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New Pizzeria Libretto location opening on the Danforth

http://www.torontolife.com/daily/dail...

Good news for east enders ! Sounds like it should be open by the summertime.

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Pizzeria Libretto
221 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

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  1. I'm so happy I could cry! You've made my day!!!

    1 Reply
    1. re: JennaBean

      Have a link.

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      Pizzeria Libretto Danforth
      550 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K 1P7, CA

    2. I wonder where the location will be. I don't consider the "east end" to be anything west of Victoria Park. If it's going to be located in Riverdale, I'd guess that the old "Trapezzi" location could be a possibility.

      2 Replies
      1. re: foodyDudey

        LOL that's very funny b/c I don't consider anything East of Vic Park Toronto! :-)

        1. re: JennaBean

          If it's east of VP, it's the "East End" in my books. So actually, I think we have a similar mindset. I just can't see how an area just a km or two eat of Yonge and Bloor can be called the "east end", as it's nowhere near the end,, it's just the start of the eastern side of Toronto.

      2. WIll be nice to see how it measures up to QMP...the pizza warfare heats up.

        2 Replies
        1. re: grandgourmand

          Agreed. And when there is a food war, we all win !

          1. re: grandgourmand

            Now Magic Oven will have some competition!

          2. I thought it was the Danforth?
            Just wondering which restos on the Danforth have closed recently....

            5 Replies
            1. re: atomeyes

              the old Myth location never opened. It looks like there might be remodeling happening there but as far as I can tell, it is vacant.

              Not trying to start any rumours but that would be an ideal location for PL. Please!

              1. re: Zengarden

                The Willow also closed, did anything new open there? But Danforth stretches for km's past the Greek section, maybe they are opening near Donlands, or Dawes Rd.

                1. re: foodyDudey

                  Myth has had a sign on it for a while, that it will be "Legions Sports Bar" if that will actually happen is anyone's guess.

                  Willow is already a new place, called Factory Girl, it's either open already or very close to it.

                  There's that place on the south side with the roll up windows that's been vacant and for lease since Mel Lastman was Mayor.

                  I would not be surprised to see them go for a cheaper location further east, Woodbine or Coxwell even.

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                  Factory Girl
                  193 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K 1N2, CA

                  1. re: bytepusher

                    I'd be surprised if it was further east than coxwell. But i'd also be surprised if it was between broadview and pape.

                    i've never been to the ossington strip (gosh, i haven't lived), but from what I can tell, between pape and coxwell, there has to be something comparable, as far as edginess goes.

                    1. re: grandgourmand

                      Someone else mentioned (in the other PL thread) that this new location is going in the former Trapezzi spot. That was also my guess.

                      It's good to see I'm not the only one who hadn't made the trip out to any restaurant on Ossington. I don't wait in queues to get into restaurants so unless the policy is different at this location, I won't be there in a hurry either. It was mentioned that they wanted to open in a family friendly location, so I can imagine families waiting outside on the sidewalk to get in. :-)

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                      Trapezzi
                      505 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K 1P5, CA

            2. Can't wait myself but according to the news - it won't be open until the end of the summer. And when they say the "Danforth" isn't that supposed to mean somewhere between Broadview and Jones (aka Greektown)?

              10 Replies
              1. re: mingo.jones

                People use the term "The Danforth" to mean to mean any part and it ends around Warden. Even the boundaries of Greektown aren't well defined, the Greek restaurants only start around Chester and there are very few east of Carlaw. Pretty soon it will be sushiTown, as cheap sushi places are springing up all over Danforth.

                1. re: foodyDudey

                  I've never waited in line to get into Libretto on Ossington.

                  1. re: jamesm

                    Then maybe I was mistaken, I was sure I read that they don't take reservations and it was hard to get in without waiting around.

                    1. re: foodyDudey

                      I've been twice at around 12:30 and never had a line up. The place was hopping but there was no queue. I only go on Mondays now; the black truffle and egg pizza tends to do that to people :p

                      1. re: table4onthefly

                        I just checked and easily found a few mentions of long wait times. Here is one: http://v1.theglobeandmail.com/servlet...

                        If they open near me at least I can walk back home and they can call when the table is ready.

