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Ladies and Gentlemen.....The new Champ Pizzeria Libretto

I had the pleasure of visiting Toronto's newest and pizzeria tonight and WOW, it lived up to the hype and much more. As soon as we walked in we were greeted by the manager Jamie who welcomed us very cordially to a very beautiful modern restaurant which I was pleasantly surprised with. For the first night being open to the public they seemed pretty organized and the kitchen had a nice flow. The waiter immediately brought us some nice breads with olive oil and balsamic and a lovely Prosecco all of which was excellent. We ordered the buttermilk calamari from which was recommended by our waiter and it was a good recommendation. The breading was light and flavorful and the calamari was cooked perfectly. It had a wonderful sauce underneath which had a little bit of heat, I had that aching feeling of desperation to lick the bowl which I think should be made proper etiquette for good sauces. The wife and I each ordered a Margherita Pizza since we have been craving it as we haven't been to New York in a while and didn't want to share. For me it was perfect, the crust was exactly the way I like it, a crispy outside with a soft and chewy inside with a little bit of char and salty flavor. The sauce was nice and chunky and mixed perfectly with the mozzarella. Its the best pizza Ive had in Town and one upped Terroni IMHO. If they can keep the quality in line with what I had tonight this place is going to be an instant success. The only thing I question being a problem in this city is the communal tables as Torontoninans generally like to keep to themselves, I didnt have a problem with it myself though. We then ended off the meal with a canolli and the lemon Gelati which were both excellent especially the Gelati. I took a few picks of the food but didnt want to spoil the look of the restaurant as the pictures didnt do it justice. Hope you enjoy the food porn and check out the joint for yourself, if you like REAL pizza I promise you wont regret it.


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  1. What was the approximate damage to your wallet for that delicious-sounding meal?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Pincus

      Buttermilk Calamari $9, Pizza's Were $12 each and the canoli was $3 and lemon gelati was $5. Including all that and a few glasses of the sparkling prosecco espresso, a latte for the wife and taxes it was $59 which to me is pretty reasonable for the quality and quantity of everything we had. If you were going to go and have a couple of pizzas and cokes it would be just as reasonable as your local chain pizzerias and about twice the quality and service. I was actually surprised that the price was fairly reasonable considering Toronto's lack of great pizza joints and Terroni's Monopoly on this type of pizza.

      1. re: mlukan

        Was this cannoli the real deal (orange-flavour, chocolate and pistachio) or was it bland?

        1. re: merlot143

          Meh.... it was not the highlight of the meal, I would certainly recommend the Gelati over it, I didnt get a nice picture of the Gelati because I started eating it before I remembered to take a shot. The canolli was fairly bland and not the best Ive ever had but at the time I wasn't disappointed because I was still thinking about the pizza.

    2. oh yeah, that pizza looks awesome.

      id ask them to cut my calimari thinner, i like a more crispy kind

      looks great...cant wait for take-out to be ready

      1. I went to their website and it mentioned that they have communal tables? Are there some private tables? I don't like sharing a table.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Tabinet

          I ate there last night as well and yes there were some private tables. Keep in mind that they are not currently taking reservations so go early if you want a private table.

          I had the Duck Confit pizza and pear salad which was delicious! Wine list is very interesting and very reasonably priced.

          1. re: lorie007

            Thanks for the information. I don't really get the point of communal tables - does anyone enjoy eating like that? I'm a social/people-phobe...why not have more smaller tables instead of one big one?

            This place is vaguely in my neighbourhood [if I really stretch] so I will definitely check it out. I'm vegetarian, but their pizza looks delicious!

            1. re: Tabinet

              The general discussion of whether you do or don't like communal tables is off topic for this regional board, so we'd ask that if this discussion continues, you start a new thread on the Not About Food board, or join this recent discussion: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/546456

              Of course, if you have anything specific to report about the communal tables at Pizzeria Libretto, you're welcome to continue the discussion here.

              1. re: Tabinet

                ...personally I like the whole communal thing, I find it to be fun...at PL, the communal table is less than half of the seating, the only fault in it in this case, actually this tends to be an issue elsewhere too, is having enough room on the table for all the plates -- especially large pizza ones -- we took up what would be twice our allowed space if people were sitting all around us...

              2. re: lorie007

                I was so tempted to have the Duck confit pizza but had to have the margherita first, thanks for the recommendation, Im gonna get it for sure tonight, yes I'm going again because I dont feel like I got my fix. Cant stop thinking about it.

              3. re: Tabinet

                Yes they do have some private tables. People seemed to stay slightly away from each other at the communal tables anyway, there was one chair between each group of people.

              4. I was also there last night (in fact, I think I was walking in when you were trying to capture a pic of the outside?). I couldn't believe how busy this place was for opening night!

                To test the waters I, too, ordered the margherita pie. I thought the crust was DELICIOUS. The sprinkling of salt was fantastic. If i have one minor quibble, it's that the centre of my pizza became limp and soggy as it sat. I'm not sure if it's because it may have been rolled slightly too thin to stand up to the wetness of the tomato topping, or if the oven was in such constant use it cooled down just enough to slightly under bake the bottom. Regardless, I finished every last bite.

                My husband got the sardine pizza. Sardines and black olives (not pitted). No cheese. It was really yummy, and I don't think his was soggy at all

                I truly look forward to going back for more of the tasty food and great service.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Delish

                  By total chance I was walking past on opening night, even though I'd just had dinner I couldn't resist popping in to try the pizza. From the moment you walk in you have a great feeling, the staff are super friendly and the place was bustling mere hours after opening.

                  I just had a margarita which was great, the key for me was the super rich tomato sauce. This is the first true contender for Terroni's I've had in Toronto.

                  1. re: Delish

                    I was also there opening night with a couple of friends and was blown away by the quality of the food and how smoothly service ran for their first night. I'll post a review soon. But as a preview, the sardine pizza and the carmelized onion & italian saussage pizza will both blow your mind. Rocco and Max are so earnestly passionate about their pizza they can't help but make a superior product. For my money, probably the best pizza i've had in the city.

                  2. According to their online menu the Duck Confit pizza is $154...does that sound a little steep to anyone else? :)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Strongbad789


                      but that better be one hellofa pizza :)

                    2. Went last night around 9pm...firstly I'll echo that it is the best in town and I would say destine to get even better, also nice room & staff was friendly and on top of things. We had...calamari, buttermilk batter was a little gooey but the red pepper sauce was AWSOME! Grilled peach salad, uses excellent local greens and had huge slabs of parmesan on it, very good and somehow none of the ingredients overwhelmed eachother. Pizza, seems like ours could have been left in the oven for a little longer since they were chewier than crisp, (we were close to the kitchen and the fire wasn't as high when ours was done vs some later crisper pies we saw) They were out of the duck so we had the sausage and margherita, at first the sausage was my favorite but then the sauce on the marg won out, it is the best I've had in Toronto for sure, crusts inspite of being underdone are still wicked...Wine list is well priced, good selection and ranging from $30-$55/btl...I think they will do very well, and they deserve to, good product - good service - good price...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Recyclor

                        From what you and Delish said, I think they might be getting used to the oven. Hopefully I'll have a chance to try it this weekend.

                        1. re: burlgurl

                          ..their website says it'll be coming soon...

                          1. re: burlgurl

                            I was there last night and saw that people were taking out pizzas.

                            It was pretty busy and although the waitress was a little dippy service was good and food was delicious. We had the sausage pizza and the four seasons pizza, and bruschetta with sausage and pesto. Loved it all.

                            1. re: roxton


                              They had said that they were not doing take-out in the beginning, I sure hope this has changed. I'd go by there right now if they had take out

                              1. re: duckdown

                                people were walking out with pizza boxes when i was there on Wednesday.

                                1. re: yoyodyne

                                  Maybe just leftovers from their dine-in meal though, like a doggie bag

                                  1. re: duckdown

                                    nope. i'm pretty good at noticing when a pretty girl walks into a joint. and when she leaves smiling after a couple minutes, pizza box in hand, it tends to make an impression. The website as of this posting does mention that takeout is available.

                                    1. re: yoyodyne

                                      Takeout is available, though only for pizzas for now.

                          2. Correct. I just got back and the place is excellent. I did a tour of Naples pizzerias last winter and this place is producing pizza just as the good places there in Naples do.

                            Worth a visit.

                            1. Does anyone know if there is any quick parking nearby? I was thinking of stopping by for a take out pizza tonight, and maybe stopping by Caplansky's for their grand opening... Trying to decide still... but yea, I'd be driving by myself so I'd have nobody to wait in the car while I run inside

                              Unless they'd run the pizza out to my car, lol

                              if anyone has any idea, let me know :) thanks

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: duckdown

                                I just got back and we walked, so I wasn't really looking for parking. I *think* there's street parking along Ossington not too far away, and it looked like there was some kind of lot behind the block (south of Dundas, east of Ossington).

                                If you call them up to order a pizza, I'd ask them to make sure--everyone seemed pretty friendly.

                                1. re: duckdown

                                  Way too coincidental. I was planning to either check out this pizza place, or go to Caplansky's as well. Everyone's photos look great, cannot wait to check it out. Thanks for the tips, everyone.

