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Trio Wood Fired Pizza, Yonge and Lawrence

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I've been desperate for flavour since the closing of Tabla and Chakra, and somewhat underwhelmed lately by the usual Italian restaurants of North Toronto. I read a couple of months ago about a new wood fired pizza place on Yonge north of Lawrence. Four visits later, here are my thoughts.

Vibe: The locals have quickly glommed on to this place, and the service reflects a certain familiarity. The menu is a framework from which special requests are met with enthusiasm. No problem to move sauces between pastas, or on the side with meats, or add ingredients to pizzas.

Bread: They have a wood burning oven, dough, and correlate the obvious. Nice fresh warm bread, lightly oiled presented very quickly upon arrival.

Apps: Perfectly fried calamari, though the coating might be a bit heavy. Fried mushrooms with truffle oil have great flavour, good size portions. Mixed grilled veg platter is great value.

Pizzas: Wood fired thin crusts, with great selection of ingredients and flexibility.

Pastas: Nice portions, priced in the early-mid teens.

Wines: Many in the range around $40

Overall: Solicitous, warm service, great food, and really good price points. They are using their wood fired oven to full advantage, and building a good local following. It's not high art, but it's very well executed food done by good people. One particularly telling event came when the bill arrived, and the discrepancy in the price of a bottle of wine was pointed out before I could ask about it. Rather than the $40 list price, it was billed at $35, as the distributor had discounted the latest shipment, and the owner had chosen to pass that on.

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  1. Love Trio, though they've actually been there for a couple of years now. It's one of my favorite neighbourhood spots, especially in the summer, when they open up the front to the street. Glad you enjoyed it! If you want a more upscale Italian night, go two doors north to Sapori, which is a sister restaurant. Ask to see their wine cellar and amarone collection. Impressive.

    2 Replies
    1. re: TorontoJo

      A couple of years? I'm amazed. I first noticed it in December, and drive by that stretch often. Thanks for the suggestion.

      1. re: Snarf

        Heh, it's not surprising you missed it -- that stretch of Yonge must have more Italian restaurants than any other area of Toronto outside of College St. Sapori has been there for at least 7 years now, and has always served me well when I've needed an moderately upscale place to take guests to that is close to home. I was happy when they opened Trio, though, as the price point and more casual menu is much more conducive to a "drop in" dinner.

    2. Thanks for posting about Trio, Snarf. I also have not really been aware of its existence. You got me interested, though, and I found this National Post review by Gina Mallet from Nov. of 2008. She puts it up against Terroni and Pizza Libretto and Trio is her personal choice for real Napoli pizza. Must try it soon.


      1 Reply
      1. re: Yongeman

        As TorontoJo has indicated, there are more than a dozen Italian-themed restos, trattorias, food shops, pizza outlets, snack bars and fast food joints on the short strip of Yonge Street from Lawrence Ave. on the south to the City Limits on the north. Most are acceptable, if not particularly distinctive, and one was outright lousy - it went out of business recently, soon to be replaced by yet another Italian spot. So it's understandable that Trio, with its narrow frontage, would be missable for most of its existence. But as others have noted, it does tasty, chewy, wood-burning pizzas in the Neapolitan style, good pastas, nice salads and other dishes at modest prices (considering its high-rent Yonge Street address). And the only concern I have with its recent discovery from outside the neighborhood is that now I may not be able to drop in on a whim and easily get a table in this smallish, long and narrow room - rarely are there more than one or two other occupied tables when I turn up of an evening. My only (minor) beef is with the bottled wine list, which mainly features wines in the $40 to $70 range (admittedly, pretty standard on this strip on Yonge Street known for its astonishly high wine markups), which to me is a bit high to wash down a $12-$13 personal pizza. But the house wines, at about $20 a half-litre, are drinkable enough, if not always clearly identifiable.

      2. +

        3239 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4N2L5, CA

        1. Thanks for the tip, I am always appreciative of new top notch pizza sources.

          10 Replies
          1. re: Pincus

            I was amazed at the review by Gina Mallet in the Post. The pizza at Trio is ok but not even close to Pizza Libretto or Terroni for that matter. I found it pretty ordinary like you could get anywhere - Il Fornello as an example.

            I like the Pizza at Angelo's on Avenue Rd. if you're looking for something in the neighborhood.

