This is the popular pizza joint know for their over the top pies. Pizza that has everything and anything topped on it. It was certainly worth the drive out to Steveston, if not for the pizza, but for the viewpoints of this little harbour town. But beware most things close at 6pm there, not including restaurants, luckily.
You locate your destination based on the amount of foot traffic surrounding the corner shop. A scattering of people inside and more waiting on the sidewalk, outside. If lucky you find a place to park by the street. If not, are able to pause in the lot dedicated for harbour visitors.
With its simple awning and logo you can’t tell the grandiose offerings they have on menu, just by looking at it. Their popularity is by word of mouth and photos posted online of their impossibly regal pizzas.
You start by approaching the counter. As first timers we weren’t sure of the etiquette and were searching for a menu. There was no listing above the counter, no propped up sheets by the till. No mentioned of what they sold, other than their name and that you could see rounds of dough being stretched out past the front clerk.
The young lady at the counter wasn’t impressed that we didn’t just know what we wanted, so begrudgingly and without a word she handed us one of the iPads stacked on the counter. They must be doing well to be able to afford iPads as menus, just using them to pull up their online menu. The clerk didn’t smile the whole interaction with us, or say more than three words at a time. In fact she seemed annoyed to be working. Maybe she was the owner’s daughter and was being taken away from a house party this Friday. Either way I was disappointed. I would be paying over $40 for a pizza and expected some show of appreciation for the sale and some show of service for my patronage. I get more from the hourly pizza boy dropping off dominos. With her sour expression, she took our request and our name, after huffing about having to split our bill. It was $45 for a pizza, plus tax, I couldn’t justify spending that alone, so of course I would be sharing the experience and the cost with another. After money was exchanged, we were too scared to ask her how long it would take. It wasn’t worth another glare, so instead we lingered inside waiting for our name to be called.
There wasn’t much room to move around inside. Their service counter came as close to the door as possible, giving more room for their pizza team to keep up with supply. Over six individuals were working behind the counter tonight. They were all needed given the steady traffic and the speed in which you expect pizza once you pay for it. I was not disappointed by this. I only had enough time to notice their wall of celebrity portraits and their refrigerated showcase holding buckets of crab legs before our name was called. We speedily claimed our order and cut out into the cold. The sun was still up but given their proximity to the harbour and the water, the air was cool and it blew our way.
There isn’t really a designated place to eat within the pizzeria. Just a counter and a few stools facing out the window. Instead, it is recommend to take your pizza to go. It is after all conveniently served in a to-go box and there is a park with picnic benches just across the street. Following the trend of seasoned pizza pros we eventually did just that. Although I’d like to note that our pizza was stacked high with ingredients and the lid couldn’t fully close, without squishing down the presentation. And I was here for the promised tower of toppings. We were not given any napkins to eat with and given the bodies that closed in after we left, and the memory of the sour faced clerk, we decided to cut our losses and just use the box of facial tissues I had in the car.
As for the pizzas themselves, with over 45 different combinations of toppings there is sure to be something you like, and more that you have never tried. There are so many choices that they help you narrow it now with creative names and easy to navigate categories. Pizza arranged by themes: colours, elements, countries, and items you would find in a castle.
The colours describe a feature ingredient. The “blue” includes Stilton cheese mousse with rosemary smoked bacon, caramelized onions, mushrooms, and baby spinach. “Orange”, for the saffron cream sauce with spinach, honey glazed yam, pineapple and feta. And “black” for figs, “pink” for smoked salmon, and “green” for an herb pesto butter and scallions.
The “journey” pizzas are a trip around the world with iconic international ingredients. The “Hawaiian”, “Canadian”, and “Mediterranean” were easy enough to guess with pineapple, back bacon, and feta with olives. It got interesting with the “Japan” and it’s non tomato sauce pizza. Instead it was a wasabi-scented teriyaki with chicken breast, enoki mushrooms, camembert cheese, and sesame seaweed julienne. The “French” featured asparagus with a creamy Brie. And the “Thai” was Thai chicken, essence of coconut, lime leaves, spinach, onion, roasted red peppers and pink lady apples.
Moving on to “elements”. The “earth” pizza was a vegetable pizza with a variety of cheese and mushrooms, tomato, and garlic. “Water” not surprisingly included crustaceans from the sea like shrimp and real crab. The “fire” was a spicy pizza featuring capicolli, roasted pimento peppers and fresh jalapeños. I couldn’t identify the theme of “wind”, but guess it is to do with the lightness of the ingredient list? Like spinach, artichokes, fresh seedless tomatoes and basil pesto. And they also had a “fifth element” which included a bit of each, all in a sesame seed crust. Basil-kissed tomato filets, mushrooms, hearts of brie and mozzarella.
