Address: 478 Bank St, Ottawa
Hours: 4 – 11pm (M), 3 – 11pm (Tue – Wed), 12 – 11pm (Thu – Sun)
Other than seafood, one of the East Coast’s biggest exports has been its people – travelling westward for opportunity, adventure, and love. But when the sons and daughters of the seabound coast pick up and go, it isn’t long before they find themselves yearning for a taste of home. If you happen to be a cook at one of Ottawa’s new wave of hip pizza places, City Goose/Pizza Nerds, you can bring the taste of home to your workplace in the form of the Arlington.
The Arlington ($20) is City Goose’s donair pizza, and following their pizza-naming convention, it’s named after a nearby street in Centretown. It’s also the menu item that brought me back to City Goose as part of my #OttawaDonairQuest, after previously trying out their takeout. Additionally, this was an opportunity to actually eat inside of their restaurant, as it opened during the pandemic and had been closed to diners for most of its existence.
The main dining room is open and welcoming, with lightly coloured woods and earth tones complementing the exposed brick. Seating is spread out among tables, banquettes, and a high top. A mid-week lunch shortly after opening found the place fairly quiet.
Let’s not beat around the bush or awkwardly save it until the end of this blog post so you’ll stay on this website longer – the pizza was very good. My quest for the best East Coast-style donairs that Ottawa has to offer has been a mixed bag, ranging from abject failures to suitable facsimiles. On rare occasions, there’s even been some greats. City Goose does well by the donair, with a flavourful meat that has a hint of spice, and a donair sauce that has a more garlicky punch than any sauces back home do, but I wasn’t complaining.
As for the Arlington’s pizza fundamentals, you can’t brand yourself Pizza Nerds if you don’t know what you’re doing! The crust had a pleasant chew, while the airy cornicione had solid leopard spotting and a light crispness.
The meal wasn’t all nostalgic indulgence though – we also ordered the MacLaren, a white pizza with prosciutto, apples, and goat cheese. A balsamic drizzle added a further layer of rich saltiness. Impressively, my young niece, who is in a fun stage of not liking foods touching each other and picking all the toppings off pizza, ate this without batting an eye. However, there is the possibility that might have been because she would have missed a fraction of a second of YouTube on her iPad to take off the toppings, but still, point: City Goose.
Just so this wouldn’t be a pure pizza meal, we also ordered one of their make-your-own-salad salads, with a simple mix of arugula, kale, pickled red onion and bacon, with an oil and balsamic dressing. Simple, fresh, and guilt-reducing.
Vista número dos
While my donair mission was successful, I was intrigued by some of the house-made sandwiches that City Goose has on their menu. They’ve proven their pizza bonafides, but what about this other hand-held food?
I stopped by on a Friday for a late lunch, and the eat-in crowd was again fairly minimal, so I set up shop by their front window for some prime Bank Street people watching.
They were out of their smoked meat sandwiches, so I went with the David ($16), their steak sandwich. I was feeling indulgent, so I also tacked on a chocolate chip cookie ($3.50).
The David was a top-notch sandwich. The house-baked bread was the star, with the stye of the bread somewhere between a sub bun and doner bread – it was fairly thin, with a crisp exterior and a moist crumb.
As for the steak itself, the thick-cut pieces of beef had a peppery bite that was complemented by the horseradish mayo and arugula, and some tangy, vibrantly pink, pickled red onions.
It wasn’t mentioned on the menu, but the sandwich also came with a small side salad of arugula, Parmigiano, and balsamic reduction.
Last but not least – that chocolate chip cookie. Big, thick, and full of melty chocolate chips, there’s not much more you could ask for!
City Goose is hitting all the right notes with their focused menu and attention to quality, and whether you’re an East Coaster looking to satiate your donair craving, or just looking for a great pizza or sandwich, these Pizza Nerds have you covered.