Neighbourhood: St. Vital
Address: 730 St. Anne’s Rd
Pizza enthusiasts are such that they will travel to the ends of the earth in search of the perfect pie. This is good news for Diana’s Gourmet Pizzeria, which is unassumingly nestled in a strip mall deep in the suburbs.
And, judging by the winding throng of people extending out the door, travel they have. So, in a market saturated with everything from a greasy slice on the corner to wood and coal-fired gourmet options, what ground is there possibly left to cover?
At Diana’s, they would have you believe that it is precisely that capacity for interpretation, and choice, that makes the world respond to that deceptively simple vehicle of dough, and cheese, in unparalleled ways. Once seated, servers in flour-streaked aprons present you with an enormous menu. The options are seemingly endless, but then again, this is no ordinary build- your-own pizza. The crux of this eatery lies in its deep commitment to pleasing every kind of pie enthusiast.
Beginning with the dough, you are given a choice between deep dish, original, whole wheat, gluten free and Diana’s award-winning Moosehead crust. Next, you select thick, medium, thin or crispy thin. As the choices mount, you are presented with an array of sauces, each more tantalizing than the last including, but not limited to: marinara, olive oil and herb, basil pesto, and fire-roasted jalapeno.
Then, as the selection process builds to dizzying heights, comes the cheese. There are eight varieties, including Daiya for often-ignored vegan pizza aficionado’s. Complete your masterpiece by loading on a host of gourmet toppings, ranging from familiar standbys to unexpected pairings, like marinated artichoke hearts or chick peas.
However, if breaking a sweat before dinner doesn’t suit your fancy, select from a bevy of popular pies or have the staff steer you towards the ribbon-winners. Or, opt for a lighter option with their Spanakopita-inspired flatbread, which is laden with crumbled feta, chopped spinach, and drizzled with garlic butter.
In a culture increasingly convinced that chef knows best, it’s both refreshing and inspiring to behold a pizzeria that believes in flavours that speak for themselves, regardless of the combination. The people have spoken: this is a pie worth making the pilgrimage for.
Diana’s Gourmet Pizzeria is open Sun-Thu, 11 am-10 pm; Fri & Sat, 11 am-11 pm.