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There is no mistaking the popularity of Italian fare among foodies in the tri-city. A look at the Italian menus across the restaurant and you realise that the days of a pizza with a thick, clumpy crust are out. It is all about thin crusts and there are now a plethora of options when it comes to toppings. The gourmet makeover comes with toppings like rocket leaves, smoked chicken, grilled aubergine, artichoke, zucchini and the likes. For the weight watchers, there is always the option of a wheat crust too. Here is my pick for gourmet pizzas in the city.
Inspired by the southern region of Italy, the dishes at Virgin Courtyard are a refreshing mix of salads, hand-rolled pastas and pizzas. The cool interiors are welcoming and it is the thin crust pizzas here that have us salivating. Steered by Chef Hari, the menu is always evolving and the summer special we liked is the ‘It’s Greek to me’ Pizza.
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35 Brewhouse is indeed the region’s first microbrewery located inside a five-star hotel. Designed like a German brewhouse, the interiors and warm and woody. Speaking of which, the wood-fired pizzas are a speciality here. Do try the Pizza Primavera that packs in asparagus, broccoli, bell pepper, onion, zucchini, mozzarella, parmesan and tomato sauce.
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There are a few standalone Italian restaurants in the city. Among them is Piccante. Housed in Hyatt Regency, Chandigarh, this Italian fine-diner is steered by Italian Chef Gianfranco. The thin-crust pizzas are a must-try here. The chef is always using seasonal produce for his toppings but the Tonno Cipolla is among the favourites. The toppings include tuna, tomato, mozzarella and red onion.
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At this microbrewery, pizzas are quite popular. It is also the perfect accompaniment to the freshly brewed beer. The menu makes room for most popular favourites including some desi flavours but the pizzas are well done. The exotic Veggie Pizza packs in zucchini, bell pepper, baby corn, olives and capsicum. It is the Chicago Style Pizza that we like in the non-vegetarian line-up. There is also a Mexican flavoured Pizza that is fiery but goes well with the cold beer.
The only all-vegetarian Italian cafe in the city is one of the few places in the city that makes the most of the season’s fresh produce. They roll out their thin-crust pizzas in front of diners and bake it in the wood-fired oven housed within the restaurant. When it comes to toppings, there is plenty to choose from. Think asparagus, artichokes, rocket leaves and more. There is also a Four Cheese Pizza that tops the base with white sauce, buffalo mozzarella cream cheese, smoked scamorza and blue cheese. Truly a delight!
The city’s most popular cafe offers a range of 10-inch ultra-thin crust pizzas. We like the fact that there is generous use of toppings and the pizzas are not too cheesy. Those who like classic flavours will relish the Spinaci made using fresh spinach, mozzarella and lots of garlic. The Al Proscuitto is another favourite and brings in tomatoes, cooked ham and mozzarella. Those who like a more filling pizza can opt for the Scamorza Pizza that pairs smoked chicken with smoked cheese.
A seasoned journalist, Jagmeeta has worked with The Indian Express for 16 years writing extensively on food, popular culture and fashion. A Master's in English, she completed her honours in Journalism from Delhi University and started her career in journalism with New Delhi Television (NDTV) as a reporter. She was part of the launch team for NDTV.com. Having turned a freelance writer and editor in 2016, she has been writing for The Hindustan Times, Chandigarh and is also a contributor for The Voice of Fashion steered by IMG Reliance Ltd as well as Chandigarh's popular lifestyle portal - simplythecity.com. When she's not reviewing food or dissecting the season's trends, she likes to travel with her daughter and husband, a professional photographer. A photography enthusiast herself, Jagmeeta has also curated photo exhibitions and calls herself a collector of cookbooks and recipes and a proud 'fauji' daughter and sister.