Halifax Pizza Quest: North Central Halifax
Welcome to the 4th Edition of the Halifax Pizza Quest! If you are just tuning in now, you can see all my pizza-related posts by clicking this link. My team and I have been moving across every Halifax neighbourhood and examining the state of delivery pizza in each one. We hope to conquer the entirety of the Halifax Peninsula by the end of summer.
Each month we choose a Halifax neighbourhood and order pizzas from every local shop simultaneously in order to critique them side-by-side. We order medium pizzas with pepperoni and green pepper, and rate them on a 5 point scale in categories of sauce, crust, cheese, toppings, and overall impression.
This month’s quest tackled the neighbourhood I’m calling “North Central Halifax” in order to distinguish it from the vague and controversial notion of “North End”. This neighbourhood, which includes the main drags of Agricola and Gottingen, is what I always used to call the “North End” until a series of arguments demonstrated that increasingly, more and more Haligonians define the “North End” as beginning at North Street. I just learned a lot about why this confusion may exist by reading this Wikipedia article…
Suffice to say, the major boundary of this “North End” quest was North Street. The pizza contenders on this quest are:
Kit Kat Pizza
I had never had Kit Kat Pizza, as the exterior and location make it look pretty raunchy – especially if you are prone to judging a book by its cover. Recently I have been noticing a real cult following for this pizza shop, so I was both frightened and excited to try the pizza here.
My first bite had no crust, as the massive globby cheese dominated the centre of the pie. This is not a well-constructed pizza, thought I, as my toppings fell everywhere.
But then something happened. I slowly fell in love with it.
That big poofy crust had the texture and flavour of fresh, hand-stretched dough. It was delightfully toothy and doughy, with caramelized cheese baked into the edges. The fact that it seemed to disappear in the mid region of the pie was less of a disaster since the cheese was also somehow incredibly delicious. Structurally there was too much of it, but it had a nice thickness and chew that pleased us all. We also liked the taste of the pepperoni and the nice big strips of green pepper, despite the uneven distribution.
This was a well-put-together pizza with a nice spicy sauce and a dense sturdy crust. One quester exclaimed that it was a “sharp lookin’ pizza”. Compared to Kit Kat, everything held on together and made for an easier eating experience. Feelings were mixed about the pepperoni, and we thought there could have been more sauce (we usually do…)…
But this was a really solid pizza. We had one quester who really didn’t like it, but otherwise the pizza scored fairly well.
This pizza was also well-put-together with a sturdy crust and a generous distribution of a quality pepperoni. The centre of the pizza was densely populated by a scattering of green pepper, but the outer pizza suburbs were mostly vacant in this regard. There was not enough sauce, but some of my notes describe it as “tangy”, “tomatoey” or “zingy”.
Overall this pizza was well received, mainly in virtue of the nice pepperoni and the quality construction. A couple critics felt the pizza was kind of salty. MGyver really didn’t like this pizza, writing that it had a “greasy mouth-feel”. We agreed that this pizza reminded us of a superior version of Delissio. Not so great for $17.81. You would probably be better off ordering one of their gourmet pies that warrant the price tag.
(Update: rebranding to North St. Pizza)
We were shocked when we were quoted $6.99 for a medium pizza at Donnini’s. We’ve never seen such a low price. The catch is that deliveries require a $15 order, AND you get charged $3.00 delivery. So we ended up getting 2 pizzas and spending $20.70 on this order. It’s still a great deal, though.
We waited quite a long time for this pizza to show up. We finally got so hungry that we started eating the other pizzas, which we had been storing in a warm oven for temporally comparative purposes. It would seem there is a high demand for super cheap pizza in Halifax. But was it good?
The short answer? No.
The toppings were spread evenly, but there was a shortage of pepperoni and a weird taste that we could only identify as a mish-mash of low quality ingredients. It even had kind of a sludgy texture. This was easily the lowest scoring pizza.
Big Al’s Pizza
So Big Al’s was actually closed on the day of the pizza quest, which always takes place on Sundays. My pizza team had to regroup on Tuesday in order to evaluate the pizza from Big Al’s.
Tinfoil and MGyver showed up at my place with a big floppy pizza with a dense sweet crust, marked with dimples from the perforator (which I don’t like). We really liked the generous and lovingly placed pepperoni and green pepper strips. The sauce tasted canned and the cheese was not particularly flavourful, but all the elements worked together to make this a great “bowling alley ninja turtle pizza”.
Since the accuracy of our pizza quest was compromised by this anomaly (different session/larger size/pick-up order), we decided to take our impressions with a grain of salt. We agreed to blur together 3rd and 4th place into a tie.
Here are the results:
1st Place: Kit Kat Pizza
2nd Place: Island Greek
3rd Place (tie): Randy’s & Big Al’s
I have to say I am actually quite shocked by these results! I think I owe an apology to some certain local Redditors who insisted Kit Kat was worthy of praise. I mean, it really is a disaster in a box. You can see the aftermath below…
I had avoided Kit Kat for years because it just seemed so raunchy – and maybe it is. But they are doing something right and, whatever it is, it appealed unanimously to my pizza team.
I was totally expecting Island Greek to take this one down, as I have fond memories of their “Spinach Delight” pizza, their chicken pitas, and their authentic Greek gyro. If Kit Kat is too sloppy and sketchy for you (I don’t blame you, but you’re missing out), Island Greek is more gourmet – but it shows in the price.
If you want more of an “ordinary” pizza for a good price, I’d probably go with Randy’s. If you want a pizza experience for an even better price – Kit Kat all the way!