Restaurant: Pizzeria Farina
Last visited: October 20, 2011
Location: Vancouver, BC (Stratchcona/Chinatown)
Address: 915 Main Street
Phone: (604) 681-9334
Transit: Main Skytrain
Price Range: $10-20
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
Service: 4 (Pay at cashier)
- Recently opened
- Neapolitan thin crust pizza
- Fresh, good quality ingredients
- Hand tossed/home made
- Popular for take-out
- No alcohol
- Neighbourhood favourite
- Reasonable prices
- Complimentary still/sparking water
- Limited seating
- Eat in/Take out
- No Reservations
- Wed-Sun Dinner only
**Recommendations: Funghi Pizza, Finocchiona Pizza
So after tempting you with my delicious Grimaldi’s Pizzeria post yesterday in New York, I couldn’t be so mean as to leave you hanging. Well that is, if you’re a Vancouver reader. Regardless, Pizzeria Farina is another drool worthy spot to visit if you’re in, or just visiting Vancouver, BC.
“Pizza Pizza“. Gone were the days of Little Caesar’s and $0.99 pizza. Actually that’s not true as they have their own market, but sure has the pizza scene in Vancouver really exploded and improved in the last half a year. For a while the city was emerging with a new pizza restaurant every month, and now it’s only about every other month. Only. Either we gained a recent slew of Italian immigrants, or our tastes have craved something more authentic with a focus on quality.
It’s certainly not just a kid-friendly food as most of these new pizza places are catered towards adults. The sophistication of an authentic Neapolitan style pizza is one to be recognized, although I don’t want to get too technical either. Pizza making is a practiced art and places like Nicli Antica Pizzeria, Verace Pizzeria, and The BiBo were some of the first to really emphasize this. Well, make room for the new kid on the block because Pizzeria Farina is doing the same.
Honestly, with all the Neapolitan pizza places we have now, it’s really marginal differences for the average diner if you compare the creme de la creme. There are different levels of how “authentic” it is, but eventually it comes down to minor things and personal tastes. Generally our Neapolitan pizza scene is pretty impressive.
Forget the San Marzano tomatoes, fior di latte, Burrata, buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto and basil imported from Italy etc etc., Pizzeria Farina is gourmet, but not that gourmet. Sure I love all those specialty ingredients that they would offer at places like Nicli, Verace, and The Bibo, but it doesn’t mean a pizza can’t be good without them. Pizzeria Farina still makes quality pizzas and great thin crusts, but perhaps it’s fair to say they’re not “pretentious pizzas” or as “high end”.
Pizzeria Farina uses a gas oven and not a wood-fired oven so already it’s not considered an authentic Neapolitan pizza. Almost all pizza places outside of Naples are just Neapolitan style pizzas. Despite this not being “authentic” it was still very good.
The prices are reasonable, relative to its competitors, and even though my favourite is still probably Nicli (also the only one to be “VPN” Vera/Real Pizza Napoletana Certified), the value is appreciated here. On the other hand, the ambiance is completely different. This is a small and casual place with a neighbourhood feel. It’s almost “classy take-out pizza” and it probably has as much take out business as it does sit down. Overall I was pleased with Pizzeria Farina and I’d still come back and recommend it as one of Vancouver’s great pizza places to hit the scene.
On the table:
- Fennel sausage, tomato sauce, provolone, parmesan & spicy peppers $14 + olives +$2
- I was tempted to go for the classic Margherita, the true test of any authentic Neapolitan pizza, but I just decided to spice things up this time!
- It included a few fresh basil leaves, and although I wish they were whole, it was an unexpected bonus that I appreciated.
- The pizza is served cut into 4 slices and authentic Neapolitan pizza is supposed to be served uncut so that the flavours stay intact. To eat it you would normally pull and tear away at the pizza.
- The outer edge of the crust didn’t have any leoparding or blackened charred spots (due to their gas oven), but the flavour of it tasted like there was.