                                  1. re: duckdown

                                    ...likely to late for this trip, but for the future there is a Green P lot located behind the pace, access just east of Ossington off of Dundas....

                                    1. re: duckdown

                                      There's a large lot on Dundas across from the old Lakeview Diner (currently closed). That's just east of Ossington, on the south side.

                                    2. That's it, I am going there tomorrow no matter what.

                                      1. My wife and I just got back. We really enjoyed it.

                                        We had the two special salads, a beet salad with goat cheese and a potatoes, green been and sausage "salad." Both were very good (I particularly liked the beet salad). We also had the prosciuto and tomato pizza, which was superb. The crust was just about perfect, the tomato sauce was nicely sweet, and no issues with the center of the crust getting soggy. To be fair, it didn't really have a chance to sit.

                                        For desert, I had a canoli and my wife had the chocolate sorbet. The canoli was fine, but nothing extraordinary, but the chocolate sorbet was extremely good.

                                        Our waitress was friendly and efficient. At one point she took us back to take a look at the oven (I made the mistake of telling my wife I was interested in seeing it).

                                        Overall it was a very nice meal, and we'll definitely go back.

                                        1. Just got back from here, lots of parking along Ossington there luckily so was easy to find a space

                                          I think I noticed a table of wine snobs overdressed for a pizza place laughing at my ball cap & shorts... But it's a pizza place, so I laughed to myself and proceeded to order

                                          I just got their Margherita pizza and it was pretty terrific. As others have stated, crust was under done and a bit chewy, would probably be easily fixed by having the oven hotter... I didn't have any of those nice blister bubbles of dough that you would usually get from the wood oven... Wasn't really smoky either.

                                          But the mozzerella was great, basil was nice but sparse, and the sauce wasn't chunky which was my biggest concern.

                                          A great pizza place, but kind of steep for $13 I guess considering I ate the whole pizza to myself

                                          Will definitely return

                                          1. I wonder how many Chowhounders were there last night? I think my friend and I were sitting beside befuggled and his wife! We went because we were definitely craving pizza and it didn't disappoint. We started by splitting the in-between-appetizer-and-entree (per our Waitress) special of Lamb Sausage with Green Beans and Small New Potatoes. It was very good, though I would say it was more Appetizer than Entree. I then had the Margherita which I quite enjoyed (I did have some blister bubbles in my crust, duckdown) and my friend had the Homemade Sausage Pizza which she really liked (I tried some and it was good). The homemade hot pepper relish they provide added a nice kick when I put it on my pizza. I thought their Cappucino was excellent (so did my friend who had one AND an espresso!), which I drank with an order of Biscotti (Lemon and Almond) and a Cannoli (crisp, maybe a little too greasy but well, I like grease). We also had a bottle of wine. All in all, I thought the pizza was great and prefer the atmosphere to the cavernous Terroni on Adelaide. Service is better too.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: always_eating

                                              Hmm...that was Friday night...add two more.

                                              My wife and I had a hankering for pizza and this fit the bill. We've been searching for pizza since our trip to Seattle and trying Serious Pie.

                                              At PL we had ...
                                              Duck Prosciutto
                                              Buttermilk Calamari
                                              Tomato+Bread Salad
                                              Margherita Pizza
                                              Mushroom Pizza
                                              Hazelnut Sorbetti
                                              Lemon panna cotta

                                              It was all great. Starters were all great but I particularly enjoyed the duck. The pizza was as described by the CH'rs. It is great thin crust with blistering and crispy (does de-crisp after a bit from tomato sauce). Another personal highlight was the panna cotta...lemon essence and cream on a plate.

                                              Worth the drive from Yonge+401.

                                            2. Just got back from here, and man, was it good.

                                              Had their arugula/walnut/pear/cheese/balsamic vinegar salad and a margherita pizza. Along with their complimentary bread and dipping mixture, a beer, and an espresso at the end. Didn't have dessert because I'm not big on desserts.

                                              Like others have noted, it is the combination of flavours in their dishes that make them stand out. The salad was good, the pizza was *outstanding*. I'm glad I don't live near this place because I would be there every night eating margherita pizzas. I think I felt like montrealer70 felt when he had his first bite of Caplansky's. Lots of crust bubbles and light charring on the skirt of the pie, the tomato sauce was simple and good, the basil and cheese well balanced out. As stated above, the taste of the crust is a major player in the enjoyment of the pie, it's not just acting as a support structure for the toppings.

                                              My God, I want to go back right now and have another one.

                                              Service was excellent as well.

                                              They do have take out now, but I really wonder how well this pizza travels. I think because of the thinness of the crust and the flavour profile, it really would be much better experienced eating in. Not that it would be awful at home, but I think it would lose something in travel.

                                              1. Also went to PL tonight. With a friend, ordered the salad with grilled peaches, the mushroom bruschetta, the Margherita and the duck confit pizza. The salad and the bruschetta were pretty good, especially the former.

                                                The salad was nicely dressed and the combination of the peaches, greens and generous shavings of parmigiano melded together superbly. The bruschetta didn't stand out as much, but it was well-executed with the creamy mushrooms and the crisp contrast of the toasted bread.

                                                The Margherita pizza was the best thing we put in our mouths. The charring on the rim, bottom and top of the pizza was near-perfect, producing a crust that was thin, with a slight crispness that deteriorated as the pizza cooled down. It does become soggy in the center as it sits which can be awkward to eat, as others have noted. The Margherita's crust was almost perfect with blister bubbles and places where the mozzarella had cooked to a crisp and added even more to the textural profile of the pizza. I do wish that they had a bit more basil on it as there were only three leaves on the entire pizza.

                                                The duck confit was a bit rich for summer, especially with the pesto and the sauce. The crust for this was nowhere nearly as good as the Margherita, definitely doughier and softer. Also, a trifle on the greasy side, as it left a slick of oil on the plate afterwards.

                                                Finished off with sharing dessert -- the lemon panna cotta, which was pretty good. Not jelly-like, as some places tend to be, but soft, creamy, and quivery. It tasted rich, but wasn't heavy at all, as the bright lemon zest and the blueberry sauce helped lighten it.

                                                Service was pretty good, the only point being the slightly long wait between the appetizers and the pizza, but as they're newly opened was understandable. Didn't get to hear the specials though as my friend and I were so ravenous that we decided immediately what we were going to order. However, I would definitely go again.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: lsk

                                                  sounds like this place is a winner. So...I called for take-out and got an answering machine that stated they were closed on Sept. 1st..(but today is August 31st).
                                                  I guess I will have to wait.
                                                  p.s another website is also gushing about this restaurant

                                                2. by the sounds of everyone so far, i gotta check this place out fore sure :o

                                                  1. I also made my first visit this past Saturday evening - wonder how many Chowhounds were there? I was very impressed [and I'm not just saying that because I didn't have to sit @ a communal table].

                                                    To start I had the arugula/pear salad which I liked very much. The cheese [piave] was especially nice and tasted different from what you would normally get on salad [just slightly different]. I found the salad to be a bit big for a starter, however I am quite small. My partner had the marscapone/hazelnut/apricot bruschetta which he really liked. I had a bit of it and while the taste was too strong for me [too sweet] I think it would be okay in limited doses. He loves sweet, powerful foods. I think that in the future we might share a starter.

                                                    For pizzas he got the duck confit [much talked about here - I don't think I can offer anything new as I didn't try it] and I had the wild mushroom. I don't think anyone has mentioned this one yet...but it was a step outside my comfort zone [I always, always order pizza with just cheese - no matter where I am]. The toppings were quite plentiful and were true wild mushrooms - I think I spotted lobster, chanterelle and two others. Very colourful! The mushrooms were paired with two kinds of cheese and overall was quite delicious [I only ate half, brought half home - it weathered well and I ate it on Sunday evening cold from the fridge].

                                                    For dessert we shared [mostly I ate] the hazelnut chocolate sorbetti. The flavour was good, though the texture a bit odd. I wasn't expecting such large pieces of hazelnut. The boy had a cappuccino [with extreme foam] and I had an espresso - a good espresso.

                                                    The service was fantastic and the room very busy. A bit loud though so I wouldn't recommend it if you are planning on actually having meaningful conversation. Overall though - a very enthusiastic thumbs up!

                                                    1. Sorry : ( I hate to burst the bubbling crust as a naysayer....but until they add more cheese and a tastier sauce, this place has nothing on Terroni. The crust is much better than Terroni without a doubt. But, I would much rather have the too-tough crust at Terroni as it is covered with their perfectly matched cheese and tomato sauce flavours.

                                                      We had the duck confit and the quattro. The quattro toppings were all PERFECT!! The problem is the plain sauce and serious lack of cheese and cheese flavour. It was frustrating trying to taste some cheese. The duck version was excellent and it is worth a visit just for it. Because there is no cheese on that version, it doesnt frustrate the palate. As well, the pesto sauce on the duck is fantastic so it saves you from the bland tomato.

