I am not sure we waited so long to try Prima Strada. Ok, that’s not true. We put it off because homemade pizza on Bubby Rose’s exceptional dough is a regular staple in our house, and when we want someone else to do the dirty work for us we already have a great option for $10 oven-fresh, thin-crust goodness within walking distance. Plus, I’m just going to admit that when people are fanatical about technique, we’re simultaneously attracted and sceptical. Even more so when it’s being sold in a wealthy neighbourhood where food gimmickry sells reeeeaally well (if you don’t believe me, I have one word for you: cupcakes. Explain that trend.). Finally, Victoria is a relatively expensive tourist city, so coin does not always signify quality. All these things make experiences that are sold as “traditional” and “authentic” suspect, or at least potentially overrated, in our minds (and stomachs….they have minds of their own!).
But you didn’t come to this post to hear about our inner digestive neurosis—you came here expecting me to actually talk about this amazing little nook of pizza-heaven, didn’t you? Or at least you want to hear me admit how absolutely false and misguided our neurosis was this case? Ok, then.
We popped into the Cook Street location of Pizzeria Prima Strada on a chilly Saturday afternoon, after squeezing in an epic list of Christmas and regular routine errands. With a damp chill in our bones, and a grumble in our stomachs, we decided it was time for a leisurely, spontaneous lunch date. Prima Strada was an ideal spot for our mood—the concept was familiar and simple, but the results were blissfully indulgent.
Mr. ST started with a well-balanced Americano and we shared some olives (with a few caper berries snuck in as an awesome surprise). Please don’t ask me how he can drink an Americano and enjoy olives at the same time. His questionable behaviour keeps life interesting.
We shared the Funghi pizza, the star of which was the delicate béchamel sauce and the expertly browned porcini mushrooms. Someone there has a PhD in properly browned mushrooms. You know how a whisper of nutmeg elevates good béchamel? That’s what these woodsy, nutty mushrooms do, and you will love it.
Except Steve Buschemi is now a leading man, which is exactly what will happen to your pizza crust when you reach the end of the toppings. You’ll be left with a makeshift breadstick on your plate and a little, glowing bottle of Prima Strada’s chilli-infused olive oil. And the crust suddenly becomes a star.
Finally, because I’ve told you before that pumpkin makes everything better, there was absolutely no way we were leaving without sampling their pumpkin gelato.
This goes on the epic list of treats enhanced by freezing and/or creaming them (along with brownies and Mars bars) It had the spice and warmth I crave in a good pumpkin pie, contrasted with the firm and cool texture of gelato. It enlightened me, in just a few bites, as to what it is that people are trying to achieve when they confuse the frankness of pumpkin pie and try prissing it up into cheesecake.
A note on the pizza sizes here: as you can see, they’re thin and lightly topped. Still, the surface area is not what most of us associate with “personal sized” pizza either. If I was really hungry, and ok with eating to total fullness, I could probably eat a whole one to myself. But for lunch, with these other delightful mini courses, splitting a pizza with Mr. ST. was satisfying without feeling stuffed.
The holidays are always cause for a few more dates than at other times of the year, and I humbly suggest you make Pizzeria Prima Strada the destination for one of yours. With all the events and items competing for our time and money, let Prima Strada be a source of relief. This memorable little multi-course date was less than $30 before the tip.
Prima Strada is also host to a regular long table dining experience and has a great blog and site if you want to learn more about them! If you enjoy exploring food regionally, they appear to be all over it the map in the best possible way.