[This is the first in our 514crawls series, where we crawl for a specific dish and/or neighborhood. Keep up with us using #514crawls on Twitter and Instagram...]
Following our crawl for Poutine Week, we decided to start a crawl tradition with our good friends @RyanBuena and @j_promero. For our first instalment, we went on a downtown Pizza crawl starting at Il Focolaio, then heading west towards Arlequino and Rosalie.
To be fair when comparing the three places we hit, we decided to have a "baseline" Margherita pizza at each stop, as well as a second pizza of our choice that stood out. We were also having drinks, so please forgive us if the pictures get blurry as we proceed in our crawl…
"sauce, mozzarella, fresh basil". The crust was thin but retained a certain level of chewiness while the sauce was very scarce so we couldn't really taste it. The basil flavour was absent and we encountered a few salty pockets here and there.
"meat sauce with parmesan, beef meatballs, mozzarella, red pepper, Swiss cheese". Same crust as before with good sauce coverage this time. The sweetness of the red pepper comes through but we wished there were more meatballs.
"tomato sauce and cheese". The crust was very thin with crispy edges and the sauce had a fresh and sweet tomato-y flavour. We really appreciated the fresh basil added. Arlequino got this pizza right on all accounts making it the highlight of the night.
"egg, black truffles and parmesan reggiano shaves". Fried egg whites replaced the sauce on the same thin crust. The truffles and parmesan work very well together, but it just gets too rich. Not your everyday pizza and you certainly feel something is missing.
"tomato sauce, fior di latte, basil, olive oil". We loved the crust at Rosalie: thin and a little chewy but not so much to make it bready. The toppings were not distributed evenly but once you get a taste of everything together the flavours were great.
"bocconcini cheese, cherry tomatoes, oregano and basil". The freshness from the toppings was pleasing but again, no good coverage at all. Since it is a sauce-less pizza, it could have used a lot more tomatoes.
There were no real standouts from our first crawl. Il Focolaio is just an average casual place, while the loud music, dim lighting and slow service at Rosalie reminded us that we need to get there before the focus shifts on to drinks. We did enjoy Arlequino's sleek décor, and it did score the best pizza of the night, so we are certainly looking forward to coming back.
Montreal restaurant and bar reviews brought to you by two regular guys who like to eat and drink. We will go anywhere and we will say it like it is.