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Mike Cohen samples some selections from Pizzéria No. 900 Napolitaine

    NDG and Westmount franchiser Patrice Tremblay with pizza chef Martin.

    During this pandemic, there are certain kinds of restaurants that have been well-placed to adjust to take-out and delivery only options. No doubt, pizza is at the top of the list.

    One of the truly growing pizza chains in Quebec is Pizzéria No. 900 Napolitaine. There are now 25 locales across the province and if you are making a pickup you will not have long to wait as the pizzas are cooked in their special ovens in a remarkable 90 seconds. The oven is at 900 degrees Fahrenheit, hence the name of the chain.

    The chain was started in 2014 by Alexandre Brunet, the founder of Stromboli Pizza on Mount Royal Avenue and Dominique Bujould. She first established Sushi Shop. Four new locations have opened since last November and several more are slated to debut in 2021.

    I like to share with readers new experiences. Well, once again here is a restaurant I never experienced before. Since I live and work in the  West End, the NDG Monkland Avenue and Westmount’s Victoria Avenue spots are the closest to me. They are both run by franchisee Patrice Tremblay, who told me business has been strong during the pandemic.  Brand Manager Gabrielle Hamelin confirmed that to me.   “When the pandemic hit, our owners had each franchise already set up for delivery,” she said. “It was an easy transition.”

    It was a real treat to make an order from the NDG location which essentially covered my lunch for several days. I started off with a roasted parmesan melt appetizer and an arugula and lemon salad, the latter containing mozzarella di bufala, cherry tomatoes and grana Padano. It was so freshly repaired that I kept it in the fridge for the day after pickup and it was perfect.

    While respecting the highest standards of quality and freshness as well as an excellent quality-price ratio, items here come from mainly local products.   For example, their cold cuts come from the Charlevoix and the Laurentians regions. I ordered the charcuteries to share, which came in a nice sealed bowl containing salami, prosciutto, Porchetta,  gaspor and ham.

    When it came time to select my pizzas, there were so many wonderful choices. They come in red (tomato) and white thin crust. From the former list I opted for ham and roasted mushroom,  made with tomato sauce, pecorino romano, fior di latte, ricotta salata, E.V. olive oil, Sicilian oregano and organic basil. As for the white, there was no question that the four cheese version tempted my taste buds parmesan béchamel, caciocavallo, fior di latte, pecorino romano, black pepper and organic basil.  They were piping hot and remained  so until I got back to the office 10 minutes later. I used a knife and fork to separate the pieces. But you can eat them by hand as well, folding over some of the pieces.

    On the day I ordered, their most popular salami pizza was not available.  Their salami was en route from Charlevoix and there are no substitutes.  A day later Patrice called. “The salami has arrived and I insist you come back and try one.” So I did and he was absolutely correct – the pieces melted in my mouth. Patrice added a prosciutto pizza,  which I gifted to my colleague Donald at work. He happily took it home to enjoy with his wife. “It was my first time eating  a pizza from there,” he shared. “It won’t be my last. This was fantastic!”

    There are about 18 different kinds of pizzas on the main menu, plus a seasonal blue potato and pancetta edition and a new vegan cheese one.  

    Oh yes, let me not forget the desserts. I left with a chocolate mousse  and a tiramisu. You can also order a cannoli, a chocolate and hazelnut pizza or a torta caprese with lemon coulis.

    Finally, if you want to be a little ambitious there is a special pizza kit for four people. It contains NO. 900 pizza sauce, dough, fior de latte and organic basil for $18.  The pizzerias also offer a great selection of private import wines.  

    Mirko D’Agata, known as one of the best pizza minds in Quebec, is the chain’s executive chef. He returns to his native Italy often to personally select the tomatoes grown on land owned by No. 900.

    For menus and locations, go to https://no900.com. You can have your order delivered by each restaurant directly (the preferred method) or via Uber Eats, Skip the Dishes, or Door Dash.

    Mike Cohen

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