                        1. re: foodyDudey

                          I"ve been 3 times and never waited in line. Nor would I. The pizza is delicious though. I'm currently hooked on the Duck Confit and Pear pizza. So unbelievably good.

                      2. re: foodyDudey

                        True, no reservations but I've never had to wait in any sort of line. Same with Black Hoof and Hoof Cafe actually.

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                        The Black Hoof
                        928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                        1. re: jamesm

                          Well, that's fortunate for you but the rest of us encounter lines from time to time. I have waited in line at libretto but it moves pretty fast. And don't be mislead, there are plenty of line ups at BH as well, maybe you just aren't in any of them.

                          Excited for the new location of Libretto, wonder how well it will be accepted.

                        2. re: foodyDudey

                          They don't take reservations but they do take cell numbers so it's not as horrible as it sounds.

                      3. re: foodyDudey

                        So true...There are literally sushi places are literally kitty-cornering everything else out of that block.

                        The best pizza on the Danforth is still Danforth Pizza House.
                        I would even rank it #2 on my list behind Libretto for best Pizza in Toronto.

                        I did the QMP thing a month ago and wasn't wowed like I thought I would, or should be.

                        My guess is Libretto will open somewhere East of Greenwood and west of Main.

                    2. Looking forward to it, but, it's not a major event in my life. We have Danforth Pizza House for thick crust, and Mangia E Bevi (which I've tried and loved) and QMP (which I haven't tried, but I hope to fix that this month) for thin crust. It's just another option in a spot already filled with strong contenders, which wasn't the case for the Ossington opening. I did enjoy my one visit there, though.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Pincus

                        My sources tell me that PL will open in the spot currently housing Ilada (sp?) Not sure if I have the name right but it's the desert place near Logan. Apparently has been up for sale for a number of years. The place with all the plants in the window.

                        1. re: millygirl

                          Iliada, closer to Carlaw, between the Baskin Robins and the Used Bookstore. More coffee shop/cafe than dessert place.

                          I'm a little skeptical only based on the report that the location would be bigger than the one on Ossington and this place doesn't qualify on width. I could be wrong though as that building is much deeper than many buildings along the Danforth, if you look at it from Carlaw there's Basking Robins and a hair salon and the stores that front on Danforth are as deep as both of them.

                          -----
                          Iliada Cafe
                          550 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P8, CA

                          1. re: bytepusher

                            Yes thanks for the correct name bytepusher. That is the one.

                            My source seemed very knowledable. It was actually a taxi driver.....greek. He seemed to know everyone and their comings and goings. He could not tell me the name of the pizza place, only that a very popular one is coming. From there I determined it to be PL, but I could be wrong. We'll see.

                            I've never been in there myself. It always looked pretty dingy from the outside what with those straggly plants in the window. Seems like PL will have a huge reno on their hands.

                            Taxi drivers usually are pretty good about stuff in their 'hood.

                            1. re: millygirl

                              Someone else mentioned that the new PL was going into the old Trapezzi spot, he must have heard that from a different taxi driver. It will be interesting to see where the actual location turns out to be.

                              1. re: Gribiche

                                Kokkino is way west of Carlaw, if it's Carlaw then it's Iliada, it's one door away from Carlaw

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                                Iliada Cafe
                                550 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P8, CA

                              2. re: millygirl

                                Let's hope "popular" doesn't mean Pizza Pizza.

                          1. re: earthmomma

                            I walked by the old Trapezzi location last night, there was work going on inside so I stepped in and asked what was opening there and the guy said a "cafe/bar". So I asked if he knew where the new PL location would be and he also pointed to the ILIADA location. I read Steven Davey's review, he loves that phrase "boulevard of broken plates" which he has used in previous reviews. He sounds like a broken record, or is that broken CD? By the way, I was told that the new cafe/bar should be open next week.

                            -----
                            Trapezzi
                            505 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K 1P5, CA

                            1. re: foodyDudey

                              Aha!! I tell ya, cab drivers always have the 411. Esp. the greek ones that drive for Maple Leaf. Those guys know everybody and everything that's happening on the Danforth.

                              1. re: millygirl

                                Good news all!

                                Was in Greektown earlier and can confirm the new Pizzeria Libretto location will be...at the old Iliada spot (at Carlaw - 200m east of Pape/Danforth). Although I didn't see a sign for an opening date, construction is well under way with many workers with power tools and hammers hammering away!

