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Sep 19, 2010 08:16 PM

Pizzeria Magpie

Attended oenopole's third anniversary party this evening. Ran into gastronomically trustworthy friends who raved about Pizzeria Magpie, where they'd eaten the night before. Been open for business for about three weeks. The owner -- or one of the owners -- is also one of the owners of The Sparrow (whence the ornithological connection, what?). Friends said their starters -- meatballs and a ceasarish romaine salad with anchovies -- were great but their pizza, topped with caramelized onions, black olives, ricotta, oregano and tomato sauce, was out of this world.

Pizzas come in one size (12"?). Starters include oysters on the half shell. There are a few local beers on tap (including St. Ambroise Pale Ale) and a short wine list with all wines available by the bottle or the glass. Desserts include brownies (I wonder whether there's a Cocoa Locale connection).

They have a website of sorts (Facebook resto sites are so lame):

Decided to drop by for dinner and was sad to see they're closed Sundays and Mondays. Open Tuesday to Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday for dinner. Closing time is 22:00 if I recall correctly.

Some people are claiming Magpie serves the best pizza in town. Seemed strange that there's been no mention of it on Chowhound. If you've gone there, please report.

16 Maguire (a couple of doors east of St-Laurent)
514 507-2900

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  1. Sounds promising
    What kind of pizza is it? Neapolitan, Roman?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Evilbanana11

      Friends reply (slightly edited): "The crust at Magpie is in between matzoh and pillow bread: a puffy (not fluffy) crust that made a good handle, otherwise thin and moisture-resistant. We ordered a fairly moist pizza and the crust held strong. The tomato sauce is above average. They mention San Marzano tomatoes; not sure if they are fresh or canned."

    2. Sure the name is also a pun - on Maguire, the street, and pie, a term more common in parts of the US for pizza. Googling pizzeria Magpie, there are others in New England.

      I really hadn't seen that place, probably because it is on the south side of the street; if I'm cycling or taking the bus up St-Laurent I'd mostly see businesses on the north corners. Thanks for the tip, it sounds great. How are their prices?

      5 Replies
      1. re: lagatta

        from 12$ for the simple margharia to 18$ for the meatballs pizza.

        1. re: lagatta

          «Sure the name is also a pun - on Maguire, the street, and pie, a term more common in parts of the US for pizza.»

          Or, more likely, on the French word for magpie: pie. I'm sure that's what they'll claim if hauled before the OQLF.

          Canadian anglos, including locals of my acquaintence, use pie, pizza pie or Italian pie as a synonym for pizza too and have for years. I don't consider it strictly US usage, more Italo-North American.

          Given that we're not talking about $0.99 slices here, prices are fairly reasonable. For deets, see the (barely legible) menu -- probably the establishment's placemats -- in the Photos section of their "web" site:

          Edit: Just noticed that prices include taxes. Also, it's cash only.

          1. re: carswell

            Yes, of course it is also a pun on la pie.

            I don't think pie for pizza is nearly as common here among anglophones (or in Ontario) as in the US. And have never heard an italophone here calling it anything but pizza or dialectical variations), but it is certainly possible.

            Certainly didn't expect 99 cent slices - there, you really do get what you pay for. But some "gourmet pizzas" can be overpriced.

            1. re: carswell

              "Also, it's cash only."

              a Sparrow specialty! :-)

              1. re: Maximilien

                Good to know - I've told some friends visiting from Toronto who are renting an apartment in Mile End nearby. Thanks to all!

          2. So they have a wood-burning pizza oven(that's what they say on their Facebook page)? I thought wood-burning ovens were not allowed in the Montreal-area.

            8 Replies
            1. re: BLM

              Not sure where you heard that... I've been to plenty of wood-burning oven pizza places in Montreal

              Also, reference: "Right in this block lies Pizzaiole, a rather conspicuous place with a loud Italian-colored awning boasting “pizza four de bois” (wood-oven pizza,) actually quite a common attribute of pizza places in Montreal these days."

              1. re: kpzoo

                It's only been the past year or so(maybe 15 months ago) it's been disallowed(for new restaurants only). Before that, the establishments already with wood burning ovens are allowed to keep them.

                1. re: BLM

                  So maybe whatever was at the Magpie location previously already had a wood-burning oven, then...?

                  1. re: kpzoo

                    Just looked it up and it used to be a bakery, so maybe it already had a wood-burning oven.

                    1. re: kpzoo

                      Yep that would be the only exception(for a new establishment). It took over a place, with a previous wood-burning oven.

                      1. re: BLM

                        You're probably referring to the by-law which prohibits the installation of fireplaces and furnaces which are not "low emission" certified. I know that that by-law specifically permits the installation of wood burning equipment, provided it's used for commercial food production:



                        1. re: alexthecook

                          That's interesting. I've asked 2 Montreal restaurants about it. One of them, told me they installed their wood burning pizza oven just before the ban. The other told me, the ban doesn't apply to Laval(where they were opening a pizzeria with a wood burning oven). And another one told me, they have a gas-fired pizza oven, because new wood burning ovens are not allowed anymore in restaurants.

                    2. re: kpzoo

                      According to today's Gazette review, the Magpie wood burning oven, comes from the now defunct restaurant Tutto Bene on nearby St. Viateur street.

              2. (disclaimer, I'm no pizza expert...)

                stopped for a quickie take-out of "tomato-roquette-proscuito" pie.

                The crust is very good, probably better when eaten on site (10-ish walk to home), maybe 1, 2 more minutes cooking would have make it perfect.
                The tomato sauce is _very_ good (IMO), more like a minute-sauce than a long stewed sauce.
                The topping were good and fresh.

                at 18h, the place was filling up.


                3 Replies
                1. re: Maximilien

                  Thx for your report, Maximlien. About how big is this place?

                  1. re: kpzoo

                    My guess is it can seat about 30-40.

                    I had the tomato-roquette-prosciutto pie too. I also noticed that the crust could have benefited from just a minute or so more in the oven, but the pizza was otherwise very good, especially the sauce.

                2. I've been a few times now - and since the opening they have really gotten much better. Teh sauce is good - very good. Good distro of ingredients. Personally I could use a few more varieties of pizza. Service is super friendly, very nice folks in there. Totally a go to place in my regular round in my neighborhood. The interior is done up nicely, homey. The place was a bakery that never made it open, and before that it was a petfood store years ago. Well worth stopping in and checking out, fairly inexpensive dinner out for what is arguably within range of bottero in terms of crust + taste, and if there were more varieties of pie, Id go more often.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: delray

                    Unlike delray, I think it is important for small restaurants not to have too wide a variety of dishes - often the quality suffers as a result. I'm sure you could suggest a favourite of yours that you might have in mind.

                    Do they do takeout?