            I know what makes a great pizza, or worse yet, a "real" pizza, engenders a lot of debate but it's safe to say that Trio's pie is not the best under any criteria.

            1. re: victor page

              Thanks for the suggestion. I have to disagree with the suggestion that Trio's pizza is as ordinary as Il Fornello, though.

              1. re: Snarf

                My favorite pizza is from Cafe Doria at Yonge and Roxborough. Their margherita is the best in the city. I have not tried Trio yet but it beats Terroni by a mile.

              2. re: victor page

                Where, pray tell, is this Angelo's, on Avenue Rd., of which you speak? Though I'm quite content with the pizza on offer at Trio - the chewiness, the quality toppings, the smoky goodness (courtesy of a wood-burning oven) of the crust - I'm always game to try a competing pie in the neighborhood. Though not OUT of the neighborhood, which explains why I haven't tested Terroni in years, or Pizzeria Libretto ever - 45 minutes to get to those joints, then another half-hour to wait for a table, is not my idea of fun times when I'm lusting for pizza. Indeed, I had thought I'd tried all the pizza places up my way, but apparently not. Though I zip up and down Avenue Rd. north of Eglinton it quite a bit, always alert - like any respectable Chowhounder - for places to take nourishment, I've never spotted an Angelo's. Kindly inform. I'd like to give it a workout, though I've always suspected that just about ANY pie immediately out of the oven - and if you're hungering for pizza - is pretty damn tasty. It's just that, to date in my neighborhood (York Mills/Lawrence Park/North Avenue Rd.), my taste tells me that Trio seems a cut or two above the rest. At least until I find this Angelo's.

                1. re: juno

                  The only Avenue Rd. pizza place I can think if is Rossini's, near the lobster trap. I used to love their combo with the great taste of bacon. Not in the same thin crust category as some of the others mentioned, but a good family, take-home pizza.

                  1. re: Yongeman

                    I believe the poster is talking about Angelini's which is almost across the street from Bruno's if I recall correctly.

                      1. re: robb

                        Ah yes, Angelini's. A slight rearrangement of vowels and the true name of the joint is revealed. In my view, it's a decent pie, a respectable pie, not a pie to be ashamed of. I've tried it a few times - though not lately - and it's quite good, if not ethereal, as I recall. But we all taste things differently - that's what makes this board so much fun - and I still lean, in that neighborhood, to the slightly charred, wood-burning flavor of Trio - until I stumble upon something better (pizza whore that I am).

                        1. re: juno

                          Just had dinner at Trio -- I haven't been there in several months, since before the Gina Mallet review. Whoa, serious difference in traffic. It's usually a summer destination for me, as I like to sit on the little patio, and in the past I don't think I've ever seen the place more than half full. Tonight, DH and I showed up early (6 pm or so) and had no problem getting a table, but by the time we left, the place was totally full and we saw a few people come in and leave without getting a table. Had a quick chat with Luigi, one of the owners, and he said they've been very busy ever since the review came out. I'm pleased for them, as these are hard times for restaurants, but I hope my patio table is still easily available come summer time!

                          We had a soup (broccoli puree), a simple green salad, a margherita pizza and a ciccioni pizza (roasted peppers and sausage), plus a half liter of the house red (thanks for the rec on that, Juno). The bread we were given was sort of a thick flat bread, made from the pizza dough, brush with olive oil and topped with onions. It was unreasonably yummy and actually reminded me of chinese green onion pancakes. It turns out they change the toppings on the bread every day, so there's no guarantee of getting it again.

                          Pizzas were simple and tasty, as they should be. The service was well meaning, but a little unattentive. My favourite server has left, alas. Total, with tax and tip was about $80, and we have enough pizza leftover for a good lunch tomorrow. They were also kind enough to through a few pieces of the yummy flatbread into the box for us. As I said above, it's a good neighbourhood joint that I'm glad is in my neighbourhood.

                        2. re: robb

                          Or was that the fabled restaurant on Jarvis from the past, in the old Gooderham mansion? Great food for many years, mentioned in many canlit novels.

              3. Had the veal trio at 'Trio' tonight. Lovely cognac cream sauce. My dining companion had the mussels, but requested a white wine sauce. Simply divine!

