Traditional Neopolitan pizza in particular is generally rather sparse with the toppings with a stretchier, thinner dough. It’s not greasy and it’s tossed into the high heat oven for only about 90 seconds. To be fair, we shouldn’t be so quick to equate authenticity with something that actually tastes good. At the same time, getting some “real” pizza can be a real treat, just as going to an authentic ramen joint is far more satisfying that breaking open some instant noodles.
To this end, we went in search of some great pizza at Cotto Enoteca Pizzeria in North Burnaby. They aim to provide the traditional authenticity we desire, but with some modern creativity for good measure. In addition to the chili pepper flake shaker, for instance, we were provided with bottles of garlic-infused and chili pepper-infused olive oil.
Fried Parmesan Artichokes ($10): Artichokes, parmesan, cracked chilis, chives, lemon juice
My first reaction when this arrived at our table was, “Whoa. This is really small.” The bowl is not much larger than a grapefruit in diameter, but what this dish lacked in quantity, it certainly made up in quality. This is positively scrumptious. Each piece is light, yet packed with flavor. The combination of lemon and chili is pretty standard, while the parmesan adds just enough salinity to make this work wonderfully.
Pizza Pomo Verde ($16): Moccia Urbani’s spicy fennel salami, Carozzi Taleggio formaggio, fior di latte, fresh fennel, green apple chive slaw
Our server told us that this pizza in particular was a recent award winner and we can see why. The dough is exactly as I like my Neopolitan pizza: crispy on the outside, airy on the instance, and with a satisfying chew to it. The freshness of the apple slaw serves as a great complement to the fennel salami. And yes, in true “Italian” form, I ate this with a knife and fork… after drizzling some of the aforementioned olive oil on top.
Cannelloni Spinaci ($15): Sugo di pomodoro, spinach, marscapone, ricotta
The canneloni, both in terms of the pasta and the filling, was just okay when compared to the pizza and the artichokes. That said, there’s something surprisingly special about the sauce. It looks like any other pomodoro sauce, but there’s a wonderful richness of flavor and a distinct savoriness to it that really lifts this pasta dish to another level. We found ourselves dunking the pizza crust in this sauce just to mop it up.
Lunch for two — including a housemade limoncello (not pictured, $6), taxes and gratuity — came to just under $60. This isn’t the most affordable lunch on the block, but the pricing at Cotto Enoteca Pizzeria is certainly comparable to other restaurants that serve authentic Neapolitan style pizza around Metro Vancouver.
Don’t forget to sign up for the Cotto loyalty program as well. Powered via a smartphone app, it allows you to collect points that can then be redeemed for draft beer, appetizers, pizza and so on. We did and this lunch was enough to earn us a free coffee.