Not the same old, tired pizza

Jonathan Pobre

From its founding in Laguna Beach, Calif., in 1986, Zpizza has been serving up a uniquely healthy pizza experience.

Their Porter Ranch location near the Whole Foods Market on Rinaldi and Tampa, is a great place for lunch or dinner, or for carrying items out to bring home, to a party or campus gathering.

The company considers preparing and serving their food an art form, and their menu and advertising boast a unique philosophy in serving their customers: use the freshest ingredients to make authentic and health-conscious food. Their 100 percent certified organic wheat dough is prepared fresh every day from Montana winter-wheat flour, and they use 100 percent organic tomato sauce. Their classic ingredients like pepperoni and Italian sausage are MSG- and additive-free.

There’s something for everyone at Zpizza as the menu is packed with a variety of salads, pastas and sandwiches, along with no fewer than 15 specialty pizzas inspired by different cultures and culinary styles.

Customers can also customize their own pizzas, starting with a white or whole wheat crust and working up to their choice of various sauces, cheeses and toppings. Prices start at $6.95 and $1.25 per ingredient for a 10-inch pizza, or make any pizza into a calzone for $6.95. Along with the usual toppings found at other restaurants, Zpizza offers exotic ingredients like shiitake mushrooms, zucchini and caramelized onions.

Lunch specials combine their items with a fountain drink at a discount, making it easy on the wallet. Choices include two pizza slices for $5.95, a larger personal pizza $10 and a garden or Caesar salad with one pizza slice for $6.50.

Most of the pizzas are prepared and fire-baked fresh to order and served by friendly staff. They don’t skimp on the toppings, as they are plentiful and distributed evenly across the pie.

The Italian pizza with pesto, Wisconsin low-fat mozzarella cheese, ham, artichoke hearts, tomatoes and black olives is a great example of their artful combination of ingredients. My taste buds were given a chance to take in each ingredient’mdash;I knew that the ham was ham and the tomatoes were tomatoes. The cheese was delicious and melted in my mouth (though, not being much of a cheese connoisseur, I wouldn’t immediately know that it was from Wisconsin).

Another unique offering, the ZBQ, includes tangy barbecue sauce and chicken along with roasted red peppers, red onions, tomatoes, fresh cilantro and sweet corn.

The crusts on both of these pizzas were evenly crisp and hot without much of the greasy feeling that other pizzas usually leave me with.

For those with room left for dessert, the apple pie pizza is sure to please that sweet tooth. Made with cinnamon-roasted Fuji apples, caramel, mascarpone cheese and roasted almonds, and topped with powdered sugar, it is as delicious as it sounds. Patrons can also indulge in Haagen-Dazs ice cream by the pint, Miss Vickie’s potato chips and fresh-baked cookies.

The indoor dining area features comfortable seats and tables to accommodate couples or a small group. The maroon tablecloths, colorful walls and artwork featuring their ingredients make the restaurant look and feel more relaxed like a coffee shop rather than a pizza parlor.

The restaurant is a convenient 10-minute drive from campus, and ample parking is available in the shopping center. Items can also be ordered for take-out and delivered within a 3 mile radius.

Although Zpizza is a chain itself (with other Valley locations in Woodland Hills and Burbank), it is a solid alternative to other large chain pizza stores, with a great selection of delicious and healthy eats.

19300 Rinaldi St.,
Unit F-2
Porter Ranch, CA 91326
(818) 363-2600

11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Friday and Saturday:
11 a.m. – 10 p.m.