Montreal gets pizza wrong.
Sorry to say, everyone, but while Montreal is supreme for many types of cuisine, pizza is the achilles heel of the city’s food scene.
Allow me to explain.
In Montreal, there are two types of pizza you can eat. One is the by-the-slice or deliverable variety you can get at any random pizza parlour (or a chain pizza-place) and the other is the fancy variety of pizza, the kind you order at a somewhat ritzy Italian eatery you enjoy with a knife and fork.
Neither really fulfill what I like to call the three core qualities of great pizza, aka the Pizza Pyramid. The characteristics of a perfect pizza are simple, it must be delicious, light (not bogging you down with heavy ingredients), and affordable.
Combined, these three traits make what a slice of pizza should be, namely a tasty snack (or meal, depending on how many slice you’re eating) that doesn’t cost you too much money.
You should already be able to tell what’s wrong with Montreal’s two main types of pizza with the Pizza Pyramid in mind. A standard slice of pizza in this city is basically a thick, bread-y mess of cheese and toppings. Cheap, yes, and delicious (more so if you’re drunk) but it will make you feel like you ingested a ball of greasy cement.
The fancier stuff, on the other hand, can be delectable and digestible, but a small pizza that can barely fill up one person should never cost upwards of $15.
So yeah, I think Montreal is a bad city for pizza, save for one small pizzeria in Saint Henri that truly makes the best ‘za in the city. Adamo is this magical Montreal pizza place, and if you’ve never had a slice of their pies, then you truly don’t know what you’re missing.
Breaking away from Montreal’s pizza tradition of bread-like dough and far too much cheese, Adamo is a New York City-style pizzeria that makes pizzas on par with anything from the Big Apple.
Now, before you start whining “oh please, NYC pizza can’t be that good,” let me shut you up by saying, yes, it is.
I, too, was once a non-believer of the awesomeness that is New York pizza, until I actually went to NYC and had a few slices. Seriously, New York knows how to do pizza, and even a slice from the grungiest pizzeria in NYC is better than most pizzas in Montreal.
But Adamo is no grungy pizzeria. If anything, Adamo is a shining example of NYC-style pizza and the saving grace to a city seriously deprived of cheap, light, and altogether delicious ‘za.
Inconspicuously nestled along Notre Dame in Saint Henri, Adamo doesn’t look like much from the outside, but that’s part of the pizzeria’s charm.
Walking in, you immediately see stacks of pizza flour at the centre of the small space and family photos of the owner’s nonna (Italian for grandmother), creating a charmingly homy and rustic atmosphere. There are even parmesan and chill-flake shakers on the wooden counters that line the pizzeria, letting you know that Adamo means business.
But what will truly catch your eye is the pizza counter, with several beautiful pies providing a feast for your eyes. At first glance, you can immediately tell Adamo doesn’t make your typical Montreal pizza.
Each and every pie is beautifully thin and made in several varieties, namely mozzarella, pepperoni, and basil, with other specials (like pesto or ricotta/ham) sometimes on sale. None of that “deluxe” or “Quebecois” toppings here, just simple and traditional styles.
Priced at $3.26 (plus tax) per slice, Adamo’s pizza may seem kind of pricy, until you actually get a piece. When me and my man ordered our slices, I was taken aback at how large every single piece was. Actually, I was kind of afraid the slice would be too large and filling, thus going against the Pizza Pyramid.
All anxieties I had regarding the quality of Adamo’s pizza went out the window as soon as I took a bite, though, because this pizza is perfection.
Amazingly thin and crisp, an Adamo slice achieves the ideal lightness for pizza. Each and every bite offers a bit of crunch, complimented by the sauce and toppings, and by the end you’re refreshingly filled instead of being bogged down by loads of bread.
Lets take a second to talk about the sauce and ingredients themselves, though.
I enjoyed the basil slice, a basic blend of tomato sauce, cheese, and some bits of fresh basil. Unlike other Italian eateries who make a sauce that’s too salty or too sweet, Adamo’s achieves the perfect balance. Just the right amount of cheese is placed atop, too, adding that tinge of indulgence you love about pizza, while the basil adds a fresh flavour to round out the pizza’s flavour profile.
My other slice (well, actually my boyfriend's, but I ate enough of it to call it mine), the ricotta/ham, had no sauce, with Adamo being bold enough to make a white pizza for Montrealers, one that bears no tomato sauce.
If you’ve never had a white pizza, Adamo’s ricotta/ham is a prime example of how delicious it can be. Cheese covers this pizza slice, with little mounds of ricotta offering you an explosion in flavour. Add in the crispy pieces of ham gently placed on the pizza (screw pepperoni when you have this) and you have the ideal balance between salty and creamy.
Beautifully enough, the white pizza didn’t ever become too heavy. Thanks to the light crust, the seemingly heavy cheese and meat didn’t overpower the slice itself. The proportions were perfect, and you could always hold the slice by hand without fear of anything falling. Plus, the fact that both high-quality ricotta and ham were on the pizza makes the near $4 price seem like a steal.
By the end of our midday meal of pizza, both me and my boyfriend were awestruck. Never did I think it possible to find pizza in Montreal that was beyond tasty, fairly affordable, and didn’t leave me in a food coma. Adamo, unlike any other pizza place I have been to, upholds the points of the Pizza Pyramid to perfection.
Right now, some of you might be thinking “No way, [enter random pizzeria you hold dear to your heart] has the best pizza in Montreal!” and, according to your taste buds, that may be right.
But all I’m saying is, to me, Adamo makes Montreal’s best pizza, and if you take the time to try it out, you’ll probably end up feeling the same.