February 07, 2012

Zoca Pizzeria

Address: 149 Linjiang St, Taipei City (台北市臨江街149號)
Telephone: (02) 2707-2212
Hours: Tues - Fri 11am to 2:30pm, 5:30pm to 9:30pm, Sat - Sun 11am to 9:30pm
Price: $

After eating at l'Olivier on Sunday, I walked around the An-He Road area. There are some good eats down random side streets and I tried to make a mental note of places I wanted to visit. Whilst walking down Linjiang Street, I saw it. A pathetic piece of cardboard taped, caddywompus, on the window. On this cardboard was written "Pizza Nutella $250 NT". Hallelujah.

One of the masterminds behind the pizza creations at Zoca is Veronese pizzaioli extraordinaire, Federico Zocatelli. Zocatelli's pizzas are handmade, affordable, and absolutely delicious. There are 44 varieties of pizza on the menu (indeed, pizza is almost the only thing on the menu) and there's sure to be something to suit everyone. All the pizzas at Zoca are thin crust and served Italian style with sparse toppings (sparse in comparison to American chains like Pizza Hut or Domino's). I wasn't going to be swayed by delicious, hearty, Italian pizzas; no, sir. I needed Nutella like [insert comparable analogy here].
Zoca's interior is relatively spartan with only a couple photos on the wall and basic, minimalist furniture. Basically, Zoca looks like a legitimate Italian pizzeria. Most international food restaurants in Taipei feel the need to be prodigal with "cultural" knickknacks, as if these things lend some sort of legitimacy to the cuisine i.e. if there are a lot of Parisian and French things in the restaurant, surely the cuisine is authentically French. Zoca shows you the cuisine is Italian, and doesn't waste time trying to tell you or sell you.  
Zoca also has a charming outdoor seating area for nicer, warmer days. Though today (again) the weather didn't permit outdoor seating. The floor to ceiling windows are quite lovely in that they overlook the street so you can people watch without being obtrusive. Additionally, these windows were remarkably clean (kudos, window washer).
YAY! My Nutella pizza arrived fresh from the oven with walnuts sprinkled on top! In a country where Nutella crepes are practically nonexistent, I was thrilled that something with Nutella was on a restaurant menu! While the Nutella was obviously flawless, the pizza crust was ... unexpected? That's not true. I knew the pizzas at Zoca are all thin crust, so let's just say that a thin crust Nutella pizza had a logistical problem. When the Nutella was applied (presumably with a spatula), the crust broke in several places and some pieces of the Nutella pizza had to be scooped up with fork and knife. I am deplorably lazy. 
That being said, the crust was just simply wonderful! I loved that it was light, airy, and tasted homemade (which it was). Many pizzerias in Taipei simply cannot reproduce a crust like this one. Much like Taiwanese waffles, bagels, and crepes there's something that's "off" with the consistency of Taiwanese pizzas. Now, Zoca is probably the only place I'll order a pizza from.
I can only imagine what the other, savory pizzas taste like at Zoca! I'm definitely going back to find out! Zoca has Wi-fi and I can chow down on a pizza while working on my novel (novel = really long Facebook message). A match made in heaven. The savory pizzas, like the margherita ($250 NT), are priced much more reasonably than pizzas at chain stores. There are vegetarian pizzas ($350 NT), no-frills marinara pizzas ($180 NT), and dolce vita pizzas ($400 NT). 
In addition to the scrumptious pizzas, Zoca serves homemade Italian desserts made by Zocatelli himself. These are also reasonably priced with panna cotta at $100 NT, ricotta cheesecake at $130 NT, and tiramisu at $140 NT. Sadly, there are no cannolis.

The menu is in Italian, English, and Chinese. If you've been in Taipei long enough and are becoming disgruntled at eating sub-par pizzas that taste nothing like an actual pizza, Zoca is the remedy. If you've been in Taipei for longer than two hours, Zoca is the remedy. Okay, that last one didn't make sense, but I highly urge any and all to visit this pizzeria. It's definitely worth it.

Zoca unfortunately doesn't have a website, but simply Google "Zoca pizza Taipei" and you'll stumble upon more reviews and a Facebook fan page.

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