Restaurant Review: Pizzeria Bufala

When Sean Heather opened the Irish Heather 17 years ago, it signalled a seismic change for Gastown. Every subsequent room offering a smartly casual space with strong spirits and revered meats owes a debt to the trailblazer. Will future Kerrisdale anthropologists say the same about James Iranzad and Josh Pape (whose Wildebeest won this magazine’s Best New Restaurant in 2013)?

Kerrisdale already has some fine cooking (Ajisai Sushi Bar and Suvai Restaurant and, uh...), and it used to have one pub (Cheshire Cheese Inn, R.I.P.), but historically, smart/casual hasn’t been the Kerrisdale way. The ’hood clearly appreciates Pizzeria Bufala: the place was slammed when it opened. Queues have abated since, but the place still jumps most evenings with families too bushed to cook (lots of kids at start of service), and later, confused but intrepid sojourners from downtown and the East Side.

They’re coming in for Pape’s strong, bitters-built cocktails, like a nicely bourbon-y boulevardier, and for affordable bottles like the Rive di Sasso Nebbiolo 2009 ($40). But mostly, they’re coming for thin(ish)-crust pizzas that don’t slavishly adhere to the use of 00 flour and San Marzano tomatoes but have fun with, well, revered meats like braised oxtail and fennel sausage. The pies are nicely loaded, if pricey ($13–$19) for their size. Most dishes, including salads (like a terrific one with arugula, grapefruit, and pecorino), are a little salty, and even if it’s Tuesday you’re dropping $40 a person on dinner. But then, you can walk home after. Think of the savings on cabs!

5395 West Blvd., 604-267-7499