                                                      To those shaking their head - we must agree to disagree. I don't feel the need to return right away. And I must add, I just got back from 3 weeks in Italy where I enjoyed pizza in Rome, Napoli, Florence and Venice so I know all about the tradition of bits of things here and there and not necessarily having a solid surface of cheese. As well I know there are many different styles.

                                                      To me, great pizza has snappy flavours and salty, fatty, milky, cheese.

                                                      PS: Of all the pizzas we ate, the very best pie was at a small neighbourhood spot in Florence. It was crazy good!

                                                      8 Replies
                                                      1. re: deelicious

                                                        It is DEFINITELY lacking in cheese.. My 2nd time there had even less cheese than the first time, it was like 85% sauce and 15% cheese

                                                        1. re: duckdown

                                                          I loved this place (great vibe, lovely people running it) but I agree with deelicious: Terroni's pizza is still a mouthful better, IMO. We had the mushroom pizza with taleggio. It was very tasty but desperately needed salt. It was salt-less. And it could have used a few more shrooms.

                                                          Also had the tomato and burrata salad. The burrata didn't ooze at all and was past its prime. Apparently Nota Bene has the same salad on its menu -- I'd love to try it.

                                                          Had the housemade wild boar sausage. Tasty, with a few roasted red peppers and olives on the side.

                                                          The housemade duck prosciutto "isn't ready yet". One server told us it would be 6 months before it was ready. The next told us it would be a year.

                                                          Will go back.

                                                          1. re: EarlyDrive

                                                            In comparing this place to terroni.. Has anyone had any experiences trying to "substitute" or "change" something on the menu at Pizzeria Libretto? Not that I think anything necessarily needs changin (well.. actually, perhaps you could ask for "extra" cheese if that seems to be lacking), but I'm really just curious if they are as snobby about their menu as Terroni is.

                                                            1. re: hungryabbey

                                                              My guess is that this place doesnt have such attitude. They seem really nice and straight forward. You raise a good point about asking for more cheese...but I just cant imagine paying even more for that pizza! OUCH!

                                                              1. re: deelicious

                                                                i went last night. we shared the greens with peaches salad, i had the margherita, and my partner had the sausage pizza. the salad was very fresh, peaches nicely green in a tangy but not too acidic vinagrette.

                                                                i have to disagree about the cheese - i thought it was quite ample. with both pizzas we were able to taste the different ingredients without one overpowering others. i'm okay with the few leaves of basil - i think of it as more a garnish to the main flavour of the tomato sauce than a substantial ingredient. the crust on both pizzas was perfect (we even did the napoli test for fun which is to fold the crust twice over without breaking it:)). our quibble, if we had to find some, was with the caramelized onions on the sausage pizza. we both found them overly sweet, and just too much. made the pizza more saggy and a bit overloaded.

                                                                i would have loved to try the galato but we were totally stuffed! next time, it's one pizza to share to have room for desert. word of warning - the back of the room is quite warm from the pizza oven.

                                                                service was very attentive, eager to please and friendly. we're very happy about this addition to our neighbourhood.

                                                                1. re: Kasia

                                                                  Maybe they have increased the amount of cheese used....hopefully.

                                                                  1. re: deelicious

                                                                    I was there tonight for the second time and my margherita pizza had quite a bit of cheese on it. The duck confit pizza was interesting.

                                                                    1. re: cutehinano

                                                                      I haven't been yet (hopefully I will get a chance to go soon), but I believe the owner(s) have a Chowhound account. While I'd would rather personally speak with the owners about my suggestions, they might actually be picking up on the things people have posted here.

                                                      2. There aren't many negative reviews about PL, and for good reason...but I am not necessarily hopping on the bandwagon.

                                                        We went to PL last night at around 7 PM. Here's our review:

                                                        Service - I would put their service in the upper tier of Toronto restaurants. Genuine, attentive, caring, passionate about their product, friendly. Honestly, the service alone should be the reason for PL's success. My only complaint: our server didn't inform us about the salad and main course specials...but it was no loss, since there were many menu items to catch our eye.

                                                        Atmosphere - its loud and kind of cramped. we sat at the bar, which actually isn't a bad choice, especially since PL is a casual restaurant. Decor is nice. Volume can get a bit loud (lots of white noise from all the talking). Biggest complaint: patrons walking by us were occasionally rubbing and bumping against us. And it was bloody hot in there, making us not want to linger.

                                                        Insalate - we shared the Cookstown Greens, Grilled Peach, Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, Champagne Vinaigrette. It was good and had an ample amount of shaved parmigiano. the vinaigrette was good, but not mindblowing. a nice salada.

                                                        Bruschette - this was the hilight of the meal. I tell my gf that eating bruschette at a restaurant is usually pointless, since its a simple food item to make, and i make it well. but the flavour mixes at PL are quite interesting and worth trying. We ordered the Spicy Sausage, Pesto, Goat’s Cheese bruschette. it was incredible. the spicy sausage was so full of flavour. usually, sausage can taste very preservativey, and this did not. it also wasn't overly salty nor intensly spicy. paired with the delicious and non-greasy pesto and ample amount of goat cheese, it truly was incredible tasty.

                                                        our second choice would have been the Mascarpone, Apricot, Hazelnut...maybe next time.

                                                        Pizza - we had the margherita pizza and added duck confit to it (another $3). we were expecting an amazing tasting pizza, but instead, we pleased, but not as exuberant as other CHers have been. I've read some complaints about the amount of mozzarella cheese and, in our case, the complaint was founded. it was splotchy, leaving each slice 40% uncovered with cheese and 60% with blobs of cheese that pulled off with a bite. Crust-wise, it was very good and traditional and cooked quite well (yes, there were air bubbles in it). the "sauce" was quite...ordinary. more basil distribution and perhaps a pinch more salt would have made it tastier. and the duck was good, but we were wishing we went back to the sausage instead.

                                                        that was enough to fill both of us adequately. we didn't have room for dessert or a cappucino.

                                                        in all, we are willing to make the trek to Ossington to try PL again (we are east yorkers, and the city is a bloody mess because of TIFF). but we will wait until the dead of winter so we can appreciate the heat, and perhaps wait for any food-related glitches to be ironed out. considering how recently they opened, they should be quite proud of their operations and customer satisfaction

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: atomeyes

                                                          A nice review..

                                                          I am definitely on the "way too little cheese" boat... I've been there either twice or 3 times now, and the cheese has become less and less each time.. Very odd

                                                          Also there is not nearly enough basil... 3 leaves in the center of the pizza is not what I had in mind

                                                          And the heat factor... Wow. Thank god I only get take-out because standing around waiting for my pizza is enough to make me sweat, I couldn't imagine sitting in there for an hour or two straight

                                                          1. re: duckdown

                                                            I'm actually glad about the cheese. I try to eat healthily, and I usually order pizza "easy on the cheese" - it's nice to have it come that way automatically.

                                                            But I recognize my view is somewhat unique...

                                                          2. re: atomeyes

                                                            The duck really needs to be matched with the pesto. That may be why it wasn't as good tasting as others have found the duck. The pesto, or at least how it is used, is not typical tasting. I would never think to call it pesto when eating it. You may want to order the duck confit and ask them to add cheese and more cheese!

                                                            1. re: deelicious

                                                              To be more informative...if you are going for the first time and thinking of adding cheese to the duck pizza...be aware that the duck is on the greasy side, only add cheese if you also want HIGH fat/grease!

                                                          3. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servle...

                                                            Even the dailies are keen to cash in on the hype.

                                                            Remember people, we are chowhounds, not foodies. Big difference.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: Food Tourist

                                                              This place is an absolute madehouse. Lineup last night was out the door and takeout was a 45-minute wait.

                                                              That said, staff was very friendly and attentive, and the pizza is that good. Much better than Terroni in my mind.

                                                              1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                i wish i understood what you meant by that.

                                                                1. re: atomeyes

                                                                  Was feeling a bit jaded by all the bandwagon-jumping. Being a chowhound means trailblazing and very few contributors to this board actually do that and report back.

                                                              2. FWIW, authentic Neapolitan pizza (which Libretto is priding itself on preparing and serving) is not smothered with cheese (50% coverage is about right) and is garnished with a small handful of torn fresh basil leaves.

                                                                Here's an informative page on pizza in all its glorious forms: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pizza#Pi...

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: mrbozo

                                                                  Yes this is true but their cheese does not pack punch and they are NO where near 50% coverage!

                                                                  1. re: mrbozo

                                                                    Went last night because we were in the area.

                                                                    Lined up for 1/2 hour. table turnover pretty slow. servers were run off their feet, think they need more staff:table ratio.

                                                                    The margherita pizza was pretty darn good, they got the crust down pat. The best pizza crust since the one we had at Forno Campo de' Fiori in Rome (finally!!). Buffalo mozzarella dotted the pie in the correct cheese to sauce ratio, 4 leaves of torn basil in the middle.

                                                                    I was a bit pissed about waiting almost 45 minutes after the order was fired.... it really takes only 2 minutes to bake it but we were probably behind a whole line of tickets from 4 and 6 tops ordering just before us.

                                                                    Was it worth the wait? To each his own. Next time I'll tell them to fire and pickup the apps at the same time, which would probably time the meal at just about the right interval i.e. the pies will arrive about 15 - 20 minutes after the apps.

