PazzaRella Auto Pizzeria Napoletana (Authentic Neapolitan Pizza Food Truck)

Restaurant: PazzaRella Auto Pizzeria Napoletana
Cuisine: Pizza/Italian/Food Truck
Last Visited: January 27, 2013
Location: Vancouver, BC (Mount Peasant/Main Street)
Address: Usually at Victory Square Park on Hastings and Cambie
Transit: Expo Line: Stadium
Phone: (604) 626-5663
Price Range: $10 or less

1Poor 2OK 3Good 4Very good 5Excellent 6FMF Must Try!

Food: 4.5 (based on what I tried)
Service: n/a
Ambiance: n/a
Value: 3
Overall: n/a
Additional comments:

  • Onsite wood fired brick oven
  • 1st wood fired pizza truck in Canada
  • Authentic Neapolitan style pizza
  • 100% Caputo 00 flour
  • Handmade/hand tossed dough
  • Organic herbs
  • Local cheese
  • All natural
  • Local favourite
  • Vegetarian options
  • Vegan option
  • Catering available
  • Cash only
  • For locations/hours: @PazzaRellaPizza

**Recommendations: When it comes to Neapolitan pizza I’m a purist, so I’ll go for the Margherita which is also most popular.

PazzaRella Neapolitan Style PizzaAuthentic Neapolitan pizza from a food truck?! You’re joking right?! No, I’m not. I didn’t believe it either, as to why I never felt the need to rush out to try this food truck, but it was pretty legit and they know what they’re doing. It was pizza worth eating in the rain (and I really hate the rain). If you’re worried about the rain and dampness making your pizza soft, then you’re worrying about the wrong thing because authentic Neapolitan pizza is supposed to be that way.

PazzaRella Neapolitan style pizza (2)Whoa. Any pizza truck investing in a custom built wood fired pizza oven for their food truck means serious business. If you’re claiming to serve “authentic Neapolitan pizza”, then the first order of duty is getting the right equipment – an actual wood fired oven that operates at 800ºF. I agree with these ladies when they say the aroma and flavours of a wood fired oven cannot be replicated with any other type of oven. This is Canada’s first wood fired pizza truck. Welcome to PazzaRella Auto Pizzeria Napoletana!

The owners and operators are friends Barbara and Sherry. Barbara is a first generation Italian-Canadian and her parents are from Naples, the origin of authentic Neapolitan pizza. Sherry is Japanese-Canadian and her love for pizza is on par with Barbara’s. The two were disappointed in the options for Neapolitan pizza in Vancouver as to why they started the truck. They were, and still are determined to introduce and educate people on what they believe is real authentic Neapolitan pizza.

It is passion not gas that drives this truck. I had the opportunity to meet these bellas during Street Food City 2 and was treated to lunch. I was addicted to their energy right off the pizza peel. We shared our individual pizza philosophies and were almost speaking the same language – which is purist pizza talk.

For me authenticity is debatable and I’m always learning different pizza theories, and ultimately “authentic Neapolitan pizza” will vary according to pizza makers (even Italian ones) and pizza eaters. However some things cannot be debated such as the thin foldable crust, soft tender centre and minimal sauce and toppings.

Making authentic Neapolitan pizza from a food truck already has its limitations, but PazzaRella is not sacrificing on key ingredients such as the Caputo 00 flour imported from Italy (which is at least twice as expensive as regular 00 flour or Canadian flour). However they can only charge what the market will bear, so they have to be careful.

Ideally I like to spend around $8 for a satisfying lunch at a food truck, but in Vancouver $10 is getting to be quite normal. Here it is $8-12, but this is no “$1.25 pizza by the slice”, so it is incomparable and justified with all natural ingredients. That being said I’ve gotten to realize how expensive it is to operate a food truck in Vancouver, so I am more understanding of where the prices come from; but as a general customer I just want good value for my dollar. At a food truck I am not expecting to pay for ambiance, so it really is about the food – of course nice service and bright personalities help too, but this comes naturally at PazzaRella.

For a food truck serving authentic Neapolitan Pizza I was impressed. If they opened a restaurant I bet it would be even better than this too. I’ve tried  Nicli Antica PizzeriaVerace Pizzeria, The BiBoPizzeria Farina, Novo Pizzeria, and Pizza Barbarella, and so far I prefer Nicli for a restaurant. I actually liked the dough here better though and the texture and flavour was jaw dropping impressive. It would come up in my top 3 favourites based on those listed. If these ladies opened a restaurant they would be serious competition in what is already a “Neapolitan [style] pizza” saturated city (most Neapolitan pizza places are just Neapolitan style, but not quite authentic).