                                Great addition to the area! Nom nom nom....

                                -----
                                Pizzeria Libretto
                                221 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                                Iliada Cafe
                                550 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P8, CA

                                1. re: takethecannoli

                                  Can't wait. That 2 block strip heading east will now have 3 of the best pizza places in the GTA:

                                  Libretto, Mr. Pide and Danforth Pizza House.

                                  1. re: takethecannoli

                                    @ takethecannoli

                                    You might want to read this thread before you make your first post. Earthmomma linked the "news" three posts above yours in February.

                                    1. re: iMarilyn

                                      Ahh excuse me, hate to be picky but I posted about this on January 31st. Just sayin'. LOL

                                    2. re: takethecannoli

                                      Not exactly news, it's been under construction for months. Any of us that live in the area have seen that it has been under construction...

                                      1. re: foodyDudey

                                        Can't believe how long it's taking!

                                        1. re: ghostdogg

                                          Up until now, not at all surprised, it's a total gut of the space to the studs, two wood burning ovens shipped over from Napoli etc. but I did expect them to open this month, it's now been a month since they had their job fair.

                                            1. re: haggisdragon

                                              Went the other day and it was smashing... charcuterie platter, the grande, was fantastic.

                                              The service was good, but then I have NEVER seen so many staff in a restaurant.

                                              Pizzas were both perfect, and the wine selection was most inventive.

                                              1. re: Non Doctor

                                                Yup, have to agree. We went last night and loved it!

                                                The calamari app was esp good as was the arugula and mushroom salad.
                                                Mr. MG had his usual margherita and I had the sausage pizza which we wolfed down. Very very nice.

                                                The highlight for me though was the goat cheese panna cotta served with a blood orange syrup you pour yourself. Best desert I've had this year. Perfect combination and it didn't have that gelatin texture that some panna cotta's have.

                                                Loved the vibe. And yes, could not believe how many were manning the kitchen.

                                                The charcuterie platter looked fabulous btw. AND they take reservations which is very nice. Absolutely loved the place as you can probably tell.

                                                Loved how the owners and managers were on top of everything.

                                                Hands down better than that other place....:)

                                                1. re: millygirl

                                                  Ah, can't wait! We've been trekking westward, kids in tow, for a 4:45 weekend dinner and still lining up. Is it the same menu?

                                                  1. re: millygirl

                                                    You liked it better than Tomasso's?

                                                    OK, I'll go check it out then. :-)

                                                  2. re: Non Doctor

                                                    Yes I believe you had the pecorino. Lisa Lapointe said it was one of her ah ha moments in wine.

                                                  3. re: haggisdragon

                                                    I just returned from lunch. I went there myself since I couldn't wait till the weekend. I ordered 2 small plates and desert.

                                                    They were:

                                                    - Branzino Crudo $10
                                                    - Dungeness crab ravioli $12
                                                    - Goat cheese panna cotta $7

                                                    These were all very good, although I liked the branzino dish a bit more than the ravioli. (though you can't really compare them)

                                                    The panna cotta was excellent also. The price for all that greatness was $33.77 before tip. The only problem with this place is it's less than a 4 minute walk from my house, which means we'll probably eat there often. :-)

                                    3. I took a peek inside.

                                      The positives:

                                      TWO ovens
                                      Lots of staff
                                      Different menu than PLWest.
                                      More space (also seating in the basement)
                                      they take reservations

                                      The negative:
                                      it was early, but it didn't have the vibe that PLWest has

                                      The two ovens and the reservations makes this THE go-to location, IMO.

                                      15 Replies
                                      1. re: atomeyes

                                        They said there won't be so many staff later. They are probably training new staff, and that 's why there are more than usual.

                                        1. re: atomeyes

                                          I've not been to the Ossington location but I gotta say I loved the vibe on the Danforth.
                                          I felt like I was somewhere else.
                                          Fantastic.

                                          1. re: atomeyes

                                            How can you comment on a vibe from just peeking in?? Seems odd to me.