- I could smell the smoky aroma, despite it not being a wood fired oven, and I could still taste that charcoal flavour, but it wasn’t visible.
- The crust had full flavour, due to its 3 day fermentation process. It’s not salty or herbed, but the finished product had a great texture, chew and quality.
- The tomato sauce was a bit heavier and almost creamier than Nicli.
- It’s not a thin pulpy fresh tomato sauce, but it seemed more pureed without the apparent skins and pulp.
- The sauce is a bit sweeter rather than tangy and the cheese just melted right into it, so it seemed a bit thicker.
- I could taste cheese, but it wasn’t that apparent and I could have used a bit more.
- The ingredients and toppings were fresh, and good quality, but not premium and the price matched what it was delivering.
- The Italian fennel sausage was great, but I could have used more of it.
- It’s the style to have a bit less as to not weigh the pizza down, but I still wanted a bit more sausage.
- The sausage was juicy with a good amount of fat, and tender like a meatball with flavours of chili flakes and black pepper giving it a bit of heat and spice.
- The black olives were an addition, but they didn’t have much flavour and they weren’t that salty. I actually like dehydrated olives on these pizzas too.
- It was a mildly spicy pizza and I didn’t even notice the spicy peppers although I could taste spicy flavours.
- It was a very good pizza, and the sausage was a highlight, but I just wanted a little bit more of everything.
- Actually, it’s not even more ingredients necessarily, but just stronger flavours of those ingredients used.
- Perhaps the same amount, but better olives and cheese that was further aged would have done it. The sausage I actually wanted more of.
- It was a super thin crust and I could almost see right through it had there been sunlight.
- It was reminiscent of a New York style pizza crust with more of a crispness and slight crunch overall, rather than that ultra melty Neapolitan centre.
- The crust had a very nutty flavour and slightly powdery texture, but I did really enjoy it.
- The centre of the crust was not soggy, but tender as it should be, although not as tender as authentic Neapolitan style pizzas from Nicli or Verace.
- Eventually it did get a bit soggy since the ingredients released water over time.
- There was no leoparding at the bottom (charcoal blackened spots), which I missed, but it still had a charcoal flavour.
- I questioned what type of flour was being used, but they just did a great job on the fermentation process.
- The edges were very crispy, but not puffy, and the chew was fantastic without being tiresome.
- Technically the pizza should be foldable if it was “authentic Neapolitan”, but it wasn’t although still very good.
- Mushrooms, mozzarella, parmesan, red onions, garlic & arugula $13
- It’s kind of comparing apples to oranges, since this one had no tomato sauce.
- Again it was precut into 4 slices, and authentic Neapolitan pizzas are usually served uncut to keep flavours in tact. Regardless, it was still great.
- The crust didn’t have that charcoal blistering around the edges, but it still had that charcoal flavour like the one above.
- I could have used a drizzle of olive oil over that arugula, but there is chili oil and oregano oil at the table for you to do yourself. That helped a lot!
- The pizza had an even layer of thinly sliced mushrooms which included buttons, criminis and a few other varieties. There were also some oyster mushrooms which I find makes any mushroom pizza better.
- The red onions were still crunchy, and the best part of this pizza for me was the garlic. It was just roasted garlic, but it was done well.
- The garlic was served in whole cloves and they were tender, creamy and caramelized and just made for so much flavour in this pizza.
- I could have used more cheese because I really didn’t get much at all and it was more intense with mushroom and garlic flavours than anything.
- The crust was super thin, not puffy, delicate and delicious.
- Again the centre was tender, but not as tender as other authentic Neapolitan pizzas like the ones from Nicli or Verace.
- The crust was generally more crispy with a crunchy outer edge and the pizza was never wet, although eventually it is bound to happen the more you let it rest.
- Technically the pizza should be foldable (never crunchy) if it was “authentic Neapolitan”, but it wasn’t although still very good.