You might have read my previous post re: Art-Is-In Bakery having the best sandwiches in Ottawa and as an update, it still holds true. I have often felt that it was a shame that they were only open during the day for brunch/lunch (when most people have work) and they tend to be very busy on the weekends. I was pleasantly surprised when I heard from Ottawa lifestyle Youtubers, Breton and Casey, that Art-Is-In has recently expanded to open Monday to Friday from 5-10pm for Pizza Nights!
We were very excited to finish off a long week of work and headed over for a TGIF dinner. Unfortunately, we realized that everyone else in town had the same idea. It was packed and there was apparently an 1-hour wait. I was getting hangry, so we ate elsewhere instead. We returned again on a Thursday night this time just past 5pm and it was much better. We were able to get a table for 2 with ease.
Firstly, their drinks menu is on point. On tap are two local craft beers from our beloved Dominion City including our all-time-favourite, Sunsplit IPA. They also feature canned Collective Art’s Jam Up the Mash, which is a great pick for a sour beer. They also have various local and non-local wines. Their coffee menu is not as extensive as during the day for brunch/lunch, however, I did notice they had an affogato, which we were so sure we would get until we realized that we had no stomach space for dessert. Oops.
For food, we decided to start with their spicy Thai wings on special as well as their caesar salad. The wings did not disappoint. The sauce was flavourful but not too overwhelming. The definitely had good Southeast Asian spices and loads of fish sauce. Compared our gold standard for Southeast Asian wings from Phnom Penh in Vancouver, it was definitely more refined and was more focused on the sauce rather than the crisp. As Aaron put it, you can easily eat many of the Phnom Penh wings in one sitting but the complex flavours of these wings would probably need to be savoured more mindfully. Their creamy/ranch-like dipping sauce definitely acted as the cherry on top. I was prepared to dip anything in that! What impressed me what that even their side of veggies was delicious. Their radish and carrots sticks were pickled and united the flavours of the dish. As a matter of fact, even their green beans were delicious!
The caesar was beautifully presented and definitely looked more gourmet than your usual Caesar salad. It was fully loaded with Regianno cheese, dill, garlic croutons, red onions, bacon and their family recipe caesar dressing. There was something in the sauce/cheese that was bitter/blue cheese-like which I couldn’t quite get my finger on, so I am not sure if I can say I’m a fan of this dish.
Next, came the star of the night – the pizza! There was the option of two sizes and given the fact that we had ordered a few starters already, it was recommended we went with the smaller one. Of note, if you order the large pizza, you can choose to do half and half toppings! Tempting, but we knew our limits so we stopped ourselves. Our choice of pizza for the night was “Lost in the Woods”. We saw that most of their toppings are similar across their pies, with most of them containing mozzarella, caramelized onions, honey, fresh herbs mix. The features that stood out for us for this pie was that it had maple fennel sausage and Calabrian buffalo mozzarella. Why would a bakery expand to making pizzas, you may ask? I got my answer as soon as I bit into their pizza. Their sesame sourdough crust is definitely unique and is reminiscent of their crunchy/airy/generously-oiled Dynamite breads in pizza form. It was like a sesame-coated sourdough-focaccia-pizza crust! Their toppings did not disappoint either. The various contrasting flavours and textures between the fresh herbs, the sweet hints of honey and caramelized onions, and savoury/umami from the cheese and sausage made for a very fun experience for our taste buds. We tried a couple of their dipping sauces: the hot Serrano chilli dip and parm dip. In general, I feel dips can definitely add an extra layer of flavours but I feel that they can sometimes take away from being able to savour the actual essence of the pizza. The chilli dip was more like a very olive-ly pesto and not as spicy as we had hoped. The creamy parm dip was amazing, very similar (or the same?) to the dip for our wings. Try dipping the crunchy crust in that and you’ll be in for a treat!
So that concludes our lovely night out at Art-Is-In’s Pizza Night. The final verdict is that we will definitely be back but probably not on a Friday night. Other options include ordering take-out at the counter or online, or delivery via UberEats. (Never used UberEats before? Use code: eats-tangyb22ue for $10 off your first order!). Art-Is-In also having a special Valentine’s Day menu that you can now pre-order. Check it out here.