Neapolitan style wood oven pizza.

Grand Pizzeria and Bar
Pizza at Grand Pizzeria and Bar
Pizza at Grand Pizzeria and Bar
Pasta at Grand Pizzeria and Bar
Grand Pizzeria and Bar
Grand Pizzeria and Bar
Grand Pizzeria and Bar
Grand Pizzeria and Bar
Grand Pizzeria and Bar
Grand Pizzeria and Bar
Grand Pizzeria and Bar
Pizza at Grand Pizzeria and Bar
Pasta at Grand Pizzeria and Bar
Calamari at Grand Pizzeria and Bar
Grand Pizzeria and Bar
Foods from Grand Pizzeria and Bar
Comments

2009 May 30
Saturday night sure is bustling here! Two patios in full operation and a large indoor dining area make for one heck of a busy restaurant. The hubbub was loud. If you've been to the Metropolitain Brasserie on a busy night, you know what to expect.

Overall experience was very positive. Our server (Natalia M, according to the bill) was top-notch friendly and attentive. I'd even say she's the most professional server I've encountered in quite some time. Interactions with other staff were also very smooth. Clearly someone in charge of hiring knows what they're doing here.

Like most Italian restaurants not run by Italians, they did not pass my Cinzano pronunciation test. I love to start any meal with a Cinzano Rosso on ice with lemon. Cinzano is correctly pronounced "cheen-TSAH-no" and I always order it by name in Italian restaurants. When the server is an old Italian guy, he simply nods and brings it to me exactly as expected. At the other end of the spectrum are servers who call me out on the pronunciation and tell me it's "sin-ZAH-no" which is just plain wrong. At the Grand Pizzeria, our capable server said very smoothly, "Sorry, I'm going to have to ask you what that is." To which I responded by pointing at some cocktails on their menu containing Cinzano and then specifying the ice and lemon garnish. When she brought it to me, she asked if it was the way I wanted it. Indeed it was, although the portion was small as it usually is in non-Italian restaurants (bartenders assume Cinzano is to be served by the ounce like hard liquor, which makes no sense since its alcohol content and price per litre are in line with very cheap wine). I know everyone is tired of reading my tirades on Cinzano pronunciation so I'll stop now. :-)

A guy who looked like one of the owners was helping out where he could. He noticed that the cold breeze coming in from the patio might be bothering us and offered to close the door. We also saw him clearing plates to speed things along. This kind of management participation is a good sign indeed.

Food quality was generally excellent (see my separate food item comments for details). The Olive and Pepper Misti pictured here was of top quality and generously portioned for $4. I particularly enjoyed the mushrooms.

Dessert was the only downer. The Tiramisu just wasn't much to our liking -- too dense and soggy, and lacking the quality of flavour present in the other dishes.

By the end of the meal I was quite thirsty given all the salty olives and pizza I'd consumed so I broke with any sort of tradition and ordered a diet coke. And bless their hearts, it came with a wedge of lime! :-)

I've often lamented the state of Italian cuisine in Ottawa -- it tends to be underwhelming and overpriced. But Grand Pizzeria offers a magical combination of good food without pretense. A most welcome addition to the Byward Market food scene!

2009 May 23
Okay so my two friends and I were excited to try this new place. When we got there we were quickly seated. I ordered a a $10 glass of Valpolicella and one of my friends ordered a Pinot Grigio. My glass came with lots of cork in it. But -it happens.

They brought us bread and we asked for some parmesan, chili flakes and salt. Unfortunately, the salt shaker was filled with SUGAR. A major mistake for any restaurant.

I ordered the four cheese pizza and my friends both ordered pasta. All three dishes came at three different times. First pasta came, 5 minutes later the next and then 5 minutes later my pizza which was incredibly over cooked. I complained and they offered to make another, but since my friends were almost done, I did not want to make them wait.

I had maybe 4 bites and was not pleased.

When the bill came, they charged me half price for the pizza which I refused to pay because I barely ate any of it. They scrambled around and brought me a new bill which only had the wine on it. They should have actually taken that off two, but I figured they are new and they just don't know better.

There seems to be a lot of wait staff but no one seemed to be in charge.

I AM HIGHLY DISSAPOINTED IN THIS PLACE. I would not recommend any one going until "they fix the kinks" as the waitress stated.

2009 May 16
Stepped out tonight in a fancy new dress to check out The Grand. We got there around 8:00, figuring that they weren't taking reservations, and that 8:00 would be a reasonable time to expect dining in Ottawa to calm down. Ha. They were packed! We were offered a seat at the bar and told that someone would come find us as soon as there was a table.

