Thursday, February 26, 2015

Capanna Pizzeria: Comfort Food in a Warm, Welcoming Environment

Pizza is one of my very favorite foods and, when it’s being prepared by the folks who run Riversdale Deli, I know it’s going to be good.

Capanna Pizzeria is located around the corner from Riversdale Deli. Big windows facing east mean that the restaurant is full of sunshine, a welcome sight on one of our cold, wintery days.

Passing by on the street, you can watch the chefs rolling out the pizza dough. Step through the door, and you’ll feel right at home. This isn’t a big, intimidating restaurant. There’s bench seating under the window and a scattering of wooden tables and chairs.

Behind the marble-topped bar is a brick wall lined with bottles of wine and there’s a mural of Italy on the wall in the kitchen area. The kitchen is open so you can chat with Chef Darby Kells and have a look at the pizza oven.

The pizza oven is hi-tech fancy. It has three different heating sources, all of which can be individually controlled. The rotating stone disc heats the pizza crust from below; there’s another heat source up above to cook the pizza toppings; and the flickering flames in the back are designed to ensure that the edges of the crust are cooked to perfection. It’s self-ventilated so the chefs aren’t roasting.

You won’t be kept waiting for your food as pizzas bake in one and a half minutes!

Riversdale Delicatessen prides itself on stocking the finest local and international ingredients. You’ll find that same attention to quality at Capanna Pizzeria.

The tomato sauce is made from San Marzano tomatoes and the pizzas are topped with fresh, locally-grown basil from Floating Gardens.

If you like the buffalo mozzarella on your pizza, you can probably take some home with you from the Deli, along with OO flour from Italy, garlic from Elbow (Meadowlark Farm) and fresh greens from Biggar (Jenn's Garden).

Some Saskatoon restaurants offer great food, but their wine list is disappointing. I was delighted to find that Capanna offers a great selection of international wines, all distributed by Doug Reichel, Fine Wines Sask.

Beer drinkers will be pleased to find Nokomis Craft Ales are available on tap, and the gin and vodka are from Lucky Bastard Distillers.

There are five kinds of pizza, a calzone, a variety of appetizers and two desserts. Vegetarians have several different choices.

Cathy and I tried the Margarita and the Wild Mushroom pizzas. The crusts are thin and crisp, and not overdone, which can be a problem in other restaurants. The tomato sauce was lovely and the tart, fresh arugula and basil were an excellent counterpoint.

I recommend Capanna Pizzeria and will definitely be making a return visit. It’s the kind of place I’d feel very comfortable coming on my own for a meal or a glass of wine and an appetizer, but it’s also a great place to go as a couple or with a group of friends.

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