Running out of elements, they began naming pizzas after a “parallel world” with its own elements. Where fire was “flame” and a BBQ chicken pizza with jalapeño; and Water was “mist” with smoked salmon and crab.
There were plenty of tempting and unique options from my recap above, but we were here for what put them on the Vancouver foodie scene. They are best known as the home of the most expensive pizzas in the city, which fell under the “castle” category. The one that topped this list was the $850 “seenay”. That’s a lot for any one meal, let alone a pizza, but given its impressive list of high end ingredients, the price tag made more sense. This was a medley of tiger prawns, lobster ratatouille, smoked steelhead, Russian Osetra caviar, and Italian white truffles. By comparison, the second most expensive pizza wasn’t so bad, it was $690 less, but still pricy at $160. This was the “Queen” and it included roasted garlic, Icelandic scampi, smoked steelhead, and lobster ratatouille. And here I was thinking spending $24 for a 12 inch was much, which is the price for all their other more modest pizzas.
I can only imagine the income of a person able to drop close to $1000 after tax and tip for one meal, and on the common pizza of all things. What’s next gold gilded hot dogs for $1200? Based on Instagram this baller pizza was mostly enjoyed by petite Chinese women from China. They also owned pink Lamborghinis and Hermes handbags that are disposable. I love food as much as the next person, and have been known to spend plenty on a taste. But I could never justify spending $800 on a 12 inch pizza that would make at most make up three meals. There is no way to hack it, that will have it being worth it to me. Best as a publicity stunt and something to bring the customers in to ogle.
As for what I could afford, we looked to the most inexpensive of the “castle” series, still wanting a little glitz and to be be able to say we too got a pricy pizza from Stevenson. It was the “princess” and “oui” at $35 each. One was for land and the other sea. The “princess” included shrimp, crab, and tiger prawns. You were clearly paying for the catch of the day. “Oui” focused on the caramelized duck confit, bocconcini, enoki mushrooms, chives and tomato relish.
But like wine, you never go for the cheapest label, you go for the second cheapest, to give you a finer air of sophistication. Like you have money and have made your choice based on what you want and not what you can afford. So we went for the third from the bottom at $45 for 12 inches.
There was also an a $40 “knight” pizza that featured fine meats: a 24-month aged Iberico ham, buffalo mozzarella, brie, semi-dried roma tomatoes, and dollop of roasted garlic mousse. However the real visual treat was the seafood pizza, so we paid $5 more for the “mermaid” at $45. When you share it and the cost between two, it isn’t no so bad. This is what I imagined mermaids liking pizza would eat, if they ate other sea animals. After all crustaceans are just the bugs of the sea. Shrimp, crab legs, tiger prawns, and smoked salmon. This was absolutely photo worthy, as it no longer looked like pizza. This was a mound of seafood stacked on an edible dough and tomato sauce plate. Though they could could have pointed the crab legs together or placed the prawns in a circle to created some design. Here they stacked them like chopped wood. But alas, I was crossing another must try from the Vancouver foodie bucket list.
The tiger prawns were thoughtfully removed from shell and easy to eat. We dug into these first enjoying them as is. There were plenty of small shrimp left on the actual pizza, to enjoy with the actual pizza. They were big and juicy, and didn’t need any additional flavouring. Although we could have easily smeared some marinara sauce over each and pretended we were enjoying a prawn cocktail. With the tiger prawn alone the price we paid was worth it. At steakhouses we have ordered shrimp cocktails with 3 shrimp or 3 prawn at $20 a serving. This was a good deal for 11 prawns and a handful of shrimp. The 11th shell is missing from my photo above because we left it uneaten on the pizza. We had over half of the pizza as leftovers.
I wished the crab legs were as easy to eat, however it would have taken away from the visual presentation, and I didn’t want that. So without a nut cracker in hand or the ability to wash hands and mouth if I got all in, we left the legs for another time. In hindsight, the outdoor eating of crab legs isn’t normally done.
The rest of the pizza was your standard margarita with tomato sauce, cheese, basil, and prawn. It was a delicious pizza with a crispy crust. I can see why it brought all the boys to the yard.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
For this much for a pizza you expect better service, or some, or even just a greeting. It was the only thing that soured our first time experience. Shame as we made the trip out and have been looking forward to this, up to this point. Although the pizza itself did not disappoint. Even if you ordered seafood and pizza separately, at two different restaurants it wouldn’t be as good. This was a deal, several dishes all in one, for a flat rate. You paid for novelty and got taste as a bonus. This was a fun trip out and would be the place to bring someone in to impress. But the novelty may wear thin, each time you see the bill and consider it is for a pizza. Pizza where a slice goes for $2 at most places. But I guess you were paying for the status of having such a meal. Because nothing fancies up a dish than seafood. Take something traditionally cheap and make it expensive by adding lobster! Don’t deny your cravings.