The bar staff was super friendly, and weren't at all miffed that my fiancÚ ordered 7-Up and I water to start. I switched to their Mill Street "Belgian Wit" wheat beer soon after, and we ordered an appetizer caprese insalate (buffalo mozarella, tomatoes, basil, oil/balsamic). The service was very prompt with the appetizer, and it was quite good, while a bit on the small side (had there been one or two more pieces of cheese it would have felt worth the price; there were only 3 slices of mozzarella).

The only mix up of our night was the bread: we asked one of the bar staff for some to go with the salad, and he was able to find bread but not butter. He went off with our bread basket in hand to look for some, and I assumed that therefore it was for another table. The other bartender asked if there was anything she could get us, and I mentioned that were just waiting on a bit of bread. Well, don't they both just reappear within a minute of one another with rolls and butter for us. Ooops. A mix-up caused by attentiveness, not a bad thing in the least.

Shortly after we finished the salad, we were moved to our table: A high, bar-like table with a good window view. There really didn't seem to be a bad seat in the house. The server came promptly and took our order. Andrew had the Salumi di Franka--mozzarella, salami, prosciutto crudo, grilled red peppers, grilled zucchini, and olives. While they won't make "substitutions" they do let you leave toppings off the pizza if you ask nicely (for Andrew this meant no olives). I ordered the Capricciosa--mozzarella,ricotta, mushrooms, artichokes, olives, and speck. Both pizzas were absolutely delicious! The crust was a perfect density and dry on the bottom; the sauce was thinnly spread and the toppings were really fresh. The thinner toppings like the speck and the prosciutto weren't burnt, either. Andrew believes this is the best pizza he's had in Canada and for me it comes pretty damn close.

The pies are quite sizeable at 12-inches, which meant that my pizza kicked my butt, and I took the last third home in a doggie bag. Hopefully it will stand up to a night in the fridge.

The bill for the appetizer, two pizzas, 7-Up and a beer came in at around $60 before tip. It's not an unreasonable amount given how attentive the service was and how good the food was. The one thing that amazes me is that they're open until 2am, which is really late for Ottawa. But, we were pleasantly surprised to see that the place was still busy when we left at around 9:30. From a logistical perspective, they only take cash or credit card and I'm not sure if this will change once they're up and running full swing.

Either way, I for one am quite happy that there's a place in Ottawa that makes pizza comprable to what we had in Italy.

2009 May 14
Very excited to try this after hearing about it from Fresh Foodie!

2009 May 12
Ron Eade mentioned on Twitter this morning that Grand will be having tis opening on Thursday (May 14). I am waiting for the experience with baited breath and high expectations...

2009 Feb 24
Fresh Foodie thanks for the heads up - now I have to wait until May for this little gem to open! I remember dining at Oreganos (not fondly) when I first moved to Ottawa. Every Friday after work I would meet one of my friends for dinner and we would always end up eating at Oreganos. Not sure why we kept going there since the pasta closely resembled Chef Boyardee and there are tons of other - and better - restaurants in the area. We'll have to plan something when the new restaurant opens!

2009 Feb 24
That is exciting - I've been craving close-to-authentic pizza in Ottawa since La Pergola's slow, desperate decline. RIP La Pergola.

2009 Feb 24
I got so excited about this place after reading Ron Eade's blog (communities.canada.com) that I had to create an entry here even though it's scheduled to open only in May.

Ron writes: "...the owners hope to win Canada's first designation from the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana in Italy, which oversees and certifies the creation of authentic Neapolitan pizza according to strict standards."

Anyone who has had authentic Neapolitan style pizza either in Italy or in places like Montreal's Pomodoro will likely share my excitement! Yep, even if Ottawa is run like a small town politically at least we're growing up in a culinary sense! ;-)

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2018 Mar 18
The Carbonara Pizza ($18), with parmesan cream sauce, pancetta, spinach, mozzarella, and sunny-side up egg was a tasty and quite decadent pie. I found it nifty that they cut it in a tic-tac-toe octothorpe # shape to avoid puncturing the central yolk!

2017 Nov 4
At $16, the Margherita Pizza is pretty steep compared to other similar restaurants in town. However, it's also a little larger than the ones in the $12-$14 price range.

This is a nicely made pie, perfectly cooked and with a nice pink-sweet tomato sauce. Salt levels are appropriate, although the crust doesn't have the elusive and addictive flavour I've enjoyed most recently at Il Vicolo.

To deal with any perceived blandness, they offer that ubiquitous cardboard-powder parmesan cheese and a rather delightfully spicy house-made hot sauce. I found myself dipping the crust into a little puddle of that hot sauce on my plate to keep things interesting.

