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Looking for Thin Crust Pizza: Trattoria Caffe Italia & Pub Italia – updated

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Index: Trattoria Caffe Italia | Pub Italia

On a recent summer lazy afternoon Don and I were sorting through foodiePrints’ enormous photo archives when we came across one, containing photos of thin crust pizzas. Just seeing those photos brought a smile to my face. I really enjoy eating thin crust pizzas because every bite is accompanied with a satisfying “crunch.” And luckily for me, Don “delights” (his word) in pizza too.

I wasn’t always a fan of pizza. In fact, after shying away from it for more than a decade, I’ve only started to enjoy eating it again. As a child, my parents bought pizzas from Loeb (now Metro). The pizzas were called “Awesome Dude” back in the 90s. Then, there were school pizza orders from Little Caesars and Pizza Pizza. Pizza Hut was rare as there were no Kanata location and I only ate Domino’s with my cousins in Vancouver. I vaguely remember trying the personal sized pizzas from McDonald’s, forgettable McPizzas…

I suppose after eating so much fast food pizza, I grew tired of it and didn’t really eat it again until I was in university. Even then, I ate pizza sparingly.

Earlier this spring, I wrote about my favourite thin crust pizza place at the Kanata Centrum mall, Tomaso (450 Kanata Avenue). However, as I’m not in the west end all that often, I needed to find something a little closer to home. And I found just the eateries last summer when Paola St-Georges of C’est Bon Cooking called, inviting me and Don to join her on a food tour in Little Italy.

Though Ottawa may not be a grand metropolitan city, we are blessed to have many culinary-endowed neighbourhoods. Take a relaxing stroll up and down Preston Street and around the side streets on a breezy Saturday summer afternoon. The restaurants and shops are simply buzzing with people and there is always a delicious smell in the air.

That day, the food tour dropped by numerous shops, cafes (including Pasticceria Geletaria Italiana), and restaurants, with samples to try at every stop, including pasta, cheeses, sausage, chocolate, and bakery. However, as this post is about thin crust pizza, two stops offered samples. The first was Trattoria Caffe Italia (254 Preston St.)

Trattoria Caffe Italia
This was my first time at Caffe Italia, which has been serving patrons since 1981. And, stepping into a dimly lit, but elegant restaurant with a laid back feel, we were greeted warmly owner Dominic Carrozza and platters of thin, crisp, and freshly baked pizza.

Inside Trattoria Caffe Italia

Inside Trattoria Caffe Italia

Crowding around the bar

Crowding around the bar

A delicious pizza, topped with cheese, fresh mushrooms, tomatoes, yellow peppers, and peperoni with grains of cornmeal underneath.

Thin crust pizza

Thin crust pizza

Close up

Close up

Incidentally, Dominic’s sister Maria owns and operates La Roma (430 Preston Street) down the street on Preston.

The second was Pub Italia.

Passageway from one Building at Pub Italia to Another

Passageway from one Building at Pub Italia to Another

Pub Italia
Pub Italia (434 1/2 Preston St) is an Italian-Irish bar best known for its extensive beer offer with beers from around the world. On every table, patrons can find a Beer Bible listing all their beers.

Almost 300 Beer Offered

Almost 300 Beer Offered

Beer Bible

Beer Bible


Before we could sit down and rest our feet, we were given a tour of the pub itself.

Joe Cotroneo, owner and operator of Pub Italia

Joe Cotroneo, owner and operator of Pub Italia

Dark with pseudo-religious wood finishings, paintings and stained glass windows, Don and I felt like we entered another world.

Ale Wenches

Ale Wenches

Friar serving Saintly Stella Artois

Friar serving Saintly Stella Artois

More Religious Imagery and Stained Glass

More Religious Imagery and Stained Glass

When you visit, look closely at the paintings. The likenesses are borrowed from everyone who has ever worked at Pub Italia. In fact, the “Lady of Shallot” bares a close resemblance to Joe’s wife.

Interestingly, all of the renovations and interior decorating is done in-house, mostly by Joe himself.

Intricate Dark Wood Finishings

Intricate Dark Wood Finishings

After the tour, we sat down to some refreshments in a room decorated with beer bottles!

Pizza break time!

Pizza break time!

Thin crust pizza

Thin crust pizza

Several tour participants opted for some local beer to go with the pizzas.

Among the local beers at Pub Italia is Lugtread from Beau’s.

