Friday, October 17, 2014

There is always a new buzz in the foodie community whenever the dynamic duo (Michele Forgione and Stefano Faita) opens a new restaurant. I rarely go to pizzeria. One simple reason, we order pizza every time we have a departmental meeting, which occurs on a weekly basis. After our memorable dining experience at Impasto, we did not hesitate to try out GEMA. They already won our hearts with their out-of-this-world pasta, so we gave it a shot to try out their pizza. 

We went for lunch on a Saturday. We arrived 15 mins before opening since they do not take reservations. We were first in line to get first pick at a properly lighted table. The lunch menu is divided into 3 sections - appetizers, pizzas and frozen custard.  You can opt for a 2- or 3- course meal. 

There are two appetizers to choose from - fried calamari or the JTM salad. The JTM salad consists of fresh produces of the day chosen from the Jean-Talon Market. That day, it was a beetroot-ricotta salad. We ended up ordering the fried calamari served with a simple lemon wedge. The batter is light, well-seasoned with hints of spices. Simple and addictive.

Moving on to the pizzas. The recipe of the dough took a good two years to perfect it. The texture is noticeably different than other pizzeria. It is thin, lightly chewy with a crispy bottom. It can be folded in half without any cracking. 

There were four choices of pizza on their lunch menu. Our first choice was the 1889 pizza simply known as the margherita pizza. This simple tomato sauce has a sweet velvety taste is melded with melted slices of cow milk's mozzarella and basil for added freshness.

We also chose the Impasto pizza which is topped with their famous homemade porchetta, pimiento, smoked caciocavallo and some drizzles of salsa verde - salty, lightly sweet and spicy, a touch of freshness from the salsa verde and fragrance of rosemary. Finally, the menima pizza is topped with a generous amount of pecorino cheese, sauteed escarole for texture, capers and olives for a bit of acidity - a well-balanced pizza.

The soft serve frozen custard is a must order. Similar to ice cream, but these are made with eggs in addition to cream and sugar. You can choose chocolate, vanilla, or twist with a choice of 8 toppings. You can select as many toppings as you want. We asked two waiters for their favourite combo, both gave us the same exact answer - vanilla ice cream, caramel and Baci crumble. Since we are all scientists, it took us a good 10 mins to figure out what's the best flavour combination. We ended up adding crisp pearl to the waiters' suggestion. Our second flavour combination is a vanilla-chocolate twist with fruit coulis and Amarena cherries. Both frozen custards tasted heavenly - creamy, smooth and rich. Just heavenly! No need to say more...

There is nothing outrageous about these pizzas. These are clean, simple and humble toppings with a perfect thin crust that makes them addictive to eat.

1889 - Margherita Pizza
Fried Calamari
Impasto - Porchetta, Pimiento, Smoked Caciocavallo, Salsa Verde
Menina - Escarole, Capers, Olives, Mozzarella, Pecorino
Vanilla-Chocolate Frozen Custard with Amarena Cherries and Fruit Coulis
Vanilla Frozen Custard with Butterscotch Sauce, Baci Crumble, Crisp Pearl
Pizzeria Gema
6827 rue Saint-Dominique
Montreal, QC
H2S 3B1
Pizzeria Gema on Urbanspoon
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