A review of Pizza Garden
By KP Davis, Contributor
The Lower Mainland is well-known for its proliferation of pizza shops. Everyone always seems to be on the run from one place to another, and we often don’t have time to sit down for a full meal. As such, the range of restaurant quality is vastly different. From the greasy slabs of dough being served at Seymour and Pender, to the crisp, thin slices from Uncle Fatih’s (Broadway and Commercial), to the overpriced gourmet pizzas of Flying Wedge—there are as many places as there are tastes and budgets.
For this endeavour I decided to visit Pizza Garden in New Westminster. The storefront was actually very spacious, with lots of room to manoeuvre. Well-lit, with pastoral yellows and rustic reds on the walls, it hinted at a cross between a Vancouver coffee shop and an Italian villa. I knew I was in the right place when I saw the centrepiece of the restaurant: a large stone pizza oven right behind the counter.
The pizzas were laid out flat on a single level, taking full advantage of the space given. It was difficult to just select eight slices to fill their extra-large pizza box. Visually each slice was as thin as its crust, with toppings laid out on a single plain and not piled high.
Pizza Garden makes the claim that it serves Neapolitan-style pizza, and at first bite I cannot disagree. The crust was thin, but soft and heavily floured. In general the pizzas were delightfully dry, and not overly oiled or heavy like most other places. The only disadvantage of this wonderfully light crust is that it doesn’t hold the heat very well and begins to stiffen up after it cools.
The pepperoni was good, with a nice bit of zing but not overwhelming on the spiciness. Most pepperoni that I try tends to be swimming in sauce but this slice was confident enough to let the meat shine. The Hawaiian slice let me down a little. It was good, and it’s hard to get anything out of simple ham and pineapple, but I felt that compared to the other offerings it just wasn’t as flavourful. Even something as simple as a little hint of parsley would have finished the piece off well.
Next was a slice with chicken, red onions and a wonderful barbecue sauce base; the stars were the chicken and onions with the sauce being delicious but subtle enough to let the toppings shine through again. A capicola ham was next and I was thrilled to discover not just ham but a subtle undertone of mushrooms and garlic that rounded the slice out perfectly.
The slice of bacon and mushrooms was piled high with delicious mushrooms and some of the most umami and tender bacon I’ve had from a slice. The ground beef was hands down the winner in my book—a delicious undertone of savoury cheese and beef that wasn’t chunky, but not over done like most places.
The vegetarian slice was wonderful and just sang of succulent garlic and ripe tomatoes. The fungi balanced out perfectly with a garlic sauce and a beautiful hit of red onion.
The old adage says that pizza is like sex—even when it’s bad, it’s good. If that’s the case, Pizza Garden is like a competent and caring lover, dry of wit, with good taste and some delicious surprises if you like to explore a little variety.
Pizza Garden can be found at 255-800 Carnarvon Street, New Westminster.