Atomica Gourmet Pizza and Wine Bar (Kingston) – An excellent contender
It is a debate that I’ve heard in the call rooms and the residents’ lounge. Which is better? Atomica or Woodenhead’s? To be honest, each have their merits and it is up to you to decide which you would prefer to go to. You can check out my previous post on Woodenhead’s pizza here.
Atomica has a pretty happenin’ atmosphere. It is a bit dim on the inside, a touch on the cool blue side, but certainly it is quite atmospheric. It has a certain pretension about it that is nice when you feel like you want to be fancy but annoying when all you want is good pizza. The patio is nice, not as bustling as Woodenhead’s on Ontario St. but it can be appreciated for its solitude.
It sells itself as a wine bar but I am not a sommelier therefore I am not good at evaluating their wine list. They do, however, have 4 different types of Mojitos. That is certainly worth mentioning.
This is the Retro (basil pesto, mozzarella, roasted chicken, sundried tomato, roasted red peppers, goat cheese) for $15. This pizza rocks. The roasted chicken was a touch dry and tasted like it came pre-prepared from a package. The goat cheese was delicious and the pesto melded nicely with it. The crust was a bit disappointing as it was too thin and crispy, without substance. Overall, an excellent pizza.
This is the Salumi (tomato sauce, mozzarella, calabrese salami, Italian bacon, sausage) for $16. A bit pricey but the meat was salty and stinky, the way I like it. It could use a bit more cheese and it could be a touch spicier but it was a delicious pizza. Again, the crust was lacking, especially in comparison to Woodenhead’s.
So, where do I stand on the great debate? Here is a snapshot of my current thinking. It is liable to change.
Woodenhead’s Pros – The crust is amazing. The outdoor patio is fantastic for people watching and is quite bustling.
Woodenhead’s Cons – The inside is scorchingly hot (borderline unbearable). You must sit outside as the oven is deadly. Can be a bit noisy on the patio, especially with respect to Harley’s cruising down Ontario St. Ingredients are not as fresh or inventive when compared to Atomica (except for the Nona Mela which is a slam dunk choice in my opinion).
Atomica Pros – Styish interior. Excellent ingredients and inventive combinations. Patio is quiet.
Atomica Cons – Patio is quiet. Crust is too thin, flaky, and a touch dry.
You can make your decision. I still alternate between the two.
Addendum from a meal on October 28, 2008:
Went to Atomica to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Had the same pizzas I had above. Again, the toppings and ingredients are great. The crust was particularly tough, crispy, and dry today. I much prefer Woodenhead’s crusts.
Also tried the calamari (chilled spicy olive marinated calamari, artichokes, arugula) for $12. Don’t try this. The calamari was gummy, not flavourful, and difficult to eat. The artichokes could’ve been more zippy. Sadly, the best part of this dish was the arugula.
Addendum May 18, 2010 –
I went to Atomica again and this time was compelled to try something other than the pizza. I apologize in advance for the dim photos.
This is the Gnocchi V (spinach, gorgonzola dolce cream, pinenuts) for $10. This is the appetizer portion. It is called Gnocchi V because it is vegetarian but I feel like I am eating something from a Star Trek series. The portion size was pretty dismal (yes I know it is appetizer size but still…). I guess it was only $10 but I swear that I’ve eaten a Michelina’s that was bigger. The gnocchi was nicely textured and the gorgonzola cream was subtle. I hate it when blue cheese is overpowering. Other than size, a good dish.
This is the Fusilli (house spicy fennel sausage, cremini mushrooms, tomatoes, parmigiano) for $15. I find fusilli a funny pasta. It reminds me of the stuff my mom makes, especially if it is the multicolour kind. This was a pretty tasty dish, especially the mushrooms. The portion size was reasonable. I couldn’t really taste the fennel in the sausage.
This is the Atomica pizza (la bomba spicy tomato sauce, mozzarella, mushrooms, calabrese salami, pepperoncini) for $15. Now this is a delicious pizza! So much meat. So flavourful. So spicy! Do not eat if you have any cuts in your mouth. I really love the ingredients in Atomica pizza but I just wish the crust was a bit chewier and less burnt. It doesn’t taste burnt but the texture is just a bit hard on my soft palate.
Woodenhead’s still is champ but Atomica is a nice place to mix it up. They also have a smaller line-up and you can easily eat here without a reservation… usually.
Atomica, 71 Brock St., Kingston, ON, 613-530-2118, www.atomica.ca