                                                                    wines by the glass were all very reasonable.

                                                                  2. Thinking of checking this place out tomorrow night. If we find ourselves with a big line, can we leave our name on a list and go for a drink? If so, any rec's for a cool nearby spot for a drink? Thanks!

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: peppermint pate

                                                                      Try Reposado for a drink. It's across the street and down a block or 2 -- if it's nice they have a fantastic patio out back. They have a 2 page list of tequilas.

                                                                      1. re: EarlyDrive

                                                                        Is the patio new? I didn't know they had one..thanks for the tip!

                                                                        1. re: Recyclor

                                                                          Enjoyed the Reposado back courtyard in early July, so not so new.

                                                                    2. We checked it out last night. We didn't have to wait that long for a table. I like the room - bright, long wood tables, funky. Very buzzing, good energy. For me, the service was just so-so - the owners used to manage a club, I think, and most of the serving staff had that "clubby" feel, rather than really service oriented (exception was the one waitress - super friendly). It was only after re-reading this thread that I knew that they even offered specials. Nobody told us about these. And we didn't get any bread to start.

                                                                      BUT full marks for the pizzas - holy moly, that crust is great. I normally eat only as much crust as has toppings on it and ditch the rest. I could have eaten this crust on its own - chewy, crispy, salt-licked, charred - fantastic. We had the mushroom pizza which had plentiful toppings and lots of flavour. Like others have said, I would have preferred more cheese on the margherita - great crust with just tomato sauce isn't a well-balanced taste for me. Calamari was pretty good as were the greens - not wow, but good. Would - will - return for the pizzas in a heartbeat.

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: peppermint pate

                                                                        Some people brought leftovers back to the office tonight. It was OK - Too bad the Terroni ego is so way out of whack,,,,,,cuz IMO if they had an open mind to improve their crust, there would absolutely be no reason to visit Libretto.

                                                                        1. re: deelicious

                                                                          I went there with my lady on Saturday night after quite a few Lowenbraus at home...

                                                                          We had a lovely time and were most impressed.

                                                                          The Buratta with heirloom tomatoes was very good... it was made locally, so not quite as good as the imported gear they occasionally have at the Cheese Boutique.

                                                                          We shared the Duck Confit pizza and was very happy with it indeed... but then I was pretty tipsy.

                                                                          The lady thought it to be a bit burnt though... so she didn't have quite the same level of satisfaction that I did.

                                                                          The wine mark up was very reasonable indeed.

                                                                          Cannot wait to go back and try something else!

                                                                          1. re: Non Doctor

                                                                            went for dinner tonight - i enjoyed the room - the atmosphere - the communal table

                                                                            our apps tasted great - good value - the peach salad, the heirloom tomato salad, the mushroom bruchetta - all very good - we thought things were ideal and then.....the pizza.

                                                                            i dont know why everyone is so excited about it - we had two pizzas and both tasted rather dull.....the crust was badly burnt and bubbled in many places (this does not translate as "authentic" to me) - the middle of the pizza became soggy after about 30 seconds on the table - it lacked flavour, salt, taste.....

                                                                            terroni and bar_one pizza (both in the area) are far far superior.....

                                                                            1. re: hojo1

                                                                              I think people are excited about it because they had great experiences there. Seems reasonable, no?

                                                                              We went on Saturday night, and enjoyed it far more than Terroni. The crust was perfect on our duck confit pizza, the toppings were well-balanced. The calamari appetizer was crispy with a nice bite but not rubbery or chewy. Our waiter was really helpful and were surprised by how attentive he was given how packed the place was. We had a bottle of wine that was very nice (can't recall which one), and when the bill came we were expecting to pay much more.

                                                                              All in all a great experience. We'll definitely be back and likely not return to Terroni's or Tyranny's as we like to call them given their substitution policies.

                                                                            2. re: Non Doctor

                                                                              Lucien has a more soft-runny buratta with heirloom tomato salad, and theirs is from Cheese Boutique. (However, I wouldn't recommend anything else at Lucien.)

                                                                        2. was there last week and so here are a few thoughts...

                                                                          awful system for dealing with waiting patrons. it was only clear a few times who was actually in charge of the waitlist and he didn't really provide much help. i had to find him myself to ensure we were on the list and he kept telling everyone that the wait would be 30 minutes though the line doubled at least. i decided to stop crowding dining patrons and moved towards the take-out bar and had a glass of wine while waiting in that very spacious corner.

                                                                          wait was probably about 20 minutes and we were seated quick since it was just two of us (groups of 4 or 5 seemed to be coming in at that hour). don't mind the communal table though a nicer smoother finish on the actual planked tables would have been nice. i was a bit paranoid i would fray something. had a good time chatting with my neighbours actually, but we were definitely in a jovial and joking mood. server had a gigantic smile and good attitude all evening though she forgot an order of wine at one point.

                                                                          so food.... calamari was fantastic. nice crisp but light panko-esque crust over tender squid. i'm curious if the portions were inconsistent as i recall seeing a previous plate delivered to a table with quite a few rings but we had sub 10 easily. i hear they chill/freeze them after battering, sounds like a good enough method to me.

                                                                          hazelnut cheese bruschetta thing had nice warm gooey cheese though i can't recall if the bread itself was all that hot, would have been nice toasted though. didn't find big chunks of uncrushable nut as a friend had mentioned to me but also didn't find the dish all that satisfying as it was just too sweet and rich for a starter to me.

                                                                          duck and pesto pizza and the homemade sausage with caramelized onions.... first off, i like terroni crust... the roman style crisp cracker tastiness is the only one i'll eat straight up, everything else is relegated for the trash. i found librettos to seem a bit "raw" in taste (which it could have been just because i noticed a lack of any browning on the bottom though there were some bits of black) and just quite plain. perhaps even lacking in salt. did not like that the blistering was minimal and that all burnt crust on top just tasted like ash. the duck pizza was delicious topping wise though the tomato sauce would use a bit less salt. i found the duck flavour to be exemplary and quite... ducky.... it did not need any cheese in my opinion as the pesto assisted in providing any needed richness. the homemade sausage was actually quite good. nicely sized tender morsels of ground meat with ample fennel pods specked throughout. the chili oil was not obvious and i understood why after asking for additional oil and being given a pourer, to only accidentally douse the entire thing in oil and realize... it wasn't any spicier. what's with a sweet chili oil??? i needed the spice desperately to balance the sickly sweet onions (though cooked very nicely).

                                                                          can never resist a panna cotta and was a tad disappointed when it didn't appear like the photo on the website. in fact, it was just so utterly tiny. good texture though as it barely held up/together and was perfectly creamy though again like the onions.. unnecessarily ridiculously sweet.

                                                                          nice selections on the wine and can appreciate that there are $4.50/$6.25 pours if you're not intent on puffing up your liquor bill but would like a little red to tide you over for the wait!

                                                                          speaking of which, i found all our food to generally arrive quite timely (though i could have done with a couple minutes shaved off the wait for the pizza)... but noticed that tables sitting down after us certainly and LONG waits....

                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                          1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                                            Your experience actually sounds quite different to ours...the hazelnut apricot marscapone bruschetta was over-toasted so as to be very hard to bite, the homemade sausage was fairly plain tasting...which leads me to believe the place is either improving or wildly inconsistent.

                                                                            1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                              that's what i thought... so for better or worse i'm going to assume that they're trying to improve. since we all descended on this place within minutes of opening and they're packed to the rafters, i don't think they've been given the time or space to figure out all the kinks and are just struggling to keep up with demand.

                                                                              i may know someone in the kitchen soon who may be able to comment on things as they progress, but libretto themselves seem to happily contribute on the boards.

                                                                              1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                                                We have been there twice: opening night and this past Tuesday. On both visits, I found the service warm and competent and the food delicious. The salad with peaches was notably delicious, as was the mushroom bruschette. I also like the price points on the wine, and find the pizza crisp and delicious. I wouldn't go with a group though, as it is much too loud. I am glad this place has opened in my neighborhood and hope it lasts a while.

                                                                                1. re: melly mel

                                                                                  I have to agree, it is VERY loud in there. They need something on the walls to absorb the sound.

                                                                                  ..but the food was fantastic! We had the buttermilk calimari and home made sausage pizza. Mmmmm! I read that some people were complaining about there not being enough cheese, but we found it to be the perfect amount for such a thin crust.

                                                                                  We had the pistachio gelato for dessert and it was alright, but I much prefer the pistachio ice cream at Summers in Yorkville.

                                                                                  Wine was way overpriced @ $32 for a half litre of white.

                                                                                  I'll definitely be going back, but I think I'll skip the alcohol.

                                                                              2. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                I think 'wildly inconsistent' is a bit of a stretch since the majority of posters here are enjoying themselves a lot. I agree with pinstripe - they're new and superbly busy and no matter how much you plan for success like that the reality must be very different. We went a few weeks ago and absolutely loved it. I'll definitely go back.

                                                                                1. re: Beef Pattie

                                                                                  In fairness to Libretto, I ate there on their 5th day of operation so didn't expect perfection just yet. pinstripeprincess obviously experienced improvements to what needed improvement. That being said, I don't trust every poster's opinion as some contributors are swayed by hype or may not have my taste preferences.

