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Eat well with Assembli’s fresh, made-to-order pizzas and salads

Food Notes: New Vancouver restaurant’s mid-range salad and pizza menu is well thought out and executed.

The Smoke & Fire pizza from Assembli.

Abby Wiseman/Metro

The Smoke & Fire pizza from Assembli.

When it comes to pizza in Vancouver there seem to be just two choices: Spend $2 a slice while waiting for a taxi at 2 a.m. or spend $20 for beautiful Nepalese-style thin crust pizza at a sit-down restaurant.

Assembli Pizza and Salad (2325 Cambie St.) wants to fill the gap between the two by offering 11-inch freshly made pizzas that are customizable, fast and fresh, for $12.99. Not one for pizza? They also have a selection of big hearty salads starting at $10.99.

The Wild Cowboy and the O-Mega Brainiac Salads from Assembli.

Abby Wiseman/Metro

The Wild Cowboy and the O-Mega Brainiac Salads from Assembli.

Deanna Embury joined forces with a group of partners to create Assembli with the aim to expand to another location in Vancouver and one in Toronto. Embury was owner of Licious Living Co. – one of the first to deliver healthy, customized food in the city –  before selling it to Spud and taking months to travel and plan her next business.
She incorporates a lot of what Licious is about in Assembli – fresh, made-to-order food with a focus on healthy options.

The pizzas are baked on a fluffy crust that is not too dense, but not too thin. I tried the Smoke & Fire with pepperoni, smoked cheddar, banana peppers, red onion, spicy tomato sauce and the Smooth Crimini Kale with sautéed mushrooms, mozzarella, kale, artichoke, red onion, white sauce.

Deanna Embury is CEO of Assembli.

Abby Wiseman/Metro

Deanna Embury is CEO of Assembli.

The tomato sauce on the Smoke & Fire had a really good heat, which was kicked up a notch by the banana peppers and pepperoni. White sauce is often lost in the ingredients on pizza, but this white sauce really stood out with a rich alfredo flavour. The kale was soft, but fresh and the onions really pulled together. I would have liked a little more mushroom.

All in all, the pizza was tasty and came up fast. Better yet, I didn’t feel that bogged-down gut feeling I often get after mixing my favourite food groups – cheese and bread. I recommend it.

The Smoke & Fire and the Smooth Crimini Kale pizza from Assembli.

Abby Wiseman/Metro

The Smoke & Fire and the Smooth Crimini Kale pizza from Assembli.

On to the abundant salads. I tried the Wild Cowboy with cajun chicken, the O-Mega Brainiac and the Big G.

The Wild Cowboy stood out mostly because it felt indulgent. The roasted corn salsa added sweetness to the lime, chili and pico de gallo. It was a little spicy, but mostly creamy tasting, without actually being creamy.

The Big G and O-Mega Brainiac are what I like to consider the healthy salads that taste like healthy salads, which is kind of the point. The beets and miso glory dressing are juxtaposed by the sweet blueberries making for an earthy salad, while the Big G’s red cabbage, kale and citrus goddess dressing made for a hearty salad with fresher flavours.

Embury’s vision for a mid-range salad and pizza bar is really well thought out and executed. Even the takeout boxes that congratulate the eater for not finishing the pizza are well designed (she seemed particularly proud of them). I recommend checking out Assembli the next time you have a hankering for some pizza pie.

Assembli is located at 2325 Cambie St.

Abby Wiseman/Metro

Assembli is located at 2325 Cambie St.

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