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Voyages: La Piazza Resto Café

Voyages: La Piazza Resto Café

I have been living in Halifax for the better part of three years now and having recently moved to the North end, I’ve been keen to explore the new flavours of the neighbourhood. La Piazza, located at 6430 Chebucto Road (at the corner of Kline) was near the top of my list because, well… pizza, and *spoiler alert* – it did not disappoint! Even if you don’t happen to live in walking distance, La Piazza is definitely worth checking out.

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One of the first things you notice is the cozy and open atmosphere of the restaurant. Directly to my right as I walk through the door in is an open archway through which I can see into the wood-fired oven and kitchen. There are two floors for dining, the upstairs space made to accommodate private events by reservation. Upon entering, I am cordially greeted by owner Albert Zhouri and Chef Steve Saunders as the duo works away preparing some delicious dishes for the lunch crowd.

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Shortly after being seated, some ice water and a bottle of El Pascaito – a bold and earthy Spanish red – is brought to the table, which ends up being a lovely pairing with each dish. Albert then comes out of the kitchen to give me a quick run-down of what to expect: Neapolitan-style thin-crust pizzas made with locally sourced, never frozen ingredients, fresh salads, linguine, and salmon.

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Using local maple wood to cook the pizza masterpieces (or should I say masterpizzas) brings a subtle Canadian touch to the authentic Italian eating experience. First, Albert prepares for me La Piazza’s top-selling pizza, the Quatro Siagioni or four meat pizza. Each pizza, which can be ordered as a stand-alone dish or paired with any house salad as a lunch special, is made with house-made dough and tomato sauce. The Quatro Siagioni is topped generously with sausage, pancetta, soppressata, pepperoni, mozzarella and fresh basil. From the smoky and slightly spicy flavours of the meat to the herbaceous kick of the basil, the ingredients taste fresh and the flavours all combine beautifully. Though the toppings are loaded generously atop the thin crust and tomato sauce, the Quatro is a properly balanced dish and offers just the right amount of ‘za to be paired with an appetizer, side dish or dessert.

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Next up are two dishes prepared for me by Chef Steve, both of which I am fortunate enough to sample before they are released on the menu (but don’t worry, both are equally amazing and soon you’ll be able to see for yourselves, too!) The first of the sneak-peek plates is a chicken and shrimp linguine with a light rosé sauce and roasted red peppers that comes topped with Parmesan and fresh basil. The pasta and toppings are light yet flavourful, and pair nicely with the house garden salad for a properly proportioned meal.

The final dish is a salmon fillet encrusted in sweet pistachios, whole grain mustard, and honey, served with rice and roasted red and green peppers, broccoli, and zucchini. The pistachios add a roasted nutty hint to the salmon, making for an interesting sweet and savoury combination. The consistency and attention to detail showcased in each dish truly emphasizes the collaborative effort that defines Albert and Steve’s kitchen – a focus on using local ingredients to create quality meals at fair prices.

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The duo has designed a new menu to be released within the coming weeks that will keep fan favourites but will feature new summer-inspired dishes including the chicken and shrimp linguine, pistachio salmon, and a Mediterranean halibut. Albert and Steve’s passion for what they do is clearly reflected in the dishes they create. But don’t take my word for it – get after La Piazza if you’re craving quality authentic Italian cuisine and an array of delicious gourmet pizzas to choose from.

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