                                                                            2. Went to Libretto on Friday, for the first time since visiting just after they opened a couple weeks back.

                                                                              The first thing that struck me was just how insanely popular this place had become. It seemed obvious it would get busier, given the quality of the product and the buzz here and elsewhere. But we stood in line for (no word of a lie) one hour before being seated. Normally, I'd have been out the door after the first 25 minutes, but I had to have my fix.

                                                                              We started with a couple of apps. Duck prosciutto with pickled plum was outstanding. Wild boar capicollo served with an assortment of olives had a taste and texture closer to prosciutto than capicollo, but was a tasty product regardless. The panzanella salad was fairly average, but then it's not a dish I'd ever expect fireworks from.

                                                                              On to the pizzas. On our previous visit, I was blown away by them, and vowed then and there to never again set foot in a Terroni of my own volition. The simple sauce, the fresh toppings and most of all the crust - just the right amount of chewy and char, just the right balance of thick near the ends and thinner in the middle - made the experience.

                                                                              This time around, the crust was just too thin. I grabbed a piece and bit into it, crust-end first, only to have it crunch and crumble in my mouth rather than give way to a slightly doughy chewiness. I proceeded to the test any great Neapolitan pizza must pass, folding it in half. It broke in two pieces.

                                                                              Granted, the place was an absolute madhouse of hungry customers. I'm sure the oven was as overworked and hot as it could possibly get. That said, this place is destined to be insanely busy for a while, so they're going to have to find a way to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

                                                                              Crust aside, the pizzas we shared (prosciutto, quattro stagione, margherita, sausage) still tasted amazing. They're still having issues finding the right balance of toppings-to-herbs, but our request for extra basil for the table was quickly granted.

                                                                              It was nice to see they've added a couple other dishes to the menu, including a couple of pastas. I also noted they've added a mention to their menu that the burrata in the burrata-tomato app is made in Ingersoll, not Italy. I was disappointed in the quality of it last time, and the mention of origin should go a long way toward avoiding disappointed diners.

                                                                              Great wine list, too, for a pizza place. A nice balance of reasonable plonk - like the extremely drinkable 2006 Morettoni Rosso dell’Umbria we had three bottles of - and slightly more intriguing selections.

                                                                              1. Went to Pizzeria Libretto last night after hearing all the reviews here and since there's a nip in the air, decided to have a really early dinner so as to avoid the line ups. We arrived at about 5 to 5:00 but decided to wait a few extra minutes so that we didn't look like crazies walking in before they were open....well we walked in, and they had already seated about 5 or 6 TABLES at the back!!! Anyways, we were seated at the communal table at the bar and I thought that was really cool...I found the service from Shannon, our waitress to be awesome. Attentive when it needed to be, and chilled out when we were eating. First thing I asked was if they were ok with revisions to pizzas (as I am lactose intolerant) and she said they were fine with that (I thought I should let you all know as there were some of you that were asking).
                                                                                We had a bottle of flat water (on the house...I think they said it was Purified), a SteamWhistle on tap (and later a Creemore on tap) and a glass of Nero D'avola. SO started with the bruschetta with mushrooms, and he said it was really good. I started with the Pingue Cacciatore, which was thinly sliced (I prefer my cacciatore thick) but still really nice flavour (garlicky) and with some nice olives (soooo good) and roasted peppers. I ordered the pizza with the house made sausage and sauteed onions (without cheese), SO had the margherita. Margherita was declared really really good by my transplanted Italian SO. My pizza was really good as well...you guys are right , the onions might be a tad sweet, but I kinda liked it. The sausage was yummy as well. Only slight complaint was that it was slightly carbonized in some places as there was no cheese to insulate. The thinnest part was burnt to a crisp...but it was small so there was no point in complaining; the rest of the crust was delish!!!! We then ordered the gelato and sorbetto. This is where they need to improve, although in all fairness we spoke with the owner and he said that he had been having problems with the machine that day and comped us for one of the gelati. In any case, this is now top of our pizza list tied with Mangia & Bevi. The only difference: atmosphere! When we are in the mood for lively conversation and a cool and busy spot, we will definetly head to Pizzeria Libretto. When we have business dinners or just want a chilled, casual evening, it has to be Mangia & Bevi. All in all, I was really pleased with the experience.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: icey

                                                                                  My wife and I were there on Sunday night as well. We arrived at 5:00 on the dot, and there were already a couple of tables seated. Every seat in the place, save for a few at the long communal table in the back section, seemed to be full by 5:30 at the latest.

                                                                                  For apps, we had the Wild Boar Capicollo and Mushroom Bruschette. For pizzas, Margherita and Prosciutto & Arugula. Desserts, Cannoli and Pistachio Gelati.

                                                                                  The only thing that completely blew us away was the gelati - it was almost like an iced custard, thick and full of flavour, just outstanding.

                                                                                  Everything else was good - and in some aspects, great - but there were flaws as well. The Margherita let us down by being rather soggy in the middle, but the outer edge was fantastic, and the flavours were nice. The other pizza was similarly a bit soggy towards the centre, and the amount of prosciutto seemed stingy for the $17 price point. The cannoli filling was great, but the bottom of the pastry was soggy, suggesting it had been filled earlier and had been sitting for a while.

                                                                                  All in all, it was enjoyable, but not outstanding. I've had better pizza at Terroni, and even Il Fornello - although I've also had *worse* pizza at both places over the years. I suspect once they settle into a groove, they'll be able to keep the consistency up. And based on the fact that there was a line-up of 30 or so people when we left around 6:30 - on a Sunday night! - they certainly won't be hurting for business anytime soon. I hope they enjoy a long and successful run.

                                                                                  Oh, and they deserve kudos for the reasonably priced wine list. I'm not really a wine drinker, but even I was impressed by the fact that they have a few options below 7 bucks a glass, including a couple for $4.25.

                                                                                2. its funny...PL may be the victim of its own success.

                                                                                  people are commonly complaining about a few things:
                                                                                  1) the line-up
                                                                                  2) the quality of pizza (how it varies and/or is decreasing)

                                                                                  it will be interesting to see if or how PL can rise to the challenge, keep their current customer base happy and keep their food quality at a high level.

                                                                                  i, for one, went there a few weeks back and was not in the mood to wait in line. i also wasn't blown away by our pizza. so i walked to Foxley's and had a great meal (and a pricier one, sadly) there. many food options on Ossington, so PL better beware

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: atomeyes

                                                                                    Indeed; I went by there the other night and the guy at the door asked me what I wanted, I told him simply a single pizza margherita, and he then proceeded to say "well in that case it will be a 1 hour wait, sir"

                                                                                    I told him that is ridiculous and obviously did not wait around... disappointing

                                                                                    Their website boasts it cooks a pizza in 90 seconds, so what gives? Maybe I didn't want to spend enough money?

                                                                                    1. re: duckdown

                                                                                      How long was the line? Say a pizza gets cooked in 90 seconds, then there's some overhead time not related to cooking, say another 30 seconds. That's 2 minutes.

                                                                                      How many pizzas can they make at the same time assuming they're making all the other things the restaurant also serves? If they can put out 30 pizzas an hour, and you were the 31st person in line, then the wait time is accurate.

                                                                                      Were you trying to get take out or were you planning to eat in? If it was eating in, then you have to wait for other people to eat as well.

                                                                                  2. Phoned yesterday....Pizza orders only taken in person and then there was a one hour wait...not for me....maybe another time.....Miranda

                                                                                      1. re: sylvrgirl

                                                                                        Well I finally made it.
                                                                                        After reading many reviews, it was about time I went.
                                                                                        To begin with, I called the restaurant and left a message asking them "what time should we arrive to avoid line ups". Shortly, I received a very pleasant call from Jamie..who suggested that a party of 6, arrive as close to 5 p.m. as possible on a Sunday nite.
                                                                                        So..we took Jamies advice and we arrived shortly after 5 p.m.
                                                                                        We were seated promptly and our waitress was soon at our table with menus, followed by bread with olive oil/balsamic vinegar.

                                                                                        We ordered the following:
                                                                                        cookstown green with grilled peach, shaved parmiagiano regggiano with a champagne vinagrette .....it was nice, but nothing outstanding.
                                                                                        cookstown arugula, with pear, walnut and piave..with a champagne vinagrette.
                                                                                        We thought that this salad was better than the first one.
                                                                                        Our biggest complaint, was perhaps the dressing was too "light" for both salads.

                                                                                        Then we ordered the bruschetta with chanterelle, shitake, oyster mushrooms, and parmigiano.
                                                                                        This dish was DEMOLISHED in no time at all. We loved it.

                                                                                        For pizzas we ordered:
                                                                                        the margherita, the wild mushroom and the quattro stagione.
                                                                                        Again...we all thought the wild mushroom pizza was the winner...however we demolished all three pizzas in no time.

                                                                                        For dessert: we had the pistachio gelati and the choc. hazelnut sorbetti......none of us would order this again.

