Pizzeria Prima Strada is a family-run pizzeria located in the Cook Street Village of Victoria, BC, Canada. There is also another location in Victoria on Bridge Street, but this review is based on our experience at the original Cook Street location.
There are many Victoria restaurants serving Italian food, but surprisingly few Italian restaurants, i.e., authentic, regional, and run by people of Italian heritage. By my count, there are perhaps a half dozen establishments I would say are “authentic” Italian. Pizzeria Prima Strada is one of those.
My friend and I arrived at the restaurant on a Saturday a bit after 5PM. We found nearby street parking in Cook Street Village (a major accomplishment), and after entering the pizzeria, found a table for two with no problem. This is a popular place, as we found out as we sat through our meal for about two hours. By the time we left, the place was full, including the bar stools, which overlook the kitchen.
After being seated, we were promptly greeted by our server, served some water, drink order taken, and menus left to peruse. There were no specials, but there were several draught beers on tap that were on a chalkboard on the wall, which didn’t appear on the menu. The pizza oven is huge, and is wood-fired – great fun to watch if you have a bar seat!
As an aside, I always have to give extra marks to any restaurant which places their kitchen in plain view of its patrons. If they have the courage to keep their cooks/chefs “out front”, then I have confidence in their food handling practices…which is a great start to a good food experience in my books.
My friend ordered a Rapini e Salsiccia pizza accompanied with a house white wine. These personal-sized pizzas are thin crust with fresh toppings, and being authentic Italian, the pizzas are not loaded with a gooey cheese topping. The ingredients for this pizza: house-made sausage, rapini, fresh mozzarella, chili oil, and parmigiano, all tastefully arranged on the fresh-made thin and crispy crust.
I ordered Polpette della Casa, and a Peroni beer (Italian, on tap). This Primi has four nice-sized meatballs, sprinkled with shaved parmigiano and swimming in a spicy tomato sauce, with house bread. This is supposed to be a shared starter, but I kept it to myself as a main course, and finished off my meal with a cappuccino.
We both enjoyed our meals, and the service was very good. The meatballs were outstanding, and the pizza was tasty and nicely prepared, but needed some “oomph”. Flaked peppers and pepper oil were provided, but it would be nice to have a bit more spiciness cooked into the pizza ingredients instead. Having draft Italian beer on tap is a bonus, since the Italians don’t just make great wine! The house made bread and pizza dough makes all the difference to every item this restaurant offers.
The room is small and has high ceilings, so it gets noisy. The takeout orders are handled by the greeters/front end staff, which means they are often distracted with pickups. Table service was fine, but not outstanding. Otherwise, the place has great ambience, and we both enjoyed ourselves.