is my version of a cilantro sensitivity?
The crust is described as being anything from chewy to soft to thin to thick to doughy… so maybe this pizza’s magic power is that no two people will ever have the same experience?
Those who liked it said: “Good amount of cheese and sauce. Better than average” and “..nice soft crust, a soft tang to the tomato sauce”.
“This is a silly pizza”, writes Talix.
I think this pizza is somewhat of a paradox … but when you add up the numbers, it comes out pretty average.
Velo’s Pizza was noticeably more greasy than the others – but in a good way! You can even see the grease pooling in the creases. This elevated the flavour to a place just ahead of Shadia’s – in my opinion (Tinfoil was a die hard Shadia’s fan).
A couple of questers observed that Velo’s had an excellent topping to crust ratio, while others regarded the crust itself as chewy and bland.
One quester pointed out that perhaps the cheese was not browned enough.
As per usual, some of us thought the sauce was nice and spicy (I wrote “garlicky”), while at least one person found it bland.
Korca Pizza took 1st place in the Cheese category, and I love the sprinkling of seasoning and strips of green pepper. Aesthetically, I think this is the prettiest pizza of the bunch.
MGyver writes that there was a “nice burst of flavour” – but then he goes on to say that there is “funny cheese, bland crust and spongy pepperoni”. His highest ranking goes to the sauce. Doomguts claims that there was a good amount of sauce, while Sean and Emily felt that there was little to “almost no sauce”. Some questers complained that the sauce and crust were too sweet – but Korca still managed to place #2 overall. (We just complain a lot).
Big Wedge Pizza
I felt that the Big Wedge was comparable to Papa Mario’s in terms of quality. We found the crust to be quite doughy, and people weren’t big fans of the cheese. The sauce had a nice sweet spice to it, but the diced peppers din’t even look appetizing – which is okay, because there were barely any present.
As Doomguts put it: “It’ll do the job but it’s no big deal”.
We knew that Salvatore’s would likely be the last to arrive. Sal’s pizza dances on the line between traditional and gourmet. Each topping has its own cooking time and the pizzas are crafted carefully in stages. We were told it would arrive within an hour and a half. Good things comes to those who wait, and it is widely believed that Salvatore’s makes the best pizza in the city.
Well, we waited… and waited… and finally we were greeted by a lukewarm pizza. Sigh. Here’s the thing: Salvatore’s doesn’t have heat lamps and they rely on a courier for deliveries. I know that they are very calculated when it comes to timing cooking/deliveries – but it’s still a bit of a gamble.
We were quite disappointed. The crust was more tough and chewy than usual. Amazingly, it still placed #1 for it is a terrific crust with no known rival.
The pepperoni is a full flavoured spicy pep from Sweet Williams. It is probably the best pepperoni we’ve seen on a pizza thus far. It was so good that Salvatore’s took the #1 spot for toppings – even though, as someone pointed out, the green pepper was boring and diced. (At least it wasn’t over-cooked). And you know, a green pepper pizza is not the best showcase of Salvatore’s mastery. But for this quest we hold all pizzas up to the same standard.
Another thing about Salvatore’s is that the cheese goes on before the sauce and toppings. At first glance, the presence of cheese is questionable – and many questers felt that there wasn’t nearly enough of it. This is where I disagree. Salvatore’s pizza is not a big cheesy pedestrian pizza – its components are carefully balanced.
I was in love with the sauce, whereas Tinfoil couldn’t detect it at all. One quester wondered if the bold pepperoni stole the show from the sauce. I wonder if the sauce is just kind of patchy, due to the process of drizzling it rather than spreading it over the dough. The basil and parmesan could also interfere with one’s ability to isolate individual components on the palate. But let’s just accept this as another instance of saucy subjectivity.
Despite how disappointed we were with this pizza, it still ranked #1 overall. That’s how good Salvatore’s is. It can be a flop and still outshine the others…
The Best Pizza in North End Halifax (NONO):
#2 Korca Pizza
Salvatore’s Pizza will be revisited when we do a gourmet pizza crawl. Hopefully its awesomeness will truly shine when it is in its natural element: the dining room.
I think that Korca would be my pick for delivery. It is a shorter wait, a better value, and an excellent pie.
Shadia’s placed #3 in terms of accumulated points, whereas Velo’s placed slightly higher in “Overall Impression”. Based on MGyver’s special calculations – Shadia’s is the better value of the two, tied with Korca for Best Overall Value.
I’m still not sure what to think about Rush Hour. Sean and Emily both have it as their #2 pick, and I generally trust their judgement.