                                                                                        Oh yeah..two americano's were ordered...and both were were 'undrinkable"...our lovely
                                                                                        waitress quickly took them away and informed us that she took them off our bill.

                                                                                        All in all...great pizza, great space, great service.....

                                                                                        1. re: domesticgodess

                                                                                          Just curious what made the americanos undrinkable.

                                                                                      2. Interestingly, during the past few weeks, I had the chance of eating in a couple of 'Italian' places that were highly touted by fellow chowhounders on this board. First, was Babbo in NYC, the other was Pizzeria Libretto. Unfortunately, the end results for both was identical - A Big Dissappointment!!

                                                                                        After waiting for 1.5 hours in partial rain for our table, our starving party of four settled down and immediately ordered a whole slew of appertizers and pizzas that were highly recommended by fellow CH'ers on this board. For apps we went for the Spicy Italian sausages & goat cheese bruschetta, the wild boar cappicolo, the duck prosciutto, the house-made salami and the buttermilk calamari. As for the pizzas, we shared the Italian sauage with caramellized onion, the Magharita, the Quattro Stagione and the Prosciutto with arugula. Of all the aforementioned dishes, the apps fared much better than the pizzas but with only one stand out - the calamari ( fried perfectly with the lightest of batter on a bed of ultra delicious red pepper sauce ). Rest of the apps were good but lacking in 'wow' factor. As for the pizzas, they were a total flop! Sure, the tomato base sauce was indeed fresh and clean but at the same time they tasted bland, uni-dimensional and totally lacking in complexity. To make matter worse, all the pizzas were way too soggy!. FYI, those offered by Terroni's on Adelaide were way more delicious and complex. The crust was also much better, both in texture, integrity and crispness.

                                                                                        Unless they decide to open up a branch in Richmond Hill, I doubt if I'll drive all the way downtown to give them another try?!!

                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Charles Yu

                                                                                          you added a question mark... so i'm just going to say that while i think they are in the midst of improvements, there's only so much actual change that will occur at libretto, which makes me believe they're not worth it... at least to my tastes.

                                                                                          my dough was undercooked, the tomato sauce was salty, and i agree that the flavour is just very flat. agreed that the calamari is by far the star of the show.

                                                                                          1. re: Charles Yu

                                                                                            After having finally tried Pizzeria Libretto, I agree with your opinion entirely. The pizzas were definitely not a standout for me (we had margherita and quattro stagione), and mine last week was definitely not as good as Terroni's. Both of our pizzas were undercooked/burnt (not charred & bubbly), the tomato sauce was bland, overall, I agree that one-dimensional is a perfect description. I don't think I'd return unless I was in the area and there was no wait (and only to see if I had visited on an off night).

                                                                                            I found the appetizers rather generic; the calamari, as said, was excellent (excellent texture, not under/overcooked, just perfect). Our bruschetta was overtoasted and nearly inedible (they quickly removed it from the bill though), and the sausage was unimpressive.

                                                                                            VPN or not, I definitely had far better pizzas in Naples; this is one place that hasn't lived up to the hype at all for me, though I may return again to see whether I was just visiting during an off night.

                                                                                            1. re: Charles Yu

                                                                                              My biggest pet peeve is their awful wait times and their tendancy to frown on small take-out orders (like a single pizza), they always have an excuse to make...

                                                                                              1. re: Charles Yu

                                                                                                Although I haven't yet been to PL, I've been reading about it hungrily since before it opened. I have to question your search for "complexity" in the pizzas, Charles. Surely, the Pizza Margherita should not be complex at all, merely featuring the simple flavours of crushed tomatoes, basil and mozzarella. Besides salt, pepper and olive oil, there shouldn't be any other ingredients on the crust. But, of course, I'll have to try it for myself.

                                                                                                1. re: Yongeman

                                                                                                  I was not necessarily looking for complexity (and perhaps this is not the right word), but I was looking for something more than a half-burnt, half-soggy, one-dimensional, bland pizza. A good margherita in Naples is strikingly vibrant, with excellent texture to the crust, a well-balanced harmony of flavours derived from the "simple" ingredients, and is definitely multi-dimensional in both flavour profile and texture. Burnt, soggy and bland don't really contribute to multi-dimensional flavour and texture for me, unfortunately.

                                                                                                  I know better than to compare Toronto and Naples when it comes to pizza, but I didn't find Pizzeria Libretto's offering better than Terroni's, which was surprising given the positive reviews and hype. I may still try it again, but not when it involves waiting an hour plus in line for what may end up being disappointing. I really, really wanted it to be good.

                                                                                                  1. re: Yongeman

                                                                                                    Ah! my CH friend! But we ordered four different styles of pizzas! Apart from the Margherita, the other three also lacked the 'burst of flavour' that I usually associate with great pizzas having great tomato sauce and toppings. As I eluded to in my posting, the tomato sauce was indeed fresh and clean tasting. However, there are tomatoes and there are tomatoes! And this Toronto version is no where near as delicious as the ones I had in Italy! May be the Roma tomatoes used are different and less fresh?!
                                                                                                    Furthermore, I think I know how great tomatoes should taste like as reflected by the simple tomato salad I had at Alain Ducasse's restaurant at the Bastide in Moustiers, in Provence. The vine ripened tomatoes were picked from some garden just down the road a few hours earlier, the basil from the restaurant's herb garden at the back, the great tasting olive oil from a single orchard in the same area and the fleur de sel from Brittany. Nice, simple and top notch ingredients, but man! do they tasted good when eaten together! And the tomatoes! Big, but tasted as sweet as the mini grape tomato varietal!

                                                                                                2. I'm going to have to return there to see if they are slipping downhill.

                                                                                                  It's a vile task, but someone has to do it. :)

                                                                                                  13 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Pincus

                                                                                                    they're not downhill, just not worth the hype or a 1 hour wait.

                                                                                                    1. re: pinstripeprincess


                                                                                                      The wait times are truely atrocious

                                                                                                      1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                                                                        I can't really think of any place worth an hour's wait. Not Pizza Libretto, not El Bulli.

                                                                                                        1. re: Pincus

                                                                                                          I've been three times, once on a Saturday night when it was full, and never waited longer than 20 minutes.

                                                                                                          1. re: jamesm

                                                                                                            i've watched people with tables of 4 that were at least 3 spots ahead of me in line only get sat down after i had waited 20 minutes or so for my table and was almost done my whole meal!

                                                                                                            1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                                                                              It appears we have had different experiences. I don't know how long anyone else waited in line because I wasn't paying attention. I just know that I didn't wait very long and I am extremely impatient, as my girlfriend will attest.

                                                                                                              1. re: jamesm

                                                                                                                The bottom line is that PL is popular, and small. Of course there are long waits. So either wait, get there right as it opens, or don't go. There isn't much sense in complaining about it. I sure as hell don't want them to open other locations, or franchise. That would cut down on the wait times, though.

                                                                                                                1. re: Yongeman

                                                                                                                  Seems like Joanne Kates isn't a fan of the lineups or the pizza, either.

                                                                                                                  The link to her review isn't up on the globe yet...

                                                                                                                  1. re: grandgourmand

                                                                                                                    Here it is:


                                                                                                                    I won't wait that long for some partially cooked pizza, I'll just make it myself.

                                                                                                                    1. re: grandgourmand

                                                                                                                      I'm with her. Aside from the grocery store, I don't line-up for anything. No reservations, no dice.

                                                                                                            2. re: Pincus

                                                                                                              El Bulli is worth an hour's wait. Pizza Libretto isn't, unless, of course, you really, really want calamari, or the bruschetta when it is good (as opposed to when they come out burnt).

                                                                                                              I don't mind waiting in line if the food is good (and have waited in lines much longer than an hour for good food). Unfortunately, Libretto's line is long and the pizzas are uninteresting (at least, from my experience), which only adds to your frustration when you finally get in and try them. I think this is the reason why people tend to complain about the line so much.

                                                                                                              1. re: tjr


                                                                                                                My GF and myself arrived at approx 5.50pm yesterday (Sunday) and the place was RAMMED. See here:



                                                                                                                I ordered a Margherita to go and a pint of Creemore...

                                                                                                                And it arrived in less than approx 9 minutes... that's pretty damn good!!!

                                                                                                                And here is the pizza:


                                                                                                                Bloody delicious it was too!!!

                                                                                                                1. re: Non Doctor

                                                                                                                  That's only 5.50pm! Wait till 7pm!
                                                                                                                  Anyways, 9 minutes wait for a take-out and 90 minutes wait for a seat! May be one should all order take-outs and munch in the car instead?!

                                                                                                        2. "There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about."

                                                                                                          I'm sure the owners are very happy.

                                                                                                          On average a younger crowd doesn't mind waiting a long time to say they went to a cool space. So as long as the food meets their expectations, I don't think things will change very much there in terms of their business model.

                                                                                                          Me? I will either go early or after 8 pm, or bring a book or my writing notebook. And make sure I'm not too hungry when I do go.

