‘Za Best Pizzeria
“Is the ‘Za here yet?” the little guy asks me as he takes a break from pinball games – must be some new 4th grade slang he’s picked up that I’m being treated to, never heard him ask that before! One of the best pizza places in Vancouver, Juliano’s is the ideal family spot. Nearly every time I come here, there are sports teams, mixed with families, couples and people there to watch some game on one of the tv’s they have set up in the corners. A little something for everyone. Video games to keep the kids occupied while you wait for your food – which can take awhile because they cook everything fresh. It’s worth the wait.
Besides the pizza, which is very good although if you get too many toppings it can be a bit overwhelming, I come for the laid back atmosphere. It reminds me of the kind of place I would have hung out at in college – there’s deadhead memorabilia everywhere, including the motto on the doorway … “lately it occurs to me what a long strange trip it’s been…” (and do I agree!) Inside it’s loaded with interesting things to look at, including bumperstickers, posters, a wall of beer taps (they serve beer and wine), and trivial pursuit cards on the table to test your skills while you wait.
The server informs me that the owner just bought some new “deadhead bears” when she sees me taking a shot of them – now I had no idea these had any relation to the grateful dead, but it seems these are special bears designed to view while on acid – or if you google them (I do my research) it’s related to Owsley’s dancing style. See? You learn so much while waiting for ‘Za! I’m actually old enough to have been to several grateful dead concerts and grew up saturated in enough hippie culture that I should know these things – hangs head in shame.
We ordered two small pizzas, because we like different kinds and sadly for you are not as adventurous as many are with their pizzas. I wish I could show you The Grateful Veggie, with sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, feta cheese or the Mooie Macho Taco, the Great White Chicken, Drunken Hawaiian, or the Hurricane – all loaded with numerous ingredients and probably weighing tons … we stuck with pepperoni pineapple and sausage mushroom. I know! But I’m a simple girl.
They were perfect. Not too saucy, just enough crunch around the edges to be satisfying, but not overdone – cooked perfectly and with a little bit of a zing on the mushroom one as they add garlic unless you ask not to. The only slight issue was the liberal amount of grease on the pepperoni – we actually got a second plate to move it to as it was becoming a sauce – however that’s one of the hazards of being a pepperoni lover no matter where you go. The thing about good pizza is what you don’t notice – the crust wasn’t too thick, or too chewy, no problem tearing off bites so you pull the entire topping off onto your face – I actually used a fork and a knife because I’m THAT sophisticated, and because there were so many toppings – but you get my drift, right? This is the kind of pizza you could safely eat in front of a date.
I definitely recommend it – there are few really great, unpretentious, family-friendly places in Vancouver that aren’t either chains or that aren’t so new and trendy that they price themselves a bit out of my market (for pizza anyway) and this is one of them. Great to have options without crossing the river!