Halifax Pizza Quest: West End Halifax
For those just tuning in, this is the third installment of the Halifax Pizza Quest! Make sure to check out the rigorous accounts of South End Halifax and the Battle of Quinpool Road. Our methodology involves ordering a medium pizza with pepperoni and green pepper at each pizza joint and consuming them as simultaneously and thoughtfully as possible (something we’re still logistically working out).
We score the pizzas on a 5 point rating scale in categories of sauce, crust, cheese and toppings. There is also an independent score for Overall Impression.
Eventually we will make our way across the entirety of the HRM (now known affectionately as just Halifax).
As for the West End, we included two pizzerias from the Bay Road, two from Mumford Road as well as Dimitris on Chebucto. They all quoted us around 30-40 minutes and they all arrived at roughly the same time.
First up – Armdale Pizza:
This was my first bite of pizza so maybe it was hunger bias, but I thought the sauce had a great flavour and I was in love with the thin floppy crust. The others were not as impressed. Aesthetically, the pizza was nice to look at but there were complaints that the toppings were too sparse. The large pepperoni slices only got you 2-3 bites of pepperoni goodness per piece, and that’s IF you hung on to your pepperoni for dear life so as not to dislodge the whole thing with one bite.
The cheese is underneath the toppings, but also sparse enough that the pizza had a reddish hue from the sauce. I thought it was just fine, but one critic gave it a score of zero whereas another critic thought the cheese was the saving grace. Subjectivity at its best!
This pizza rated poorly overall, but quite remarkably placed 1st for the crust category! It was a nice hand-tossed crust, with a little flop and a little chew.
This pizza was my overall favourite, but I was in the minority.
Next up – Mumford Pizza
There was a general enthusiasm concerning Mumford Pizza. Everyone seemed to really like this one. The sauce had a garlicky kick and the toppings were evenly distributed. Even the pepperoni snobs were impressed with the spicy pepperoni, which they could taste even beneath the depths of cheese. In other news, I think my palate sucks because I didn’t notice any pepperoni superiority – but that was the consensus.
The crust was kind of bland but got points for being hand-tossed, which landed it in second place. In every other category it was a clear winner. One critic simply wrote: “Beauty”.
This pizza was also warmly received. The overall flavour was very nice, with golden baked cheese and a slight spice to the sauce.
The crust was pockmarked by the roller docker, which I tend to associate with a deflated cardboard crust. In my opinion the crust was the only thing really holding this pizza back.
In general this pizza rated well. One rating sheet described it as “adequate”.
I wanted to like Euro – I really did. But shortly after this pizza arrived I began hearing murmurs of discontent. One rating sheet reads: “A lot of sauce, but bland. A lot of cheese, but bland”. I disagree about the sauce. It had a distinctive sweetness that split opinions ambivalently while drowning out the other, blander flavours.
The real killer here, though, was the crust. It was a soft, pan-crust with no real appeal. Descriptions included: “tastes like McCains” and “terrible texture”.
With that said, Euro Pizza unexpectedly took second place for the sauce category! The sauce was definitely the best component of this pizza. I hate to see so much sauce potential ruined by a lackluster crust, but c’est la vie…
Papa Mario’s used to be one of my go-to pizzerias years ago when there was a location on Barrington Street. Just as I remember it, what we sampled was decent factory pizza.
The pan crust is nice and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. I sometimes dislike the oily flavour of pan crust pizzas, but I found this one quite agreeable. Otherwise, the consensus was that the pizza was very average and not particularly flavourful.
However, it had one fan who described it as “Sexy and Brainy” while ranking it #1.
While Armdale had the best crust, and Euro ranked second for sauce, these two pizzas underperformed overall. Mumford Pizza won by a landslide, and Dimitris was the clear runner up. Third place scores were largely tied, but Papa Mario’s emerged on the pedestal due to its very safe and inoffensive pizza, excelling mainly in the crust department.
It is also worth noting that Mumford pizza was considerably cheaper than the other pizzas – unusual for a first place finish!
I have no objections to the yield of the democratic process, except I quite enjoyed Armdale Pizza and wish to reserve my final opinion until further examination.
1. Mumford Pizza
3. Papa Mario’s