Pizza Hotline Vs Za Bistro

A couple of weeks ago, after publishing posts on Nuburger, and Harvey’s, Cory Boehm, a friend and fellow food lover, asked if I had tried either of the new downtown pizza restaurants, Za Bistro, and Pizza Hotline. He said he had been having a conversation with a couple of his friends, and that since both offered similarly priced build you won pizzas, they might make for a good comparison.
As it turned out I had just made my first trip to Za Bistro, recently opened in CityPlace. I didn’t realize Hotline was similar, but on finding that out I thought a comparison post would be a good idea.

Za Bistro.
All the Za Pizza Bistro orders come in take out boxes.

Pizza Hotline Wins the Decor Battle

When it comes to a dining space, Hotline wins hands down. Za Bistro is the middle of the City Place food court, while Pizza Hotline has a stand alone location with a variety of comfortable seating arrangements tucked into Winnipeg Square.

Battle of the Pizzas

I’ll say right off the start that Za Bistro has an advantage in my books because I prefer thin crust pizza. Having said that, unfortunately Pizza Hotline did very little to sway my opinion. I ordered a build your own from Za Bistro. This was a spicy special. It started with a spicy red sauce, included spicy sausage, and salami, along with bacon and ham. Then when I added the vegetables, I included all the hot peppers, and jalapenos I could. The result was a well baked spicy delight.

Za Pizza Bistro vs Pizza Hotline spicy
A spicy build your own from Za Pizza Bistro.

Za Pizza Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
On my first visit to Pizza Hotline, I hoped to replicate the experience from Za Bistro. Unfortunately they don’t offer any spicy sauce, and their meat choices were limited in the spicy department. My biggest disappointment, however, was that their Neapolitan crust turned out to be soggy and flavourless. Crispy on the bottom but mushy on the top.

Hotline Pizza build your own.
Build your own pizza from Hotline.

Thinking that I might just have hit them on a bad day, I went back yesterday to give their pizza another try. This time I chose their signature Italian meats pizza. This is one where they provide the toppings rather than me picking them myself. The pizza was much better cooked this time, but there is still a tendency for their pizza toppings to be soft and the sauce to be kind of runny.

Pizza Hotline signature
Signature Italian Meat Pizza from Hotline.

Then there is the price. The Za Bistro pizzas are $9.95 each compared to $12.00 for the Hotline Pizzas. Between higher quality and lower prices, I’d definitely choose the Za Pizza Bistro pizzas every time.

Battle of the Salads:

Each place offers salads as well as pizza. Za Pizza Bistro offers build you own salads, while Pizza Hotline has three salads to choose from. The Za Pizza Bistro salads are $9.95 for a full and $4.95 for a side. The Pizza Hotline salads are $7.00 for the Greek and Garden, and $8.00 for the Caesar.

Za side salad
Side salad from Za Pizza Bistro.

If you are ordering from Za, go with the full salad, as you get more than twice the salad for about twice the price. I actually preferred the salad from Pizza Hotline. While I had been able to add a variety of toppings when I ordered at Za, my Greek Salad from PIzza Hotline had plenty of each of the four or five ingredients beyond the lettuce.

Hotline Pizza Greek Salad
The Greek salad from Hotline.

This choice is tougher than the Pizza, but I would give Pizza Hotline the edge here. Although, you can add bacon (nature’s perfect food), to any Za salad.


One other difference between the two is that Pizza Hotline is licensed, while Za Bistro is not. This combined with the more pleasing decor might make Pizza Hotline a better choice if your looking to spend time together with company.
However, if good pizza is your first concern, I would say stick with Za Bistro.

11 thoughts on “Pizza Hotline Vs Za Bistro”

  1. I have also tried both and some observations.
    Pizza Hotline has more choice of toppings but clearly Za has so different choices.
    Za uses a converor belt oven and Pizza Hotline uses a stone fired oven.
    Za prep order is sauce, all cheeses, meat, veggies, bake.
    Pizza Hotline prep order is sauce, special cheeses, meet, veggies, mozzarella, bake, finishes.
    This means Za puts fresh basil on before putting the pizza in the oven. There is also the cheese under or over topping debate.
    Za uses a press to stretch their crusts and Pizza Hotline are stretched by hand.
    Donald’s oberservations on the crust I think trace back partly to having unlimited toppings for a fixed price. I have definitely over done it at times resulting it more weight from toppings than the crust can support. I have found picking up a slice by the crust like normal and folding the corners in helps somewhat.
    In general Pizza Hotline also results in a darker crust with darker and lighter spots. The Za crust ends up fairly uniform in colour.
    In addition to being licensed Pizza Hotline has a Pepsi Spire (Coke Freestyle clone) system for fountain drinks while Za is the traditional fountain drinks style.
    My personal preference bus to Pizza Hotline even putting it slightly ahead of Crust Pizzeria at Polo Park. Crust is also stone fired but runs more a curruated menu than build your own like Za and Pizza Hotline.
    It is also worth mentioning that only the Winnipeg Square Pizza Hotline is currently running the build your own pizza menu.

    • Thanks, Cory. Good to know that the build your own is only available at Winnipeg Square Pizza Hotline. I noticed the second time I went to Pizza Hotline that the person taking my order, placed the pizza closer to the front of the oven away from the flame. This seemed to result in a better overall cooked pizza.
      I think Pizza Hotline could do a better job in draining excess liquid from their toppings. They seem to scoop up a fair bit when they scoop the toppings.

  2. We have been to the Za Pizza in St. Vital; we were impressed with the amount of topping choices on their menu. However, it was one of the dirtiest establishments I’ve ever eaten in! It’s a busy place, sure, but staff aren’t quick to bus tables or grab a broom. Other than that, decent pizza at a good price.

  3. Pizza Hotline also has an app which allows you to order your pizza and pay for it, then you can just walk in and grab it at your designated time. Hugely convenient for those of us working downtown.

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