Newly opened Pizza Fabrika gets a slice of the West End
Pizza Fabrika (1680 Robson Street) is a small pizzeria owned by brothers Stephen and Michael Wiese. The duo of restaurateurs and chefs formerly owned La Brasserie on Davie Street, but sold the Franco-German bistro about a year ago to focus on Pizza Fabrika.
Here, the pizzas are similar to Neapolitan style, a trend that’s been growing in Vancouver over the past few years. The majority of Neapolitan pizzerias, however, are located in East Van, so it’s nice to see one open in the West End (although it must be noted that the much-loved Nook has been serving up great casual Italian fare—including pizzas—on Denman for about five years).
Pizza Fabrika has nine pizzas ($13 to $18) on the menu—all 12 inches—including one kids’ cheese pizza. The toppings range from the simple and classic Funghi, which features fresh seasonal mushrooms, to the luxe Flammkuchen, which includes double-smoked bacon, crispy pork crackling, housemade crème fraiche, and caramelized onions.
At a recent media preview, I had a chance to taste several of the pizzas. The seemingly simple Margherita Fabrika stood out, with its roasted yellow and orange tomatoes, silky fior di latte, and basil so fresh it must have been picked that day. The pizza dough is a thin crust that still holds the sauce and toppings well. It also has some nice bubbles and chewiness around the edges.
Another hit was the Puttanesca, topped with mild white anchovies, caper berries, olives, garlic, red onion slices, and lemon zest. It’s not a pizza that will appeal to everyone—there are anchovies on it after all—but for diners seeking a light and fresh pie, this one does taste like summer in the Mediterranean.
Aside from pizzas, the restaurant also offers a few appetizer and side dishes ($5 to $8). The Caprese salad, once again, shows off those beautiful orange and yellow heirloom tomatoes, fior di latte, and fresh basil. An unusual menu item is dukkah, a dish that consists of a crushed hazelnut and spice mix, extra virgin olive oil for dipping, and warm bread sticks—at Pizza Fabrika, bite-sized balls of pizza dough are substituted. Dukkah is an Egyptian dish that is apparently very popular in Australia as well.
Desserts change daily and are served in small jars ($5 for restaurant diners and $6 to take the jar home). On the night that I was there, I tried the chocolate mascarpone and lemon tart, which were both excellent. The lemon tart features a not-too-tart curd, with pieces of tart crust mixed in, and topped with fresh local blueberries. I really couldn’t stop dipping into the chocolate mascarpone, which has a light mousse texture and comes with liqueur-soaked cherries, and white chocolate shavings. Think of it as Black Forest cake in a jar.
A beverage list of seven wines available by the glass or bottle and about a dozen local and imported beers rounds out the menu. I enjoyed the 311 Helles lager from Coal Harbour Brewing Company, which is actually made in East Van, but a glass of Bartier Scholefield rosé would pair very nicely with pizza as well, especially the Puttanesca.
Pizza Fabrika is open seven days a week for dinner.