Since time immemorial, we’ve bemoaned the lack of quality pizza in Montreal. From the 99 cent dough bombs from our student years to the supposed upper crust (haha) offerings from the supposed cool new hotspots, the pizza here has never quite captured our imaginations compared to what we’ve tried elsewhere. (We’ll admit we haven’t been everywhere, but we’ve been to a bunch.)
After being shockingly impressed with the pizza in Stockholm, we returned to Montreal more convinced than ever that someone can create a decent pie around here. I mean, if the Swedes can do it…
Thankfully, our pizza saviour has arrived, and her name is Elena.
Conveniently tucked away in the Sud Ouest a block away from James Lyng high school near the Turcot, Elena’s wood-fired oven is cooking up something special. We could talk about their ziti and tagliatelle for hours, but first thing’s first: the pizza is pretty much perfect. Perfect crust size, perfect topping ratio, perfect flavours. It’s not too thin or crispy or too greasy, and it’s not a load of bread, either. Just a perfectly balanced pie. Did I say “perfect”?
We’ve been a couple of times, including their supposedly defunct weekend brunch with breakfast-themed pizza, and the one we still dream about is their zucchini flower and sardine pizza. This is where Elena hits another level: fresh, in-season ingredients. Earlier this spring, we tried their fiddlehead, pesto and yogurt appetizer and we’re not ashamed to admit we’ve since tried to replicate it at home. Pizza is the exact kind of food that’ll give you the itis, but we’ve never burst at the seams after a dinner here. The dishes are so fresh and well-portioned that it makes for a guilt-free pizza and pasta meal (hallelujiah!). Elena makes well-balanced dishes that win you over with taste and not sheer size.
Last time we went, we got a chance to check out their new back terrasse, Coffee Pizza Wine. It’s an experience to be there, from the staff guiding us to this semi-secret back alley oasis to the miniature version of their bar stocked with natural wine and gose beer. A charming getaway in the heart of west St-Henri.
Sometimes going to Little Italy for pizza and pasta is a bit of a schlep. It’s great to know our new favourite pizza is just a stones throw away in St-Henri.