                                            1. re: millygirl

                                              Same way another person could say a certain caterer sucks without trying the food. It is odd isn't it. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/729326

                                              1. re: millygirl

                                                not sure there's confusion about vibe.
                                                you stand there for 5 minutes. you feel a vibe.
                                                you don't eat vibe.
                                                when i was there at 5,during their pre-dinner rush, the room had a less cool feel to it than Ossington. its the decor and the layout.
                                                pretty simple, i think.

                                                1. re: atomeyes

                                                  The Danforth location has a vibe from the subway, and some vibe from my house makes it as far as Danforth also. Perhaps that is what people are feeling.

                                                  After having lunch there yesterday, I have a feeling I may never step into a Greek restaurant around here again, unless I am looking for a "value meal"

                                                  1. re: atomeyes

                                                    You expected a vibe at 5pm? Well, I guess East-enders are less cool than West-enders. I am personally looking forward to not having to schlep across to the West end of town for decent pizza.

                                                    1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                                                      I had dinner at the original Libretto a few years ago at about 5:30pm. There was vibe. I didn't like it.

                                                      1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                                                        I'll spell it out for you in a different way:
                                                        the room is more mature looking than the west side room, which lends itself to more fun. the west location is also more crowded and noisy. some people like that hustle.

                                                        sincerely,
                                                        an east ender.

                                                        1. re: atomeyes

                                                          I disagree. Walk in again at 6:30. Feel the hustle.

                                                          1. re: atomeyes

                                                            The vibe at the original location varies greatly, depending on day and time, and whether you sit in the front part or back part. The vibe has changed a lot since it first opened. When I went to the Ossington location in late Sept, about half the tables were families with kids/teenagers.

                                                            I like a quieter vibe, so I tend to dine out midweek, after the dinner rush. The Danforth Libretto still looked pretty busy around midnight last Sat, so I'll probably save it for a midweek lunch or wait til January if I'm going for dinner.

                                                            I'd expect the Danforth Libretto's vibe to calm down once foodies slow down their gushing and tweeting. I would think it will be possible to have a relatively mellow experience at either Libretto around 5:30 pm any given Tuesday in January.

                                                            I'm happy to see that Libretto has already helped bring back some energy to the Danforth.

                                                          2. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                                                            So how's the food? Is it on par with the other location?

                                                            I expect the vibe to be different from the Ossington location because the staff and clientele are going to be different, but I suspect that it will still be fun and welcoming Danforth style.

                                                            It's definitely going to be an upgrade from Il Fornello, whose vibe is strollers and parents until about 7 PM.

                                                            P.S. East of the Don River IMO makes one an east ender.

                                                            1. re: sloweater

                                                              The food I had at lunch yesterday was great. I'm going back with my wife and 2 others on Saturday and I'll try a pizza.

                                                              1. re: sloweater

                                                                i'm a 15 min walk from PLEast. so yes, bona fide east ender :)

                                                                1. re: sloweater

                                                                  Haven't gone yet, but I'm chompin' at the bit. Great to have them in the hood, really looking forward to checking it out, especially the vino selection.

                                                                  I was skeptical of moving out to the East end a couple of years back, but it's very much grown on me.

                                                        2. Reservation for Sat @930. Hoping I love it as much as the Ossington location. Will report back!

                                                          5 Replies
                                                              1. re: JennaBean

                                                                Went to dinner as planned on Sat evening. The place was packed when we arrived at 930 and there were are least 10 ppl waiting for tables.

                                                                We had the following items:
                                                                Shellfish Acqua Pazza
                                                                Dungeness Crab Ravioli
                                                                Anchovy pizza
                                                                Pork belly pizza
                                                                Panna cotta
                                                                one cappuccino and two glasses of wine.

                                                                The highlight of the dinner was the panna cotta. Prefect texture. Lovely flavour and the blood orange reduction was spot on.

                                                                The second fav item of the evening was the Anchovy pizza. The combo of roasted garlic, peppers and anchovy was prefect and the pizza was well cooked. Lots of great char with nice softness in the centre.

                                                                The pork belly pizza was ok, but neither I nor the BF for the smokiness from the sauce and for me the pork belly itself was not rendered enough. Person pref but it just didn't float my boat.

                                                                The app's were both totally underwhelming and frankly not good.

                                                                The ravioli pasta was tough. It had obviously been overworked and then slightly undercooked. The sauce said it had uni but there was no flavour of uni to either of us. The filling was nice but rather uninspired.