                1. Has anyone ordered take-out pizza from Trio? Was it ok?

                  Also, has anyone tried pizza from Piazzetta near Yonge St & Yonge Blvd lately? http://www.piazzetta.ca/

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: prima

                    Ya, do it up. Best pizza around for miles. Also helps that Agent Kujan runs the spot. Kobayashi!

                    1. re: Chester Eleganté

                      Nice to see you posting again, Chester ;-)

                      I ended up getting the pizzas at Piazzetta. Very good. Crispy flatcrust. Tried 4 pizzas- the Siciliana, the Bracci di Ferro, the Margherita and Calabrese. Surprised it gets mentioned so rarely.

                      Would skip the salad in the future- some of the mixed greens weren't picked over enough, so I ended up rinsing the greens again, and remaking the salad.

                      Would order pizza from Piazzetta again.

                      Piazzetta Trattoria
                      3441 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M4N 2N1, CA

                      1. re: prima

                        Oops, Chester was actually referring to Trio. "Agent Kujan" is Eduardo, the owner, who looks a lot like the actor Chazz Palminteri. :)

                        1. re: TorontoJo

                          Was wondering about the Agent Kujan referrence- now it all makes sense.

                          Will have to revisit Trio- it's been a while!

                          1. re: prima

                            Trio remains a solid neighbourhood choice, as I discovered anew last night after an absence of several months. Its website still doesn't reflect a recent slight rise in menu prices, but the pizzas and pastas are well turned out - I don't think I'll find better within a 20-minute drive of my lodgings (though I'm open to suggestions). I'm partial to the Positano pizza ($15), but they're all pretty damn good. Mind, proprietor Agent Kujan (Eduardo) was nowhere to be seen - perhaps he was hiding, because if I'd have spotted him I'd have bitched about the more than substantial recent price rise on his wine list. Not on the newish wine list was mention of the usual, quite-drinkable house red wine, Citra Montepulciano d'Abruzzo (about $20 per half litre, $30 per litre). I don't visualize myself washing down my $15 pizza with a $40-$70 bottle from the upscale wine list. Modest wines by Citra were made for pizza and pasta. So when I INSISTED on the Citra, they brought it out (somewhat reluctantly, I thought). The bill for two, all in, was a shade under $100 for two good salads (Trio is strong on salads), two pizzas and the Citra half-litre. If you're railroaded into ordering a bottle, you're looking at closer to $150 - which, to my mind, is a bit rich for a neighbourhood pizza joint. But then, wine markups are quite high all along that stretch of Yonge St. Maybe the restaurateurs figure that if you can afford to live in Lawrence Park and York Mills, you can afford to help them make their Yonge St. rents. Trio was about half-full last night, unlike some near-empty nearby Italian restos (whose wine markups are even higher, if such is possible). Usual good service, especially if you get that nice blonde waitress, who knows how to deal with cranks like me.

                            1. re: juno

                              Thanks Juno. I'll have to revisit.
                              re: better pizza within a 20 minute drive. Pizza is such a personal thing. I don't have especially discriminating taste when it comes to pizza, and I am quite open-minded regarding oven, crust, toppings, etc. I'm not sure the following suggestions would be better, but they would be a change from Trio. I enjoyed my pizza at Viva Napoli on Mt Pleasant http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/785420 , but it hasn't been mentioned much since the summer. Some friends that live north of the 401 are partial to the old school, non-flat crust, non-Napoletana, Greek Canadian-made (NTTAWWT) pizzas at Laterna, which I haven't tried yet. Maybe that sort of old school pizza doesn't belong in this thread, but thought I'd mention it.

                              Laterna Dining Room
                              6301 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M2M3X7, CA

                              viva napoli
                              679 mt. pleasant rd, Toronto, ON , CA

                              1. re: prima

                                I haven't been to Trio in a number of months, so can't comment on any price increases on the wine list, but I can put my two cents in about another relatively newish place called Falasca on Yonge south of Eg, same block as the Trek store. Their menu has none of the escalating dishes or wines that take a meal way out of the budget, and the pies are pretty special. Thin crust that doesn't get too mushy in the middle, nice selection of Bruschetta for starters, a few fritti and some pasta dishes, Some might find the wine and beer list (3 Italian brews and one of each colour and texture in the wine department) a little light, but the food quality makes up for it in my mind. Same folks own the gelato shop across the street. Lunch is by the slice only, full menu at dinner.