You most likely have noticed that Vancouver is in the throes of a pizza revolution. We are no longer limited to choices of buck a slice or cheesy delivery. Neapolitan pizza has exploded in Vancouver. Joining the ranks of The Bibo, Pizzeria Farina, Verace Pizzeria, Campagnolo and Nicli Antica Pizzeria is Pizzeria Barbarella (http://www.pizzeriabarbarella.com/) on Broadway and Fraser.
Neapolitan pizza focuses on crust, sauce and quality toppings rather than how much cheese you can pack onto it. Without getting into the argument about which method is better, it is cooked for 60-90 seconds in an extremely hot gas or wood fire oven. The crust is always hand-tossed and when it is cooked it will have a crispy, almost charred bottom. There is even a governing body (La Vera Pizza Napolitana) that oversees the making of it according to set rules. The crust is very thin, so it is generally eaten with a knife and fork or cut into pieces and folded over so the toppings don’t fall off.
Broadway and Fraser can best be categorized as an “up and coming” neighbourhood. Pizzeria Barbarella has opened in the old Fortune Happiness location that has been closed since 2007 due to a (possibly) gang related shooting. Those of you from the ‘burbs might recognize the pizza as the owner is Terry Deane of Abbotsford’s Ah-Beetz pizzeria.
We were having an impromptu celebration of my new food column when we decided to take the party out for pizza. Barbarella has a sparsely furnished interior with dark walls and rough wood tables. There are longer tables for groups on one side, smaller tables on the other side and bar seating in the middle for about ten or so singles. They also offer takeout so there are benches to wait on near the door. It was easy to get a table at 6:30 but filled up quickly after that since it was a Friday night.
As there were five of us, we were able to sample quite a few of the pizzas ranging in price from $9 to $17. First up was the classic margherita. "margherita- tomato, fior di latte, aged mozzarella, basil, parmigiano reggiano and extra virgin olive oil 12"
There was a generous amount of tomato sauce which was nice and tangy. The fresh mozzarella and basil is a topping combo that is hard to get wrong and always delicious.
The diavola was my favorite of the night with salty meats and olives. "diavola- tomato, fior di latte, aged mozzarella, spicy salami, kalamata olives, parmigiano reggiano and extra virgin olive oil 15"
The meat was sliced very thin so it was easy to eat. I love olives and could have had the entire top packed with them, it was so delicious.
Next up, the salsiccia. "salsiccia-tomato, fior di latte, aged mozzarella, fennel sausage, house pickled peppers, basil, parmigiano reggiano and extra virgin olive oil 15"
The fennel sausage was more hot and spicy than we had expected, and that is not a bad quality. This one was not my pizza, but it will be my choice for the next visit.
The left field pizza choice of the night was called bianco rosa. "bianco rosa-red onions, rosemary, pistachios, parmigiano reggiano and extra virgin olive oil 14"
It was really tasty, but in the end we decided it was more suited to fancy focaccia bread than a pizza as the lack of sauce made it really dry.
Pizzeria Barbarella has really great pizza. We did have some issues with abrupt service and the waiter refused to break a $20.00 bill. We tweeted these issues to them https://twitter.com/#!/PizzaBarbarella and Terry responded back to our concerns very quickly, which was nice and reassuring. They had been in operation less than two months at the time of our visit and I am sure the service will be smoothed out. I am excited about my next visit! Long live the pizza revolution!