Why A Nassau Quest for Perfect Italian Pizza?
We were visiting Nassau, Bahamas in July again! With very hot weather in Toronto, many people were asking why we would head south. But with no humidity and little rain, Nassau was more comfortable than Toronto. Being spoiled at our friend Rob’s Nassau condo for 10 days was not a hard choice to make. Our evening adventures on this trip would be a Nassau quest for perfect Italian pizza!
So what is a perfect Italian pizza? First we need to say that there are both “Napoletana” and “Romana” style Italian pizza. For a good overview of the whole story about pizza in Italy, you may read about the Rome versus Naples debate featured in this link. The main difference is really in the crust! You would find pizza in Naples to have a chewy crust but still very light and thin. Roman pizza is often baked as a rectangle and sold by the slice. The crust is typically thicker and more crunchy. In all real Italian pizza, the toppings are simple and tasty ingredients.
In Italy, you will never find pizza like what is sold throughout North America – thick doughy crust, heavy layers of cheese and as many ingredients as you can afford. Crust stuffed with cheese or wrapped in bacon seems to be a gourmet treat. Unfortunately, what we found during our Nassau quest for perfect Italian pizza was often a bastardized Italian pizza loaded to meet this North American (and we were told, Bahamian) taste!
When we are home in Toronto, you can find good Italian pizza. One of our favourite places to share pizza with Rob is at the pizzeria in his neighbourhood, Ciao Roma! As the name states, this is Rome-style pizza, sold by the slice and offered with a wide variety of tasty toppings. We have been so spoiled by great Italian pizza that we search for authentic pizza wherever we travel!
Beginning Our Pizza Treasure Hunt
During our visit we tried 8 different places for pizza:
- Cafe Matisse
- Blue Sail (Tried on a previous visit)
- Mahogany House
- Luciano’s of Chicago
- Zio Gigi’s
Some were complete write-offs and some came close. We found 3 good choices (first ones on the list) on our Nassau quest for perfect Italian pizza. The others on the list are NOT in order of preference!
In all cases, we ordered a simple Margherita pizza – tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and basil. A traditional Italian pizza comes with buffalo mozzarella but we found that very hard to find in most of the places we visited in Nassau.
Some this basic pizza represents the colours of the Italian flag – red, white and green. We weren’t fussed with the colour. We just wanted a simple base to get the real taste of the pizza. Once you found a great base, then you can only get better with your favourite topping. Yes – one topping!
What did we learn as we searched?
Correlation Between Good Pizza and a Great Aperol Spritz?
If you have ever been to Italy, you will find that everyone is drinking this bright orange drink. I finally asked a bartender what it was and he said it was an Aperol Spritz. To make it you mix it in 3-2-1 proportions – Prosecco (Italian champagne), Aperol (the orange colour) and soda water. Add ice and don’t forget a slice of juicy orange. Yummy!
An Aperol Spritz is not so easy to find outside of Italy and many of the ones I have found seemed to be missing something. But when we found Aperol Spritz’s on the drink list on our Nassau quest for perfect Italian pizza, we could almost be guaranteed a good pizza!
One of the places actually had Aperol but no Prosecco. With no Aperol Spritz, we were not surprised to find that the pizza missed the bar!
The Crust Makes All the Difference
We were looking for a thin-crusted pizza. Some were too thin, almost like cracker hard. Others were so soggy that they would not pass our “limp wrist” test!
But when we found the perfect crust, the whole pizza was a success!
Even in the one place we found with a real pizza oven, they couldn’t get the crust right!.
Don’t Bury the Pizza in Cheese
As I noted in the beginning, too many of the pizza places could not resist the urge to add just a little more cheese. Every time we ordered a pizza, we asked for it light on the cheese. They rarely listened!
We asked for Buffalo Mozzarella at every place. We only got delighted at Cafe Matisse with a perfect light topping of tasty Buffalo Mozzarella.
Why Must They Put Tomatoes on a Margherita Pizza?
There are no tomatoes on a traditional Margherita Pizza. So why did so many come with tomatoes? Did this go back to wanted to pile the pizza high with toppings? All we found was that the more tomatoes, the more soggy the pizza!
Sometimes We Got A Great View
Sometimes we were searching for a place with a view and we found pizza on the menu. We might go back for the views but not always for pizza!
Often a Much Better Alternative Than Pizza
Many times we ordered our pizza as a shared appetizer. When we were then looking for dinner, we had no problem finding great seafood. Even when we found truly horrid pizza, the seafood redeemed the restaurant. Some places should just stick to what they are really good at!
Success On Our Nassau Quest for Perfect Italian Pizza
It was easy to know if the pizza was a success.
We shared one pizza for 4 of us. This was not a lot of pizza! If we left pizza behind, it was a pretty sure bet that nobody wanted to finish it!
We may not have tried all of the options on our Nassau quest for perfect Italian pizza. But every place we went we asked for pizza recommendations. We hit all the ones we ever heard about! But after a while, even pizza aficionados get tired of pizza after 8 straight days!
One of the challenges with a good pizza place is consistency. We have had good ones and then on a second visit been disappointed. I guess we will just have to do a second taste test on our next visit to Nassau.
Where do you get your favourite Italian pizza? Do you even like Italian pizza? Any place we should have added to our Nassau quest for perfect Italian pizza?