Jugs of Beau's Beer

Jugs of Beau’s Beer

After sampling both pizzas, my favourite came from Trattoria Caffe Italia.

Throughout the summer, I’ll be out looking for more thin crust pizzas to try. If you have any suggestions, let me know!

Aside: At Caffe Italia, we were also served samples of delicious sausage, made from pork shoulder, fennel seed, salt, and black pepper.

Sausage

Sausage

Savoury and warm, but not spicy, they were made at Luciano’s (106 Preston Street) according to a Carrozza family recipe.

Particulars:
Trattoria Caffe Italia
254 Preston Street
(613)236-1081
Trattoria Caffe Italia on Urbanspoon

Pub Italia
434 1/2 Preston Street
(613)232-2326
Pub Italia on Urbanspoon

Teacher by day and blogger by night, I have always been passionate about food. I grew up watching my mother cook and bake as I sat at the kitchen table doing my homework. In the summers, I happily played in the backyard garden, picking strawberries as my parents tended their crops. A city girl with a love for the outdoors, my goal is to capture the ever-changing Ottawa food scene. When I’m not running, you can find me shopping for ingredients or in the kitchen cooking for my family and friends. Whether you’ve been cooking for a long time or are learning to cook for the first time, I hope you will find something delicious here to inspire you.

Comments

Candace

So hungry. So very very hungry every time I read this. Have you tried Paesani's yet? IMHO they have the best Italian in the city.

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@waynekspear (July 12, 10:14 PM)
I hunger. More food-related posts will be well received. RT @foodieprints Thin-crust pizza in Ottawa.

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@TheStacey (Jul 12, 09:41 PM)
RT @Cestboncooking: Great post by @foodieprints about thin-crust pizza in Ottawa. Happy you joined our Edible Ottawa tour of Preston St! http://bit.ly/p7kNpF

@tdrouleau (Jul 12, 10:32 PM)
@Cestboncooking @foodieprints i would suggest Tennessy Willems in Hintonburg. Comparable to @PizzaLibretto in Toronto in style.

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@krusk (Jul 12, 07:20 PM)
@mjmclean @foodieprints I second that--Tenesse Willems was the best pizza crust I've ever tasted.

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@MelodieCardin (Jul 12, 04:37 PM)
@Cestboncooking @foodieprints My fave pizza in #ottawa is #Arturo's on Beechwood. Great pasta too. Do you go there on New Edinburgh tour?

@Cestboncooking (Jul 12, 04:45 PM)
@MelodieCardin We did stop-by Arturo's on our Beechwood tour. Waiting impatiently for reconstruction to end so we can go back! @foodieprints

@foodiePrints (Jul 12, 05:00 PM)
@Cestboncooking Did Arturo's serve thin crust? Our editor Jenn is looking to do a series on thin crust pizza in #ott cc @MelodieCardin

@MelodieCardin (Jul 12, 05:02 PM)
@foodieprints yes, thin crust

Kaitlin

Hm. Best thin crust pizza in Ottawa, you say? I think you three should come over here for dinner sometime. I'm just sayin'...

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@mjmclean (Jul 12, 06:11 PM)
@foodiePrints hope Tennessee Willems makes the next pizza post. Best in town by far!!

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@Cestboncooking (Jul 12, 04:32 PM)
Great post by @foodieprints about thin-crust pizza in Ottawa. Happy you joined our Edible Ottawa tour of Preston St! http://bit.ly/p7kNpF

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@AMWATERS (Jul 12, 03:44 PM)
@suzemuse @foodieprints Trattoria Italia used to be where we always went for anniversary dinner. Had the combo platter. So big. So delicious

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@suzemuse (Jul 12, 03:36 PM)
From @foodieprints: Looking for Thin Crust Pizza: Trattoria Caffe Italia & Pub Italia http://bit.ly/qFFaCL

@suzemuse (Jul 12, 03:40 PM)
@foodiePrints trattoria italia is my favorite Ottawa restaurant! But i have never had the pizza, oddly.

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@shophaven (Jul 12, 02:21 PM)
Yummy RT “@thefoodca: Looking for Thin Crust Pizza: Trattoria Caffe Italia & Pub Italia (foodiePrints) http://t.co/V0GhLbS

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@thefoodca (Jul 12, 12:15 PM)
Looking for Thin Crust Pizza: Trattoria Caffe Italia & Pub Italia (foodiePrints) http://fewd.ca/a28584

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