2009 Jun 2
So today was my birthday and we were out about in the market and decided to stop in at the Grand to try it out.

It was about 2pm and there was barely anyone there. Maybe about five other tables. We were seated immediately and our water glasses were filled promptly.

After much though, the four of us split two pizzas.

We went for the Quattro Fromagio otherwise known as Four Cheese and another that I cannot remember the name.

We ordered two bellini's and two Mill St. pints - no complaints.

The pizza came promptly after bread but was uncut! So we had to ask for it to be sliced since we were sharing.

We had fresh pepper and parmesan shredded onto the pizzas. The first bite was delicious, a thin crust pizza but not too crispy. It was not blackened at all like FF's was. (Sorry guys - I didn't take a picture!)

The flavour of the pizza was near perfect - it was definitely one of the best thin crust pizzas I have ever had. I loved it all and I would definitely go back again.

They give out black licorice candies with the bill so watch out if you don't enjoy them :) I've had a bad sambuca experience in the past and try to avoid them - but sometimes you just dont know until you have already popped the candy in your mouth!

2009 May 31
I approached the Grand Pizzeria's pizza with very high expectations. It is very, very good, and in my experience the best pizza in Ottawa as of 2009. But... I believe the pizza I enjoyed at Pomodoro's in Montreal was superior by a small margin (thicker chunks of buffalo mozzarella, more basil, and a crust that was less soggy in the center). I will have to try Pomodoro's again to be certain.

That said, the Margherita pizza was awesome indeed. A delicate thin crust, nicely blackened on the edges, the faint taste of woodsmoke, a tasty tomato sauce, and a smattering of basil leaves. Mine was a little more blackened than those I saw at other tables. With many of the restaurant's seats occupied there was a 45 minute wait time for pizze and I assume that means they were cramming as many pies into the oven as possible. This could explain the uneven cooking results. Anyway, I like to think that if my pizza happened to be the one snuggled up to the burning logs then perhaps I also benefited by having a more pronounced woodsmoke flavour.

Highly recommended! Having tried the classic, I now look forward to trying some of their more interesting toppings.


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2009 May 17
As an addendum, the one thing that I found a tad frustrating when we went is that they have the wine listed on the menu, but no cocktail or beer menu. Hopefully this is something that's in development.

Also, Sweets, I'm rather excited about trying the Peroni. I'd heard about it, but didn't think to ask because there was no menu.

2009 May 17
In addition to the beer's on-tap they also carry Peroni in the bottle. It is a high-end very light, refreshing, almost champagne like beer from Italy. Can't wait to have one with my pizza when I go!

2009 May 16
Beers on tap were pretty solid: Grolsch (Holland), Stella (Belgium), another import (possibly Heineken?) and four beers from Mill Street in Toronto. One of these was organic, and another a wheat beer. Their strength seems to be in a good wine list and offering cocktail options, but for those of us who like beer with our Italian food (Hi!), the selection is indeed quite good.


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2015 Mar 28
My first time having strozzapetti and I am glad it was this dish at The Grand. It came with a sausage in tomato sauce. The pasta was al dente which seems to be hard to find around town. The sausage was broken down nicely and came in good quantities. The sauce was on the sweet side while retaining some acidicity. Definitely a good and different option on a pasta menu. Other items looked good too. I will return to try them.

2009 May 31
The Linguini di mare was nicely done. We were quite thrilled to find a seafood pasta dish that didn't come with that ubiquitous border of mussels! This one has shrimp, scallops, and squid. The shrimp are large and succulent. The squid and scallops are tender, but the scallops are the little bay scallops (granted, large sea scallops would jack up the price of this dish beyond the restaurant's artificial $20 limit).

The pasta itself is fresh and cooked to a perfect toothy texture. The main taste of this dish comes from the fairly salty oil-based sauce, which seemed to contain white wine, garlic, green onions, and parmesan cheese. Nicely done, but only if you like bold flavours!





2009 May 30
The rolls are fresh and good. I find Italian bread to be a little too airy for my taste, but that's my own problem, and they're doing everything correctly here. There is rosemary and chili infused olive oil available at each table and that does a great job of waking up the bread.



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2011 Apr 23
Just a note: they do not have Calamari alla griglia on the menu anymore (when I went in april of 2011). They only have Calamari fritti which is fried squid. It was pretty good, but pretty much just your average deep fried shrimp with batter and that red sauce.

Fresh Foodie's calamari looks really excellent, but its not the same anymore.

2009 May 30
The Calamari alla griglia (grilled squid) were excellent! Tender, succulent, nicely seasoned, spicy with chili flakes, and infused with that wonderful grilled taste. A true breath of fresh air after our previous experience with grilled calamari on Preston Street.