Today for lunch I headed over to Colonnade Pizza (280 Metcalfe Street, Ottawa) which I had heard about off and on in the local restaurant buzz as one of the best pizza places.
This restaurant location is kind of hidden on Metcalfe Street at the base of what appears to be an apartment building. Coupled with that, the building itself is within a downtown residential area filled apartment buildings and, being the nation's capital, the odd embassy. The only signs of commercial activity are a block to the east where the Elgin Street restaurant scene is located. Otherwise this is the most centrally located out of the way pizza place in Ottawa.
I entered off the Metcalfe Street side a little confused. I checked the Gilmour side to see the empty streetside patio empty with no tables on a glorious sunshiny 27 degree Celsius spring day. Odd! Even worse, I looked at the Metcalfe Street side with a single glass door and the rest of the front windows covered in coloured vinyl. It looked like the place was closed. I tried the door and surprisingly it opened and I walked into a regular restaurant front entrance. I grabbed a menu from the front and perused it. Lots to choose from with four different sizes (Personal, Small, Medium and Large) to choose from. At the front, different sizes of pizza boxes on the wall help to guide you on what sizes your pizza may be. The vinyl clad windows hide the conveniently located kitchen where the pizzas are made. The kitchen in the front enables both waitresses to serve the eat in patrons as well as the customers wishing take out.
I placed my order with the front counter which also acts as the host station for those that visit to eat in.
The Order: 1 Meat lovers Personal Pan pizza to go.
I waited patiently for a reasonable 15 minutes for the pizza to be prepared, baked, cut and boxed. The two kitchen staff looked like older gentlemen who had been making pizza for years. Together they worked quickly and quietly to move several pizzas through production.
The ambiance of the restaurant is basic nothing overly impressive visually or the sound wise. Just a good neighbourhood pizza restaurant with basic tables, chairs and carpeting.
My pizza was eventually ready and I headed over to the nearby lawns abutting the Rideau Canal. A good summer spot to watch the cyclists go by on the nearby recreation paths and maybe even a boat on the historic Rideau Canal.
The pizza was interesting rendition. The pizza crust reminded me of the Pizza Hut crust, firm and crunchy but not burnt. The sauce was super hot and complimented the meat quite well. The meat though was a little different. The meat combination of Italian Sausage, pepperoni and bacon tasted like a smoked meat sandwich but in pizza form. The cheese though was a disappointment. Instead of traditionally having the cheese underneath the toppings, the cheese is on top. The cheese was melted on almost solid to envelop the top of what my tongue confusingly thought was a smoked meat sandwich pizza style. The cheese, instead of being a foundation for a good pizza, was now performing more of a functionary roll. Add to this the quite noticeable generous grease stains on the bottom of the box were a little alarming. How much grease was I inhaling as opposed to the local Dominos? I did not wish to know.
Overall, Colonnade Pizza is loved by many. Service was courteous and reasonable. The pizza though needs a little refinement by adjusting the cheese to be more complimentary rather than functional to hold toppings on. The restaurant itself appeared normal and have a loyal following. Thus, I would say this restaurant may need another visit for another pizza dish to see if it was a one off issue with just my pizza. For now though, the pizza was merely mediocre and not that special. That is unless you like a smoked meat pizza theme, then it is a great place to grab a slice.