ZaZaZa  (143 Putman Ave, Ottawa - ZaZaZaPizza.com)

Jay

There are three basic things you need to know about ZaZaZa, independent from the rich history that led to its debut.  First and foremost, the menu offers a great number of unique pizzas boasting interesting toppings such as broccoli, tandoori chicken, and Kraft Dinner.  Second, the price isn't outrageous - I've seen more expensive shawarmas.  Finally , the restaurant itself is very small, and barely has more indoor tables than its name has letters. 

Thanks to the website, there were two things I was really expecting from the new pizzeria in Beechwood: Pizza and Pizazz.  Believe me, there certainly were pizzas (25 to be exact), and I ended up deciding on the Lover's Leap - mozzarella, pepperoni, hot Italian sausage, tomatoes, and black olives.  Not exactly the most outrageous choice (see Exhibit A: Scary Roommate), but I was really excited to see how they would make something original using traditional toppings.  In short, they didn't.  The crust was crispy and the toppings plentiful, but it looked more boring than a frisbee  (especially compared to the pizza ordered by Sue).  Yes, I became a victim of pizza envy.  I understand that there's a chance I ordered the only pizazz-less pizza offered by ZaZaZa, but I really expected something more original.  In fact, the only thing my pizza had in common with the exciting atmosphere, spinning lights, and contemporary art was the swirly blue plate it was served on.

The service was great, and I personally appreciated the Stewart's Black Cherry soda & glass bottle Coke - two awesome throwback products that I don't come across often.  One thing I would love to see on my next visit would be a 'pizazz scale' incorporated into the menu, so that I don't accidently order another Plain-Jane.  Even so, I would sincerely encourage just about anyone to give this place a try - even if you don't find their pizza groundbreaking, you'll have a good time at a good price.  ZaZaZa - pizzas with (and without) pizazz.

Sue

We heard a rumour that the creator of The Works had opened up a new place, where the original Works had been.  I love The Works.  I love their burgers, their onion rings, the drinks in measuring cups, the décor, everything.  So when we found ourselves back in town one Monday evening from a weekend abroad, we decided to stop by ZaZaZa on our way home for a bite to eat.  There was no parking lot, as the restaurant was squatting on a tight corner lot with no extra space.  So we parked across the street and made our way in.  I wasn't surprised by the 20-minute wait or the lack of space inside the tiny restaurant, but what did catch me off guard was the polished interior.  It was by no means a fancy restaurant, but I wasn't expecting the level of attention to detail or the use of such quality items for decoration.  The one wall was composed of red painted chunks of wood, sticking out at varying degrees.  The wall beside it had a projection of mixed colours of light on it, which distracted me more than once during my meal.  The tables were a nice dark wood and there were red plush curtains hanging from the opening that separated the kitchen from the dining room.  All of these items combined to create a welcome distraction from my empty stomach and the amazing smell of pizza coming from the tables closely set around us.

Jay convinced me to order some Sweet Potato Cross-Cuts with a chipotle dipping sauce, and they were pretty good.  The best part was that they didn't come in a huge pile on a massive platter.  There were just enough for the two of us to snack on before our pizza showed up, and I was still hungry for the main course.  The pizza I ordered was called the California Caprese, and it came drizzled with pesto oil, tomatoes, bocconcini, basil and when it was finished cooking, some cold slices of avocado.  I was a little skeptical of the mixture  of flavours, but when I took a bite I was convinced.  What a lovely tasting pizza!  I'm usually not a fan of dry pizzas with no tomato sauce, but this one was very yummy, and refreshing for a pizza.  When topped off with a Stewart's Cherry Soda, it was a pretty great evening.

I really enjoyed my experience in this tiny, well-decorated restaurant.  The service was great, the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly; we even struck up a conversation with the couple seated next to us!  There's something wholesome and inviting about this place, and I would recommend it to anyone.

 

(Click to expand pictures)

 

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