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New York Pizza

Has anyone come across New York style pizza in Toronto? I'm from Connecticut, and am spoiled with all the delicious New York and New Haven pizzerias. I haven't found anything quite as good while in Toronto. Maybe it's just a matter of taste.

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  1. Not sure what exactly NY style pizza is as opposed to other styles, but overall, I say the pizza situation in this city is absolutely terrible.

    The amount of wood burning oven establishments is probably small enough to count on one hand -- and in my opinion, the oven makes a huge difference. Don't even get me started on the lack of places that use fresh mozzerella! 99% of all places just use bagged variety... Extremely disappointing

    1. I grew up in Brooklyn. My mother was from New Haven. I've eaten an awful lot of those pizzas.

      There is no pizza that truly evokes New York style pizza in Toronto. There never has been in the four decades I've lived here. This has always surprised me, since there are many pizza styles available in Toronto and the New York style pizza is one of the simplest. Several pizzerias with "New York" in their name do NOT make New York style pizzas.

      While there may be others, the closest I've found are the plain cheese pizza (only) at the Mamma's chain and the Margherita pizza at (the very inconsistent) Massimo's on College St.

      As to New Haven style pizza, there is nothing that even comes close. That said, I've heard disparaging things about Frank Pepe's over the last few years.

      1 Reply
      1. re: embee

        I grew up in Hartford and went to school in New Haven so fully understand your lack of good pizza here in TO. I agree with embee that Massimo's is about as close as it gets but can be very inconsistant. I've found Mama's looks sort of like NY style pizza but the sauce is bland and crust is usually fairly limp which doesn't hold up on the fold so well. Also would be super limp in compared to the rugged New Haven crust.

        I had a couple of amazing slices at John's on College that reminded me of NY pizza, but it was after drinking a way too much with friends. We got delivery from the other John's location and it wasn't very good at all.

        If you're every down in The Falls, get a Zappi's pizza delivered to your room. Order extra sauce and cheese and you have something very similar to what you're used to and craving.

        A good tip at all these places is to keep it simple. Most places in Ontario tend to overload the pizza with way too many toppings. So plain, or like two toppings at the most. If you go beyond that expect something more like a chef salad on your pizza. We had a Mama's pizza about a month ago and had to pull about half of the red onion off of it. There was so much on it that neighbors could smell it out in the hallway when delivery guy walked by. It was like they were trying to get rif of it, onions were just piled on the thing...gross.

      2. You get amazing variety in pizza in TO. It's something I really miss. Tandoori chicken pizza, bbq sauce pizza from the local delivery chain...I would say Mama's plain cheese pizza comes pretty close to what I used to get in NY when I lived there.

        1 Reply
        1. re: dvkrani

          please tell me you're kidding.

          Toronto's pizza is really sub-par.

          Even cities like Winnipeg and Ottawa seem to understand pizza more than Toronto.

        2. I agree completely. One year, I alternated between a week in Toronto and a week in NYC for almost four months. In NYC, I used to visit one of the big delis (Stage Door, Carnegie, etc.) because I liked the sandwich (and the second half provided dinner that night as well - I was on a budget), and at least twice a week, I went to Ray's Famous for either a couple of slices or their meatball sandwiches.

          I wish I could put my finger on it - the crust was chewy and pliable without being doughy, the sauce was tasty, the cheese was generous, and since I usually only got pepperoni, the meat was spicy and flavourful. You'd think these things would be easy to replicate, but sadly, in Toronto, they seem unattainable.

          In my youth, there was a place on Dupont called "Giorgios" which is the closest I've ever had to NY pizza in Toronto. They are, unfortunately, long gone (and I really don't know why - whenever we went there, which was often, as my frat house was just down the street, they were mobbed).

