Published May 10, 2010
Much like a glowing campfire and a hearty round of Kumbaya, pizza brings people together. Just look at how easily the suffix “–party” is slapped on the end. It truly is the global unifier, calling for a setting aside of petty differences to engage in the delicate compromise of topping selection and further imploring you to put a pin in your typically judgemental tendencies when your fellow pizzapartier enthusiastically shouts out “hey, how about jalapeños, tuna and blue cheese!” and you momentarily think to yourself “who the hell invited this guy?” before remembering that the end outcome is still going to be cheesy, hot, delicious pizza. Yes, pizza makes people happy.
Ever on the hunt for eternal happiness by way of pizza the Grapevine has sampled the goods of six of Reykjavík’s pizzerias. Order wisely, dear readers.
The Rules: The goal was to review every pizza one could get home delivered in the 101 area, so as to help out folks who frequently find themselves hung over in that postal code, and we are pretty sure we’ve done it (if you run a pizzeria that delivers to 101 and we forgot about you, drop us a line). Quality and abundance of toppings; thickness and texture of crust; and flavour and volume of sauce all factored into the reviewers considerations, as did the toppings:sauce:crust ratio of each pie.
After a quick perusal of Wilson’s surprisingly wonderful website (only in Icelandic) I ordered the Rambo, offering a promising combination of chicken, pepperoni, mushrooms, jalapeño’s and cheddar cheese. It was the cheddar that reeled me in—a welcome change from the ubiquitous goudas of varying fat percentages. The staff manning the phone didn’t know what Rambo was when I ordered it and asked which Rambo I wanted despite there only being one. In his defence there are pizza’s called Rocky I and Rocky II on the menu and Stallone was in his prime likely before the young fellow was even born.
The pizza that arrived was hot and fresh tasting with a surprisingly strong kick to it. It didn’t entirely blow my mind, but it was a good pizza nonetheless. My main issue was with the crust, which was lacking in the flavour department.
What We Think: Decent pizza; not the best, not the worst.
Flavour on Arrival: Spicy, tasty, but not mind-blowing.
Flavour once Cold: Better than when hot, actually.
Delivery Time: 43 minutes
This little pizzeria has grown out of the old Pizzuverksmiðjan on Lækjargata. It’s actually right by my home so ordering a pizza to be delivered felt like just about the laziest thing I could be doing. Still, thems the rules, so happily upon my couch I sat waiting for a pizza to be delivered from perhaps 300 meters down the road. This time around I opted for a selection of seafood toppings. Specifically, I ordered Il Piacere del Mare (shrimp/tuna/onion/artichokes/garlic), but I nixed the tuna and asked them to toss on some mussels and cream cheese instead.
Thirty-six minutes later I was in foodie heaven! I don’t know how Gamla smiðjan managed it, but I think I can honestly proclaim that theirs is the best pizza I’ve ever tasted. The crust is thin and crisp, but not dry; the sauce is subtle yet flavourful; the toppings taste high quality and there’s just the right amount of them. Delightful!
What We Think: Goddamn, that’s good pizza.
Flavour on Arrival: Delicious.
Flavour once Cold: Still delicious.
Delivery Time: 36 minutes
Website: Gamla Smiðjan on Facebook
Three pizzas in I was looking for some competition, so I went with Eldsmiðjan, the loins from whence my (so far) front-runner Gamla smiðjan sprung. I even ordered a similar pizza—trio di mare (shrimp/scallop/mussels/artichokes/garlic/black and green olives/oregano), sans olives. I don’t like olives.
Eldsmiðjan’s pizza is delicious, the toppings are fresh and bountiful and the sauce is well balanced, sandwiched between the crust and cheese. My sole point of contention where Eldsmiðjan is concerned is the texture of their crust. Maybe it’s too thin? Maybe it could use another minute or two in the oven? I don’t like when my pizza is so floppy.
Mini-competition verdict: Eldsmiðjan makes a pretty great pizza, there’s no arguing that but, this round goes to Gamla smiðjan.
What We Think: Good and tasty pizza, just slightly limp.
Flavour on Arrival: Wonderful.
Flavour once Cold: Still good.
Delivery Time: 47 minutes
Dear Hrói Höttur,
This is not a love letter. I don’t know how you managed to make your pizza sauce taste so oddly sweet and everything else taste like nothing. It really does boggle the mind. What was also boggling was how perfectly round and uniform your pizza was. Do you use pre-fab crust? It kinda tasted that way and it kinda tasted like cardboard.
I made a huge mistake daring to continue my “same toppings as the previous two” challenge on you. Like drinking tap water in Mexico. It didn’t taste good and it didn’t feel so good either.
Still, I’ll give you a point because you steal from the rich and give to the poor or something like that. And maybe I’ll give you another shot when my taste buds are intoxicated enough to not know the difference. You’re probably okay then.
What We Think: Sweet? Bland? Meh.
Flavour on Arrival: Meh/Blech.
Flavour once Cold: Still bad.
Delivery Time: 35 minutes
Rizzo’s pizza was a pleasant surprise. Craving variety and wanting to spoil myself I first gravitated to Rizzo’s Lúxus menu, deciding upon the Palermo (garlic/marinated lobster/cherry tomatoes/cucumber/leek/lettuce/lime dressing) and then I tossed in a Pavia (ham/mushroom/asparagus/camembert) as well.
When I opened the box and had a look at my ‘luxury’ pizza I was slightly disappointed. It was iceberg lettuce soggily spread over top of the pizza that had been generously drizzled with the lime dressing. I don’t really know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t that. Looks can be deceiving, I suppose, because this pizza was actually pretty great. The Pavia could have used some more camembert, but was also rather delicious. If these guys were to thin out their crust a little more I’d consider them a real contender.
What We Think: What a pleasant surprise!
Flavour on Arrival: Quite tasty.
Flavour once Cold: … it was all eaten while hot.
Delivery Time: 53 minutes
Domino’s is the kind of place that seems to taste the exact same no matter what continent you are ordering on. Like McDonalds. If the pizza were consistently amazing then I’d applaud their effort at quality control. But the pizza is often average.
I ordered the Crème Mexicano (green pepper/mushrooms/red onion/fajita chicken/cream cheese) and the Domino’s Paradís (mushroom/black olives/garlic/grilled pepper/red onion/spinach). Again, I vetoed the olives. I was optimistic when the fellow taking my order asked if I would like normal crust or thin crust; I chose thin. Understandably I was let down when the pizza that arrived at my house a short while later was the thickest crust I had sampled in Reykjavík. Thick and bready.
The toppings on both pies were abundant, making for a hefty slice with that thick crust and all. The chicken on the Mexicano pizza could very well have just been a boiled breast as it lacked any flavour that would hint ‘fajita’ and, come to think of it, the lack of ‘oomph’ was my issue with all the toppings, actually. It was tasty, but a little seasoning would go a long way. Turn it up a notch, Domino’s!
What We Think: Needs more oomph!
Flavour on Arrival: Average pizza.
Flavour once Cold: Kinda better than when hot.
Delivery Time: 35 minutes