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Hamilton ex-pats: Roma/slab pizza in Toronto?

Hamiltonians, present and former, you know what I'm talking about... that gorgeous slab pizza from the Roma bakery on Barton.

For the uninitiated, it's a large rectangle of fluffy bread (definitely some olive oil involved there) topped with a thin layer of finely milled, zesty, pleasantly oily tomato sauce. No cheese is involved. You eat it at room temperature.

http://www.romabakery.ca/pizza.htm

http://www.functionjunction.ca/roma2.htm

I've never seen anything similar in Toronto grocery stores. Is this purely a Hamilton invention or is there some magical place in Toronto where I can find this?

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  1. I know exactly what you're talking about and need to know where to find it too!! It remiinds me so much of my childhood!!

    Keeping my fingers crossed that it is available in Toronto :)

    1. oh, man do i miss roma bakery...my parents used to go over to the mountain location (might have been in the plaza at gage and fennell?) after mass on sundays and pick up two slab pizzas - one tomato and one white - and a mess of chocolate chip buns. damn, they were good. i also discovered that this stuff is even better if you pop it in the oven for about 10 minutes to crisp up the bottom crust (although i realize that's heresy back in the hammer).

      alas, i haven't found anything even remotely similar in toronto. somewhere in my travels i picked up a (possibly erroneous) fun fact that suggested that the first pizzas were essentially leftover bread dough smeared with crushed tomatoes and baked by the mamas in napoli in the community oven after the week's baking was done. sounds a heck of a lot like a roma pizza to me...so perhaps this is napolitano-style pizza? just speculating, but it might help to find it if we know what to ask for. (what the heck do i know, my family's from friuli where pizza typically comes thin crust, with cheese...)

      1 Reply
      1. re: wickalicious

        sunday I saw them on sale at Fortino's in Lakeshore and Dorval in Oakville.

        One of the nurses brought them in 2 months ago and I still have fond memories.

        I think a quick toast in a toaster oven would surely elevate this pie.

      2. Check your local Fortinos...our office just had Roma cater our United Way final wrap up. There were left overs a plenty...

        1. You might want to give Riviera Bakery on college, west of Bathurst, a try. I've seen slab pizza that sounds similar to this on their counter. Not sure if it's cheeseless, though...

          1. I have not encountered this type of pizza anywhere in TO. In fact, now that I know there is some in Hamilton, it may warrant a road trip.

            BTW, This type of pizza did actually originate in Rome. A bakery called Antico Forno in the Campo dei Fiori neighborhood specializes in "Bianco" with olive oil and salt and "Rosso" with tomato sauce added.

            It is very similar to foccacia bread, but with less water and not as much fermentation time.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bogie

              thanks for the info, bogie - another random fact to add to the ever-increasing esoteric food chaos in my brain. :)

              olivia, i can't say for sure that Roma still makes the white pizza (anybody know?) - i just know that we got it routinely when i lived with the folks, which is more than a decade ago now.

            2. Thanks everyone, I'll check out Riviera.

              As for Fortino's in Oakville, that's good to know too.... but I have to say if I'm going to go to Oakville for it, the extra distance to Hamilton doesn't seem that much further :)

              And next time I'm in the Hammer, I'll try the white one (never even knew they had one!).

              1. been here 4 years and I haven't found iy

                1. if you're still looking..
                  You have to try Zarsky's in Burlington..I've had the Fortino's one mentioned above, but this is really the best slab pizza to be had!!
                  it's on Upper Middle inbetween Appleby and Walkers Line.
                  www.zarkys.com

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                  Zarky's
                  2180 Itabashi Way, Burlington, ON L7M5A5, CA

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: burlgurl

                    The Zarcone ( Zarky's ) slabs are great value, which is another "made in Hamilton" Italian tradition by the way. Their deli and ready to serve items are good quality for the price, and work when you're no where near Roma Bakery of Stoney Creek. In the on the shelf /ready made category, I'd still give Roma the edge.

                    Zarsky's

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                    Zarky's
                    2180 Itabashi Way, Burlington, ON L7M5A5, CA

                  2. I found a close condender!! North Pole Bakery (Danforth at Greenwood) makes a "red focaccia," not exactly Roma but very close: fluffy-ish base, tangy tomato sauce on top, but also some tomato skins too, and a sprinkling of herbs. Also, pretty much only for one or two people--not a giant slab like Roma. This surprises even me, considering my other post on North Pole.

                    Only problem is they keep it near the steam table, and it gets dried out, so keep walking a block east to Jerry's Supermarket and get it there (it sits at room temperature there and stays moist).

                    1. Fortino's on Hwy 7 in Woodbridge sells it:)

                      1. Oh man I know and love that pizza so much. I was so diappointed when I first moved to Toronto and tried to find it in a grocery store only to realize it was a Hamilton specialty. I've not found anything like it in Toronto, but I am known to pick one up when I visit the hammer. They always have it in Fortinoes.

                        1. Try being an ex-Hamiltonian in Western Canada & dreaming about that Roma pizza ! ... Torturous ! to say the least. I grew up on Lottridge street near Barton , near to where the original bakery was & Mom would bring a slab home & my brothers & I would devour the thing in minutes ! I've been living in Calgary for 13 years now & I've had cravings for it that would haunt me. Recently, I went to Hamilton for a visit (Mom still lives by The Corktown) & on the agenda , a trip to Fortinos , & Mom cut the sucker into 6 slabs , freezer-bagged them , into the freezer & just as Mom was kissing me good-bye to catch my shuttle & plane back to Calgary , into my suitcase the glorious slabs went ! That night , in Calgary, Alberta , a city that THAT pizza has probably never been eaten in , was throughly enjoyed by myself & a couple of new fans of the stuff ! Wish Roma would franchise to the west . I would bring everyone !

                          1. I'm originally from Montreal and the Italian bakeries made it there. It is AWESOME and I cannot get it in Ottawa, where I live now. Anyone know of a place in Ottawa, even Gatineau, where I can get some. OMG it's a family dinner event must have!!! Yummy!!