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Finding The Best Pizza In Uganda

If you are in Kampala and just gotta have your pizza

Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN  Jan 06, 2010

A long-standing dispute by Kampala’s food critics over who produces the best pizza in Kampala was settled recently when a group of judges, comprised of amongst others, Uganda’s leading media food writers from the New Vision, the Monitor, the Observer, the Red Pepper, and including yours truly, assembled and judged the assorted deliveries and collections. The common product for judging was a Pizza Margarita to which the signature pizza of each of the tested establishments was added.

As several of the pizza houses judged delivery, at greater and lesser cost depending on the distance from the restaurant, this item too was considered, as were the telephone manners when taking the order and getting the directions to our venue and the packaging – who does not dread a soggy pizza wrapped in foil paper arriving at the door spoiling the appetite? The delivery actually was impressive, at least by those who actually did deliver, with the average time between order and the arrival of the pizzas on the doorstep around 35 minutes, and none exceeding 40 minutes - not bad considering the way Kampala has stretched out over the years. Tested were the main pizza joints like Cafe Roma, Paradis, Pizzeria Mamba Point, Domino’s Pizza, Ciao Bella, I Love New York, Pizza Connection, Pizza Inn – Nando’s, Pizza Hot, and Pizza Italia. These 10 chosen establishments have all at one time or another claimed to produce the finest or best pizza in town, are generally acknowledged to be the leading pizzerias in terms of sales, and urgently needed a fair contest to settle the claims and provide independent scores.

Judging went along the lines of presentation, quality of the base (dough), quality of cheeses used, freshness of ingredients, use of tomatoes, authenticity, overall taste, packaging, telephone manner, and speed of delivery. After having had to eat my way through 20 small pizza slices, of course carefully rinsing the mouth after each bite to ensure a fresh palate, the note taking and compilation of results took some more time, but in the end, the envelope came out on stage, declaring "and the winner is:" Pizzeria Mamba Point.

The runner ups were in a very close contest - Cafe Roma, followed by Domino’s Pizza, and fourth came the superbly cheesy Ciao Bella, located in the Centenary Park. Some of the other pizzas resembled only faintly what one would expect when ordering and their producers were rightly relegated to the bottom of the list. Descriptions for one of the lowest-ranking vendors, and they are not being named to spare them the embarrassment here, were at times frankly devastating, as one judge when looking at one of the creations sighed aloud, "They call THAT a pizza?" while another suggested the slice he just put in his mouth tasted like plastic.

Congratulations to the winning restaurant on this achievement, not a mean task when competing against the other 9 all of whom also have their – more or less as it turned out – merits and following by pizza eaters. Now you know where to get your pizza from when next in Kampala as a visitor, or where my fellow Kampaleans should order out from as a little treat for the kids and grownups alike. Enjoy the best there is, if you want a proper pizza worth being called a pizza by those in the know!

Thanks to Yona Wapakhabulo for the organization, the logistics, and the location of the judging contest!

If you are in Kampala and just gotta have your pizza
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