In its heyday back in the early-to-mid 1990s, long before the wood-fired Neapolitan pizza trend reached Victoria, Pacific Rim Pizza in Market Square was king of the local pizza market. For us beer-addled drunkards stumbling home from Swans, getting a slice of Pac-Rim was simply a repeated rite of passage into the wee hours of dissipating intoxication. Or better, it was a sublime interval before the next set of drinks. Yes, back in that day, no other purveyor of the blessed pie came close to matching the gourmet heights of Pac-Rim Pizza. This was a place that bucked the 2-for-1 trend because they knew their product was superior; they knew pizza enthusiasts would shell out 25 bucks for a single large pie. And we did, countless times over the years. I'm not sure why this place closed. I just remember leaving the country for a few years, returning to find it had vanished.
It's almost unfair to pit different styles of pizza against one another in comparing, but even long after its death, Pacific Rim is still, posthumously, the best pizza in town, and I'd stand on Pizzeria Prima Strada brick oven with dirty fireproof boots and say as much.
Since those beer-fuelled late nights of my youth, and especially after Pac-Rim closed, I've taken a more active interest in perfecting my own pizza recipe, mostly because I discovered over time that I could make a much better, healthier product than 99% of the places that delivered. But on occasion I still like to order in or grab a slice from a local vendor.
Brickyard Pizza, 784 Yates St, Victoria, BC
For a slice or three, I like Brickyard Pizza (next to the Odeon Theatre). However, this place is prone to temperamental fits of inconsistency. I've been in there times when the available slices looked like waxed over slices of day-old McCain frozen pizza. And when I see that, I usually just turn right around and leave. But when these guys are on their game, their slices come very close to the legendary Pac-Rim of yore. Not quite as good, but close enough to tickle my taste buds' collective memory. They serve cheap pints of local micro-brew, including Phillips, which does provide incentive to sit and linger, maybe order that fourth slice after your fifth pint.
Delicious Pizza, 3388 Douglas St, Victoria, BC
Pizza delivery is a bit trickier because there are so many options, most of which are ubiquitously bad. On the advice of one of Victoria's top chefs (who will remain nameless), we've ordered pies from Delicious Pizza a couple of times now and we like it. As far as we know, this place is family owned and operated, which is always preferable to a chain. Delicious does a tandoori chicken pizza, which is surprisingly tasty. I've had curry flavoured pizza before, but this one is the best. Their House Special is also good. The ingredients are fresh and the spice blends and sauce aren't salted into oblivion. It's not as good as Brickyard's best effort, and not as good as my homemade pie, but for a 2-for-1 delivery, Delicious Pizza is reliable, about as good as you're going to get in this city.