                                                                                                          1. I'm quite keen to try this place, even if crotchety Joanne Kates doesn't like it. (And she really shouldn't use words that she evidently doesn' t know, eg., "When Wall Street deconstructs..." Deconstructs? Wall Street is doing lit crit now? Is that why they were distracted from the mortgage crisis? WTF? Anyway...) I don't mind late dinners. If four of us were to arrive at 9pm, what's your guess on the wait for a table?

                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: hungry_pangolin

                                                                                                              With luck on your side, after 9pm, you'll get seated straight away!

                                                                                                              1. re: hungry_pangolin

                                                                                                                hungry pangolin, that's a perfectly acceptable use of the word 'deconstruct'.

                                                                                                                I'll give credit to PL. Purchasing that oven may be one of the best marketing moves yet in Toronto.

                                                                                                                1. re: Googs

                                                                                                                  Went a few weeks ago around 11pm, and service was spotty. We walked half way into the place before finding our own seats, then waited around until we got menus, then waited longer for our order to be taken. The pizza came soon after, but again, waited around until flagging down a different waiter to take our money! And this was at 11!

                                                                                                                  We ended up just splitting the proscuitto and arugula pizza. It was good, but I just don't prefer the chewy, slightly undercooked crust they produce. It kinda reminds me of a pita... One of my friends who works there, who previously made pizzas at Terroni had to make sure we knew he didn't have anything to do with the dough!
                                                                                                                  Flavour of the toppings were nice and fresh, but I guess my hopes were just set too high after all the hype. I need to try more items before writing the place off, but didn't think the pizza was worth the $17.

                                                                                                                  1. re: jayseeca

                                                                                                                    Joanne Kates summed it up perfectly "painfully bland". I could not agree more.

                                                                                                              2. Had dinner at Libretto last Friday, and to be honest, it wasn't great. I'll probably be stoned for this, but I would way rather go to Terroni and spend the same amount of money there.

                                                                                                                Service was pretty terrible, not in terms of how they handled us, that was fine, but our server seemed to be on speed. He kept gesturing and using his pen to point to things on the menu frantically, and quite honestly, it made me nervous. I know the place has a high energy vibe, but this guy was over the top. Also, when we asked another employee about the grape breakdown in our wine, he actually picked up the bottle and started reading the back!

                                                                                                                I wouldn't normally have a problem with this, but the grapes weren't listed on the back. And it was written in Italian, which he clearly didn't understand because he just read off some random words telling us that those were the grapes. If you don't know, GET SOMEONE WHO DOES. Don't stand there trying to fumble your way through it. Our server did come back at one point and explained that it was one single grape, but for me, it was a huge faux-pas.

                                                                                                                In terms of food, things were okay. I say this hesitatingly because our appetizer , a warm white bean and pancetta (i think) salad was just kind of bland. There was nothing wrong with it, but there also wasn't anything memorable. Then I had the wild mushroom pizza with tallegio, and my friend had the house made sausage with caramelized onion pizza. Both of which were good, perfectly done, and the tallegio was an excellent call. I also heard, secondhand, that both were amazing the next day when eaten cold.

                                                                                                                But overall, I wasn't terribly impressed. Even though I find Terroni to be hit or miss, I have had some excellent meals there, surpassing Libretto by far. I should also note that we went quite late, around 11pm, so understandably, that could have been why things weren't amazing.

                                                                                                                I actually felt really bad about going in so late and expecting to eat dinner, but on the other hand, if you're going to extend your service until 12am, then you should be on your game, from the time service starts til it finishes. Also, it wasn't as if we were the only table in there, the restaurant was quite busy, even when we left.

                                                                                                                And everything was well priced for sure. We had a bottle of wine with dinner and still got out of there for around 110$ including tax and tip. Not a huge fan of the decor, I think it looks like it's trying too much though. I will return, and hopefully next time things will be better, but I still think it did not live up to all the hype surrounding it.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: petitaubergine

                                                                                                                  Is the place still a zoo? I won't be going back until they sort out their 1-hour wait times on a take-out pizza

                                                                                                                2. Won't be back to Libretto until the lines calm down. Only at that point will I risk trying it again because although the crust was excellent, the sauce and cheese was boring (as per my earlier review).

                                                                                                                  Terroni has so much more flavour that is exciting and balanced, and here's the clincher...I visited the new Terronis on Adelaide twice in the past week for fantastic pizza both times - much better crust than the Queen West location. The crust in my opinion was just as good as Libretto if not better. The toppings were awesome!

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: deelicious

                                                                                                                    I agree, totally not worth the wait time

                                                                                                                    An hour wait on a take-out pizza is absurd... I wonder if it's still that bad

                                                                                                                  2. I went on a Saturday night at 6:00 and got served right away, but by the time I left, there was a long lineup. The pizza itself is good, but hardly Toronto's best. It was soggy around the centre, but still pretty good. Also had the calamari, which were excellent. The waitress was very attentive and quick. I would go back if I were in the neigbourhood, but would not make a long trek to get there.

                                                                                                                    1. Hey, mlukan - you're quoted in the National Post today...

                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: JamieK

                                                                                                                        Too bad they make no mention of all the BAD things about Pizzeria Libretto.. And IMO the bad things outweigh the good things

                                                                                                                        1. re: JamieK

                                                                                                                          Oooo I'm famous. I don't really consider this a pizza war as there are only a couple places to choose from. More like a pizza disagreement. I havnt been to PL since I went a few times when they opened. I haven't had a single bad experience( no soggy middle or wait times) with them and I'm truly wishing them the best. I will be waiting until they slow down a little for my next visit as I don't want to have a bad experiance because it is a little pricey, but worth it IMHO. It was obvious this place was gonna be huge from my first bite because Terroni is the only other place it can be compared to and there is huge demand for REAL pizza in this city. I still love Terroni and the one thing it truly has on PL is the tried and true factor. I hope some day we will have a true pizza war like Chicago or NYC where there is so many good places to go for pizza that there is no clear consensus on what is #1.

                                                                                                                          1. re: mlukan

                                                                                                                            Four of us had dinner at PL last night (Sunday). Arrived at 4:55pm in hopes of avoiding the line since it was just recently reviewed in Eye Magazine. Happy to report that there was no line but within a half hour of opening, the restaurant was completely full and a small line was forming as we were leaving around 5:45pm.

                                                                                                                            We really loved the decor and atmosphere. We had a private table but would have gladly sat at the long communal table. Ordered the calamari and bison carpachio to start. The calamari is as wonderful as everyone says it is. Bison was also delcious. We ordered four diff.pizzas and swapped slices so we could taste them all. We got the mushroom, the salami, the sausage and the proscuitto and arugula . Very tasty and a little soggy in the middle as others had reported but not a huge problem.

                                                                                                                            Service was friendly and fast. We were out in 45 min. Tried to order their cheapie bottle of wine ($18) but they were out and we weren't the only ones asking for it!

                                                                                                                            Overall, a positive experience and we would definitely go back, if only for that amazing calamari.

                                                                                                                        2. Is it still a zoo here every night? On my last trip, they told me it would be a 1 hour wait for a single take-out pizza

                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: duckdown

                                                                                                                            I was there tonight and it seemed zoo-y - but on Saturday that is expected. We arrived at about 5:10pm and the place was half-full. By 6PM there was a line of about 15 people!


                                                                                                                            1. re: duckdown

                                                                                                                              And it's still zoo-y. I went to Libretto on December 26th and 30th, and both nights the restaurant was packed.

                                                                                                                              The first time there were three of us, and we were squeezed in at the communal table within 15 minutes (we arrived at about 8pm). We shared the arugula salad, carpaccio, the sausage pizza and the anchovy pizza, and loved it all, so we brought friends from out of town a few nights later. Again, we arrived at 8, but this time we waited a painful 45 minutes for a table! The food was wonderful, but I don't think I'll go back until the lineups die down.

                                                                                                                            2. Well, after much anticipation a group of us finally decided on an evening at Libretto.

                                                                                                                              We thought that going early on a Saturday night (i.e. 5:30pm) and being -20 with the wind chill, the place may not be that busy, and the fact that we're supposedely in a recession and the place has been open for 6 months now.

                                                                                                                              WOW.........not only did we get our table in the nick of time, but the place was jam-packed all night long. The continuous line-up out the door was quite a surprise, but now I completely understand why people continue to flock here and I'll be doing the same.

                                                                                                                              In one word.........this place/the food is PHENOMENAL.

                                                                                                                              Everything we ate, and we tried a bit of everything, was delightfully good.
                                                                                                                              I have NO COMPLAINTS!

                                                                                                                              What we tried:
                                                                                                                              From the Affaggini menu:
                                                                                                                              Meatballs (a real stand-out)
                                                                                                                              Gnocchi Ricotta with Pomodoro (so soft and flavourful)
                                                                                                                              Duck Confit Prosciutto (crazily good!!)

                                                                                                                              From the Bruschette menu:
                                                                                                                              Prosciutto, Goat’s Cheese, Artichoke (incredible flavours and what a delightful combination)

                                                                                                                              From the Salumi e Formaggi menu:
                                                                                                                              Pingue Capicollo (beautiful and sweet)
                                                                                                                              Bigio Sottocenere

                                                                                                                              From the Pizza menu:
                                                                                                                              House-Made Sausage
                                                                                                                              Wild Mushroom
                                                                                                                              (all of three were standouts for me and will need to try to others to rank a "top three")

                                                                                                                              From the Dolci menu:
                                                                                                                              Panna Cotta al Limone (exquisite!)
                                                                                                                              Cannoli (quite small and I'll pass on this next time)

                                                                                                                              All in all, great place, great vibe, great music...and really GOOD food!

