Diamond in the ruff pizza n’ stuff (Ricardo’s, Ottawa)

So… Ricardo’s pizza is this hole-in-the-wall tiny place (I think there actually are holes in the floor, or at least large cracks). It’s situated a mere block away from our apartment, yet, we didn’t try their food for the first year or so of living in the ‘hood. We literally walked by it ALL THE TIME when we headed up to Somerset to get Pho, or when taking Maggie for her multiple daily walks. The thing is, it looks so sketchy and out of place (picture a lone business nestled on a corner, surrounded by houses and apartments). Now, I am not ever one to shy away from questionable looking restaurants (the food is often incredible) it’s just that this one looked really odd. It actually only has one table (or maybe not even? Maybe just a plastic chair or two). Well … little did we know that within those four walls some of the best pizza ever was being crafted!

I know a few people who swear by their wraps and have even heard someone say that the pizza is better than that of Colonnade and KS on the Keys. I’ll let you decide for yourself, but pictured above is their Ricardo’s Special. The crust is not too thick (not as doughy as deep-dish) but not thin either; it’s made in house, super tender with the right amount of crispness and seasoning. The toppings are very generous and if you order the garlic sauce you will not be disappointed…. I can’t really eat pizza without garlic sauce, so this is a must for me 😉

Their wrap choices are also pretty noteworthy. And I’m not a huge wrap fan as I usually find them mundane and overall, disappointing (i.e. flour tortilla with not enough filling and too much dressing). Here though, they use the same dough as their pizza crust, stuff the wrap full of things like chicken and bacon, and use really flavourful dressing(s). Check out the website as they also make other dishes (e.g. lasagna, burgers, veal). While I can’t attest to the quality of those, I’d be interested in trying them based on my experience so far.

Summary: Appearances can be deceiving. This place looks like a front for something not so legit, and the “mascot” is a green pepper with creepy onion eyes; but don’t be to quick to judge, the food is pretty damn good. I’m only sad we didn’t discover this gem earlier. To top it off, the staff is super friendly and seem downright pleased to be there. If you like pizza, and you live in Ottawa, Ricardo’s is a must try. Just don’t expect a sit-down meal (pick-up only).

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