          1. I'm not a big fan of GTA pizza. Then again, I don't want tandoori chicken on my pizzas. I don't mind chowing down on an Ottawa/Montreal-style pizza, a NY or NH-style pizza, a Neopolitan, a Roman, etc. Toronto just, well, there hasn't been much to suit my tastes. It's passable, sure, and if I'm drunk I don't mind. It's pretty depressing though when this is what a city's pizza situation is like. Pizza Libretto was way overrated (their calamari was better than the pizza), and Terroni is still one of the better places in Toronto. Chicago Style in Hamilton do a reasonable facsimile of Chicago stuffed crust, but they're too far out for most people to ever try.

            Pizza in Toronto is something I order when I'm hanging out with friends and need a grease fix in the early hours of the morning. Great food? I haven't found much along those lines..

            1. off topic a bit but i keep seeing that anthony mangieri vid on the side and can't help but think YES that guy needs to come to toronto and open up an Uno.

              3 Replies
              1. re: CoffeeAddict416

                We had an Uno, on Front St, many years ago. It didn't last.

                1. re: embee

                  Slight confusion - Mangieri runs Una Pizza Napoletano in the East Village. $18 for an individual margherita! But very tasty. I guess at that price it better be.

                  Libretto here in town is trying to do a similar thing but are nowhere near as obsessive and strict about it. I haven't tried it yet so I can't comment.

                  As for Uno, the last thing I want is Chicago deep dish casserole, let alone BAD deep dish of the likes of Uno.

                  1. re: childofthestorm

                    doh! Una it is
                    i should watch those clips again

                    i'm aching for some buffalo milk mozzarella
                    every time i go to SLM they're sold out! yeargh

              2. NY pizza in Toronto is one of those things that is a physical impossibility. You will not find anything here that's close to any good NYC pizzeria. There's not even anything here that's close to Ray's which isn't representative of NY pizza anyway. Toronto's tomato sauce is weak, we don't have the same minerals in our water for the crust, and the herbs we use aren't fresh. Don't even get me started on the toppings.

                I agree with Massimo's being close when they where making their pizza's fresh. I've also had a decent slice at John's but again, it's no NY slice.

                My advice is to grab a pie at Terroni and try to appreciate it for what it is cause that's about the best pizza representative Toronto has to offer at this point unfortunately.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                  I have to disagree that NY pizza is physically impossible in Toronto. First, I'm not convinced the mineral content of the water makes much of a difference. Second, if it does matter it's not exactly difficult to add minerals to water. Water definitely matters to brewing, and brewers regularly adjust the mineral content of the water they use. It's a matter of execution: the vast majority of pizzerias in Toronto do not execute well.

                2. Cora's with extra sauce is the best I can recommend...not a carbon copy of NY style, but a damn good pizza if you ask me.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: craigger

                    Good call on Cora's. Several people told us about Cora's being so amazing. We got a pizza with like 4 toppings. Was salad, some cheese and a good crust..non existant saucde aside from a pale red coating on top of crust. Cora's could probably be good with lower toppings, extra cheese and extra sauce.

                    What's the deal with TO pizza folks being super skimpy on the sauce? Oh yeah their sauce usually is watered down tomato paste. That's where TO loses it, they heart of a good pizza is an amazing sauce! The gourmet folks have good sauce, but we're looking for solid, will feed 3 people fold em up pies!

                  2. Hi,
                    I'm from CT too, transplanted to ON, and I would /love!!!/ to find NY-style pizza here —or even New Haven-... So while I agree with most of these responses... and you won't find NY pizza here [and I know, I'm not answering the question..] I would give Classico a try —we are particularly fond of the Spinach [#8]— It is reminiscent of European pizza at least. Some people don't like them, but we have now moved north out of the city and miss them quite a bit! They are on Avenue north of Eglinton, and on Bloor

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: emcarnahan

                      Pizza in Toronto is very lacklustre to say the least, when I feel like pizza I order pizza nova thin crust with extra cheese. It's the best chain and where I live there is nothing even close to as good, I know that's sad. I really enjoy the buffalo style pizza in Western NY, their dough is very airy, generous with the cheese and the pepperoni has a nice bite to it.