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A year into our historic round-up, and a new champ emerges.
It was January 2022 and we were rounding up one of the bright lights of the dark times—the seemingly sudden influx of local, high quality frozen pizza that was now available from a cabal of purveyors in town. No longer did we have to suffer through the iffy taste and dubious nutrition of Delissio—now a night at home could be accompanied by the same fare you could expect at one of our city’s great pizza spots.
Well, a year-plus on, and the landscape has changed. For starters, in the thank-God-for-small-miracles column, Delissio recently announced that it will no longer be available in Canada. (And it immediately becomes one of my top five things that distinguish Canadians from Americans, who can continue to flagellate themselves with cardboard that’s bad for you).
The other great news is that there is a new entrant into the genre… and, in our opinion, they’re the best yet.
Price: $18 for Margherita ($17 if you use the hack below); $20 for Pancetta, Pepperoni and Mushroom.
Availability: Nook Pasta Bar on Yew St, or Radish on W 1st.
Simply put this is the best frozen pizza I’ve ever had, by a mile. When cooked properly (450-500F right on the oven grates for no more than six minutes), it’s within 90-percent of having an honest-to-God dine out experience at home.
The Margherita is my fave—a wonderful balance between tart, fresh tasting tomatoes and high quality mozzarella—but the Pepperoni is no slouch either, with every square inch covered in the classic cups of pepperoni that pack a bit of nice heat wallop. All of the pizzas have a superlative crust with a great chewiness. A note that these crusts burn quickly, so if anything, I’d cook less than the prescribed time.
Also while they do come in at the high end of the price point be aware that the above prices include tax, so they’re actually pretty comparable.
I’ve been buying the Nook’s for a month now, making the pilgrimage down to Radish to snag them from the freezer. Only in researching this story did I realize I could be saving $1 on the Margherita by using the online system. This is clearly a glitch and while most decent humans wouldn’t highlight this at the expense of a restaurant they admire I am, because that’s how much I care about you, Vanmag reader!
This still a great pie and there’s no shame in second place to the genius coming out of Nook. They’ve crept up in price—they check in a $16 at the Bel Café on 3rd—but their availability is still the best of the bunch, with the ability to buy at Fresh St. Markets, Stongs, The Gourmet Warehouse, Urban Fare and several IGAs.
This Toronto import never really caught on here they way I assume they hoped. Their prices have stayed the same, so they’re a good choice for the budget conscious—but to be clear, these are a notch below Nook and Nightingale.
Another great pie that’s become more of a regional North Shore thing. The price has crept up a dollar per pie this year—not bad considering the inflation rate— but this is still a pie that I’d be proud to house in my freezer (although four appears to be the minimum order).
Like most of the rest of the crew, the main way to get Vagabond was through Legend’s Haul, the angel of a delivery service that helped consumers and restaurants alike in the darkest hours of the pandemic. Sadly, LH has moved away from consumer delivery so this means there’s no practical outlet to get the Victoria-based Vagabond anymore.