On the table:

PazzaRella Neapolitan style pizza (4)**Margherita5/6 (Excellent)

  • Tomato Sauce, Fior di Latte, Organic Basil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil $8
  • It’s the staple. The Margherita is the most simple “tell all” pizza.
  • You can’t hide anything and it’s a testament of a great Neapolitan pizza. This was definitely great.
  • I asked for mine to be served uncut, and authentic Neapolitan pizza is eaten with the hands as you tear at it.
  • The San Marzano tomato sauce (not DOP) is a very thin and transparent spread made from pure tomatoes and salt as it should be.
  • I even requested less sauce just in case, but they had the same philosophy and were on top of it.
  • The organic basil leaves are usually just 2-3 whole ones in the centre which is the style for “authentic” Neapolitan pizza.
  • I actually didn’t mind the hand torn basil all scattered though just because it meant I had it for more than a couple bites.
  • The tearing helped release the basil aromas and flavours too.
  • I would have preferred the fresh basil placed on at the very end, but the slightly cooked basil flavour and aroma was still there.
  • In Italy the 2-3 basil leaves in the centre have a way of extending their aromas and flavour to spread across the whole pizza.
  • It was a bit heavy on the fior di latte (fresh cow’s mozzarella cheese) which wasn’t Italian, but for food truck standards it was overlooked.
  • The locally made fior di latte just weighed down the pizza and it was chewy and stringy rather then melted and molten.
  • Many people would probably like more cheese and the chewy stringy quality, but I prefer a bit less and the Italian style fior di latte in a pizza context.
  • They hand torn the fior di latte instead of slicing it, which also happens in Italy sometimes too.
  • I prefer it sliced, just because it does not melt as evenly due to different sizes when it is hand torn.
  • They do go a bit heavier on the toppings here because of the mass market and North American palates, but I could have used less.
  • The North American market tends to prefer more cheese and toppings and see value in that, which I can understand.
  • For me, when it comes to authentic Neapolitan pizza I just want an excellent and well made crust. That makes or breaks it.
  • I don’t really care as much for the toppings although I appreciate them fresh and still good quality. I would pay extra for that.

PazzaRella Neapolitan style pizza (5)I could smell the smoky charring right away which was great! At first sight I would have liked more blistering, oven spring, and holes on the edges, but this was pretty good. The blisters were light, thin and pop-able with the touch of a finger which is ideal, and it had a nice and even spotted char (leoparding).

PazzaRella Neapolitan style pizza (8)The underside had decent looking leoparding too without being burnt. It should never be crunchy or white/pale in colour if it is “Neapolitan pizza”.

PazzaRella Neapolitan style pizza (7)The edges of the crust were too thin and authentic Neapolitan pizza would have a lot more height and puffy large holes. This was the only part of the crust that was not quite to my liking, but the rest was bang on.

PazzaRella Neapolitan style pizza (6)And there we go! Authentic Neapolitan pizza should be foldable. The whole thing should be soft and not crunchy or even that crisp.

  • The pizza dough is made with only 100% Caputo 00 flour from Naples, water, yeast, and salt.
  • Not many people will use 100% Caputo 00 flour in Vancouver because it is at least double the price.
  • It is handcrafted and hand tossed and is fermented for about 3 days which is how I like mine too. It enriches the flavour.
  • This is how Neapolitan pizza dough is traditionally made.
  • I also had my own experience making it at home here. It is a labour of love that is considered an art form in Italy.
  • The flavour of the crust was incredible! I could taste the yeasty fermented salty flavour and it was very natural.
  • The flavour was addicting and it was a very moist dough which is ideal.
  • It was nice and chewy and quite doughy and soft and I would like the pizza crust rim more pillowy, but it was still good.
  • Even when it cooled down it was still very soft with good stretch.
  • It was easy to tear and flexible and it was not dense.
  • I enjoyed the flavour of the crust alone.

PazzaRella Neapolitan style pizza (4)Do you see that somewhat wet liquidy centre? Authentic Neapolitan pizza is supposed to be like that.

  • The chew was not tough and very tender and the middle was soft and a bit soupy, but not wet.
  • Usually it would look like a pool of olive oil, fior di latte and possible sauce in the centre, so this was already less wet than “authentic” standards.
  • The centre should melt in your mouth and this one did, but I wish the fior di latte melted with it.
  • I could taste the smoky char of the crust and the amount of cheese (bit too much for me) was getting in the way of the crust flavour, but otherwise it was a home run.
  • To be honest, next time I might even order just the tomato sauce and little cheese (I love cheese, but in this case the crust shined), but $8 would sound pricey for that.
  • For $8, this restaurant quality Neapolitan pizza was an all around satisfying win.
  • A crust like this is very hard to come by in Vancouver, let alone a pizza like this. Try it!

PazzaRella Neapolitan style pizza (10)Tiramisu3/6 (Good)

  • With mascarpone $4
  • I liked half of it. The bottom half was delicious, but I wasn’t keen on the whipped cream top layer.
  • A tub of mascarpone cheese the size of this dessert can be $10 if not more, so I understand the need to cut costs to sell a dessert for $4 at a food truck.
  • Tiramisu in Italy has thick layers of mascarpone almost thicker than the layers of ladyfingers, and it’s very rich and creamy rather than cakey.
  • It was a very creamy tiramisu, but the top layer was replaced with whipped cream which is not traditional to the original recipe.
  • The lady fingers were lightly soaked on both sides with espresso, but the rum or Tia Maria or coffee flavoured liqueur was undetectable if not used at all.
  • The bottom layer was the mascarpone layer which was pale yellow in colour (like it should be from the egg custard), and it was rich and cheesy and delicious.
  • Mascarpone has a subtle cheese taste and this was not cut with cream cheese which would have been awful (but some people do that to save costs).
  • This bottom mascarpone layer was perfect and the tiramisu was well balanced and not wet or dry.
  • Based on the bottom mascarpone layer I could tell if they didn’t have to worry about keeping costs down, they could make a killer tiramisu.
  • I also recommend the tiramisu at CinCin Ristorante which is a modern take, but very good.

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