                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: sylvrgirl

                                                                                                                                Was at Libretto pizzeria a couple of Saturdays ago. Have to agree with Sylvrgirl about this place. Absolutely incredible. Can honestly say it was the best pizza I ever tasted.

                                                                                                                                We got there about 9:45pm Saturday night, and the line was out the door. We waited about 45 mins before being seated. Had a few Pints while waiting. I was described the customers at this time as 20ish/trendy/hip, with a few "old school players" mixed in here and there.

                                                                                                                                We shared the Bruschette for 3 - amazing and just the start of things to come.

                                                                                                                                I had the Salami Pizza, wife had Margherita. Couldn't decide which one was better, there were both so good. The fresh basil on the pizza was outstanding. Thin, thin crust. This is not your Americanized/Canadianized pizza, but pizza truly made how it was intended to be eaten from the “old country”.

                                                                                                                                We had to try the deserts. Wife had the lemon gelati, which she reluctantly shared me with as it was so delicious. I had the cannloi, which, although small, was also good.

                                                                                                                                IMO, the thing that makes this place stand out is the quality ingredients and unique "old world” Neapolitan pizza, apparently the only restaurant to be authorized to make this type of pizza.

                                                                                                                                Furthermore, the service we received was excellent. Not only from the waitress, who was timely, knowledgeable and pleasant, but not pushy and did not try to unsell us anything on the menu, but also the bartender who served us, who was exceptionally busy but still had some time to chat with us briefly while we were waiting. I really liked the decor and atmosphere of this place.

                                                                                                                                Can't wait to go back.

                                                                                                                                1. re: bigbelly1

                                                                                                                                  I agree. Great service and a fun vibe (Everything else being equal, this alone should bring plenty of disgruntled Terroni diners over). Pizza was great. I think the sauce is the best I have ever had.

                                                                                                                                  I had the Sardine pizza - lovely fish -nutty like the best anchovies.

                                                                                                                                  BF had the special pizza which was a Margherita w/ fresh Ricotta di Bufala - fresh that day and dee-lish!

                                                                                                                                  Pizzas and salads all had a nice sublety to them that let the quality ingredients sing!

                                                                                                                                  I wish they had outdoor seating though - Terroni's got them beat there.

                                                                                                                              2. I had a meal at Pizzeria Libretto in March, and just never got around to writing about it. So the place was rammed, and we waited about 30 minutes for a table. Throughout the meal, service was prompt and attentive.

                                                                                                                                We were given a table at the back of the restaurant right in front of the kitchen which was great.
                                                                                                                                We started by sharing a bunch of antipasti: the bruschette which were all delicious (one with wild mushrooms, one with goat cheese, and the 3rd squash puree), the tuna carpaccio(interesting; nice flavours, a little heat, but the slices were SOOOO thin that they disintegrated on your fork and it was a bit difficult to eat. I know that carpaccio is supposed to be very thin but this was taking it to the next level, I have no idea how they even managed to cut it so thin), and the 3rd IIRC was bacala with potatoes (which was also declared quite good).

                                                                                                                                We then moved onto pizza. I ordered the sausage pizza as I really enjoyed it on my first visit here, and when it arrived, 2 things were very evident even before I tasted my first bite. 1) The dough was completely different; definitely not the cracker crisp that it was on my first visit, and 2) there were a LOT more toppings than my first time around. Now these aren't necessarily bad things, however, I found the dough to have a good flavour but was definitely a bit too chewy for my liking. I can't have dairy, and so all my pizzas are ordered without cheese and this usually makes for a slightly more crisp dough, but mine was still chewy to the point that it was hard to cut. I actually enjoyed the fact that there were a few more toppings as last time, I received a measly 4 pieces of sausage so for the most part I was just eating plain dough. The sausage was delicious, very flavourful with a touch of heat and fennel. Overall it was a delicious pizza even though I prefer the dough at Mangia & Bevi.

                                                                                                                                I can't recall all the other pizza except my husbands who got the Margherita and enjoyed it, but overall everyone was very happy with their pizzas.

                                                                                                                                On to dessert; I was curious to try the sorbetto as on my last visit, they were disgusting and inedible...melting too quickly, bad consistency and strange flavour. My tablemates refused because when they went to the washrooms downstairs during their visit, they saw a gelato machine outside the washrooms and when they asked the waitress what it was doing there, she replied by saying that they made the gelato there because they had no room in the kitchen. They found this offputting and refused to try it.
                                                                                                                                I decided to take a chance and try the chocolate/hazelnut sorbetto (strange choice to make it a sorbetto instead of a gelato, but hey, if its good, it works for me). I am by no means a picky person, but this was inedible. I couldn't choke down more than a spoonful. The sorbetto was icey, lacked flavour, still had pieces of cocoa powder that weren't dissolved, and was overall a very bad example of a sorbetto. When the waitress noticed this, she asked if anything was wrong (big points on service!) and I told her the problem she said that she was sorry to hear that, this was her favourite flavour and that sorbetto was supposed to be icey. I told her that I didn't want to complain because the rest of the meal was great but that sorbetto really shouldn't be icey and that the cocoa wasn't even dissolved. She said she would speak to the kitchen about that.

                                                                                                                                Overall it was an enjoyable meal and I would definitely go back, just not for a business dinner as it is really difficult to hear a conversation with all the noise in this place. And I wouldn't have dessert.

                                                                                                                                1. Looks like Libretto has a $25 prix fix menu, which looks great. Very simple and includes your choice of any of their pizzas. Has anyone been lately? I'm curious whether it's still insanely busy in the summer months or if it's quietened down a bit. And on a slightly different path, has anyone tried their spelt crust? Wondering how it compares to the regular crust.

                                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: SMOG

                                                                                                                                    I just went for the first time a few weeks ago... to be honest, I had never heard of the place but I got a recommendation from my favourite boutique owner on queen and decided to go on a saturday at 5:30 pm. You'd think it's be quite empty, right? Nope - we had to wait about 5 minutes and the entire restaurant was already full. The lines were longer when we were done eating. My friend and I both had the prix fix (we had the bruschetta, the Caprese salad, the wild mushroom and the homemade sausage and caramelized onion pizza, then the parfait and the Panna Cotta), and it's a good deal, but next time I'd probably stick to pizza and my own choice of appetizer since I'm not a big dessert person and would always choose an extra appetizer over dessert... the salami platter and the calamari that our table neighbours had looked very tasty.

                                                                                                                                    The pizza was incredible! Now I'm hellbent on bringing a couple of my Italian-background friends so they can try it.... can't wait to see their faces!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: garp

                                                                                                                                      The prix fix is an incredible deal. I'm surprised they offer it given how busy they are. The last two times I went, the choices for app and dessert were different, based on seasonality, which was really nice. But I hear you, it's never a bad thing to try something new, even if it does cost an extra few bucks.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: SMOG

                                                                                                                                      Reviving an old thread....
                                                                                                                                      I'm hoping to try the $25 prix fixe menu tonight. Anyone been recently and know what to expect with regard to lineups? I'm hoping it's not that bad with QMP also in the mix of options now.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: LTL

                                                                                                                                        Guarantee to wait 30 minutes at least unless you show up before 6pm. I don't think QMP will affect Libretto as its on the other end of town. The 25 prix fix is a great deal and I encourage you to go for it and wait if you must. Get a beer across the street while you wait if its that long.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: mlukan

                                                                                                                                          The wait thing isn't as bad as it sounds. They'll take your cell number down and call you when your table is ready. Crooked Star is right across the street and a relaxed place to get a coctail or beer. They make good martinis there too!

                                                                                                                                        2. re: LTL

                                                                                                                                          I went last friday at 6:30PM and didn't have to wait. when we were leaving at around 8PM there was definitely a line up.


                                                                                                                                          1. re: wontonfm

                                                                                                                                            Also went this past Friday and it wasn't busy. I got take out. I liked it a lot. If their was more cheese it would be excellent. For me the 50% of the pizza left with miniscule amount of sauce and tons of left over crust took it down a notch. But overall a very good pizza.

                                                                                                                                      2. I went today for the second time and couldn't decide for the life of me what to order. The waiter highly recommended the Salami... and he was SO right!!!

                                                                                                                                        I was never a fan of salami until today... it tasted SO good. Coupled with the gorgonzola cheese it was heavenly..... ..

                                                                                                                                        I did a quick "Find" through the post to see if anyone mentioned it.. and people did note they ordered it but no one commented on how good it was!

                                                                                                                                        I've only tried the Margherita and the Duck Confit... but the salami is definitely a winner in my books. I was "meh" on returning but after tonight my mouth will water every time I think of Pizzeria Libretto....

                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: hippotatomus

                                                                                                                                          Yeah, my wife and I love it too. I think it's the best pizza in town.