Pizza may just be the vegan holy grail. It was only a few years ago that edible cheese substitutions became commercially available, but conventional pizzerias were not early adopters of these.
So while vegans could now make pizza at home, many were left yearning for authentic pizzeria crust and oven baked goodness. We had a brief period of glory a few years ago when one Little Italy restaurant adopted Daiya with unbridled enthusiasm, only to have the restaurant go out of business (unrelated to its vegan pizza) a few weeks later.
In the past year or so in particular Ottawa’s vegan pizza scene has really taken off, and options are growing. In this post I’ll share some of these.
1069 Bank St.
The newest addition to Ottawa’s vegan pizza scene is pretty fantastic. Panago is a vegan-friendly pizza chain that has just opened its first Ottawa franchise in Old Ottawa South. It offers Daiya as a free upgrade on personal pizzas (with a nominal fee for larger sizes), many vegan toppings, and even a gluten-free crust that is vegan. They keep a cheat sheet behind the counter that clearly identifies which of its menu items and toppings are vegan. The crust is what I always dreamed of during my many pizza-less years, and their topping application is generous.
This is not a sit down restaurant though; it is a take out counter with a few stools, à la Pizza Pizza. But if take out is what you want, Panago is an excellent option. Prices start at $4.75 for a base personal pizza; my husband bought a well-topped large pizza for less than $20 that provided him with four meals.
86 Murray Street
Fiazza, located in the Byward Market, also offers Daiya cheese on its personal sized pizzas (which are bigger than the ones at Panago), however it is a $3 upgrade. It also offers a variety of out of the ordinary toppings, such as roasted broccoli, and artichokes. The personal pizzas are pricier than Panago’s, but are about 50% larger.
In the summer Fiazza has a lovely open air dining area; in the winter it is enclosed and still quite lovely. It’s a great option if you want to go out with a group, as there is plenty of seating, but the bar stool seating also makes it comfortable if you’re dining alone. You can order Fiazza for delivery (if you live in the right areas) through Skip the Dishes. They also carry Strawberry Blonde desserts. Pro Tip: Fiazza’s gluten-free crust is NOT vegan.
Bread & Sons
Popular with the downtown lunchtime crowd, Bread & Sons offers eclectic thin crust vegan pizza by the slice. Cheeseless, but with creative topping combinations. Vegans have raved about it for years. The downside? Once it’s gone, it’s gone, and very limited seating in the small shop. Pro Tip: This is likely the healthiest pizza option on this list, aside from La Belle Verte’s raw pizza.
Good ol’ Pizza Pizza. Its traditional trust and sauce are confirmed to be vegan, and it has many of the standard toppings that you’d expect from a mainstream chain, and even some more sophisticated ones. NEW: As of February 2017, Pizza Pizza offers vegan cheese from a company called Violife as a no-cost upgrade!! I do not have the patience or skill to make my own crust, and I’ve always enjoyed Pizza Pizza’s white flour gluteny goodness as a special treat. Pro Tip: The whole wheat crust contains honey, and the gluten-free contains gelatin.
La Belle Verte
166 rue Eddy, Gatineau
This is not your typical white flour and tomato sauce pizza. La Belle Verte pizza is raw, with a dehydrated sunflower seed, flax seed and sundried tomato crust. Toppings are largely dehydrated, and they have house-made “cheez” sauces. Pro tip: This may not be the pizza to serve your “meat lovers pizza”-loving family member.
Little Jo Berry’s
Little Jo’s has pizza available every Friday! Buy it by the slice, or the whole pie. Ordering in advance is recommended. She has crazy and unique flavours like “tater tot.” Follow her Instagram of Facebook to see what she has available each week!
What’s your favourite Ottawa vegan pizza spot?
Don’t feel like pizza? Check out the Vegan Eats Ottawa guide for other options.
Pamela Tourigny is an Ottawa-based expert on the subjects of veganism and vegan advocacy, sustainability, and ethical consumerism. She also consults with business clients with their marketing, communications and public relations needs, and with restaurants on adapting their menus to introduce plant-based options. Contact her here.