Windsor-style pizza in Toronto?
First of all, for those who haven't had the pleasure of tasting Windsor-style pizza, I'll describe it as best I can. Maybe it's known by another name I'm unaware of.
Windsor-style is usually a heavy dough crust, baked in a wood-burning stove (or at the very least on a stone tablet). The crust need not be "thick", but it's more substantial than your typical thin-crust pizzas. Although it rises a little and the bottom chars from the heat, it is not generally crisp. Instead, it's quite chewy and stays that way, even after refrigeration. Actually, come to think of it, the crust they use at places like Cora or Amato's used to be fairly close, from what I remember.
The sauce is tangy, so generally it's applied modestly. The cheeses, if only I knew what cheeses they use... my guess is that it's a blend of mozzarella, asiago and parmesan.
What makes it truly great is the liberal application of cheese and toppings. Not quite deep dish style stacked toppings, but just a healthy layer of cheese and toppings, all mixed together. The pepperoni isn't in round slices, rather it's in small strips. The cheese diffuses through everything. Every bite is a juicy flavour explosion.
It's even delicious cold. The cheese keeps it from hardening too much and it remains chewy and tasty.
For comparison purposes, I have yet to find anything that comes close. The closest I've found on flavour is maybe Mamma's pizza when you get asiago cheese, but it's just a pale imitation and the crust is too different, to boot.
I've attached a (tiny) picture from the website of one of the better Windsor places, to give a better idea.
So does anything like this exist in Toronto? I live downtown, but I'd be willing to make the trip once in a while for something like this.
I don't know where you are located, but I am going to suggest Danforth Pizza House at 920 Danforth, east of Pape. This is an old school pizza with a heavy, chewy crust that is baked until it chars on the bottom. The toppings are very standard, but the combination of them with the crust, sauce and cheeses is a beautiful, simple pie - similar in my experience to NY style pizza. Note: this is a hole-in-the-wall place with no delivery, they only serve pizza and pop (brio too) and, though you can eat there, it is more of a take out place. The owner is very nice, sometimes his son works there too.
You can't get Windsor pizza in Toronto, sad to say. That said, I have been pleasantly surprised by the afore-mentioned Danforth Pizza House, as well as by Gerrard Spaghetti and Pizza. Point of reference: I hold all pizza up to Rivera (on Ottawa St.). Armando's is a solid second.
Good luck, and do let us know what you come up with.
I will try to get out to Danforth Pizza House in the near future. Over the weekend, I tried Pizzaiolo (specifically the "Gianni Ola" gourmet pizza) and was pleasantly surprised with it. On a first bite, you could be forgiven for thinking it was Windsor pizza. Sadly, the toppings at the outer edges of the pizza were a little more sparse, which detracted from the flavour explosion of a first bite. Also the crust is slightly crispy underneath and fairly light. The sauce seemed mild, didn't really do much for me. Bonus points for the healthy sprinkling of oregano, however.
But I'm being fairly critical here. It's still very good. Delicious, even. The staff were very friendly.
Just not Windsor pizza. :)
(Rivera is very good... honestly, I think any of the non-chain restaurants in Windsor is great: Armando's, Capri, Arcata, Franco's, Koolini's, Sam's... who am I missing?)