                                                                Shellfish Acqua Pazza was also underwhelming and well not very good. The only part of the dish I really enjoyed was the sauce (delish) and the grilled bread to soak it up. The clams where tiny and very metallic in taste. The spot prawn seems that it has suffered from freeze, partial thaw, re-freeze situation and as a result were mushy. The only saving grace of this dish is that when we mentioned it to the server, the took it off the bill. Not necessary but appreciated.

                                                                Finally the so called cappuccino. It was actually a latte was virtually no foam and was lukewarm at best.

                                                                I wanted to love my meal b/c I've loved the Ossington location in the past. Maybe we ordered wrong, but we didn't love our meal. Overall we were disappointed.

                                                                1. re: JennaBean

                                                                  Four of us went on Saturday and we left just shortly before you arrived. (we were there from 7:15 to 9:15)

                                                                  We also had the pork belly pizza (my wife's idea) and it was not really that great, same issues as you had.

                                                                  We also ordered a house made sausage pizza and although it was pretty good, it was nothing to write home about.

                                                                  We also ordered :

                                                                  - Grande Antipasto plate. Not very "grande" and certainly not worth $28. I thought those few bits of cheese that must have been 1 cubic inch each were a joke. I can make a plate like that myself for around $6 or less.

                                                                  - Breaded Calamari: everyone liked this but the portion size was tiny! For $14 I expect more than 30 or 40% of the portion you get at a Greek place for $10 or so. A five year old would eat twice the amount that was on that plate.

                                                                  - Branzino crudo: I still liked this dish which I had when I went in for lunch last week. It's a reasonable portion for $10. The others liked it also.

                                                                  We had two types of dessert:

                                                                  - panna cotta: we all liked that.

                                                                  - chocolate budino: tasted good, but too sweet. And not as good as I expected, it was very similar to a chocolate pudding. I know that is what it's supposed to be, but I expected a really good chocolate pudding, such as shown in this recipe: http://dailywaffle.com/2011/06/26/a16...

                                                                  Overall, I have to say it was not as good as I had expected, and my first impressions when I dined there last week may have sounded like I found my new "best restaurant on Danforth east of Chester". Well it ain't so. I could tell that the others I was dining with probably thought the same, but maybe didn't come out and make that obvious since it was my suggestion to go there. And the noise level... you can barely hear your dining companions over the music and other noise. There is nothing on the walls to absorb the sound. I guess that is the "vibe" that was mentioned earlier. Overall, I'll try it again sometime and hope they improve the menu and the portion sizes of the "small plates". And I'll try some of the other pizzas they offer.

                                                              2. As another east ender living 5 minutes from PLEast, I was interested in all of the hype surrounding the "second coming". First, let me state that I am not a huge pizza fan, having had too much mediocre stuff in my teenage years, it is normally not my food of choice. However, with two foodie sons, one of whom is living in New Haven which arguably (at least according to him) has the best pizza on the eastern seaboard, if not the whole U.S., it was inevitable that we would succumb to the siren call of Libretto. And succumb we did, all in all a (qualified) positive experience. So here's what we loved:
                                                                -Reservation - it was a smooth, positive experience. Now, making a reservation for a restaurant is generally no big deal, but given the often long lineups at west end Libretto, and the legendary (2 hour or more) line-ups at New Haven's best (Pepe's, Sally's), I was grateful to be quickly and efficiently shown to our table when we arrived
                                                                -Service - responsive, friendly and accommodating. However, they have "overstaffed" for the opening, so service may not be as spot on in a few weeks
                                                                -Starters- we started with the calamari and the charcuterie plate, both of which were good, and I very much liked the pizza dough/bread with the charcuterie plate. It was not the best charcuterie plate in the city by a long shot, but hey this is a pizza joint so I was impressed.
                                                                -Pizzas - we tried 4 - duck confit, mushroom, pork belly and papa luigi with tomato, speck, gorgonzola and red pepper. Yes, I get that they are done in an 850 degree oven straight from Italy that blister those pizzas to perfection in 90 seconds. Also, the ingredients are first rate, for example the pork belly pizza comes with smoked tomato ragoût, mozzarella, bomba, caramelized onions and lemon thyme. Wow.

                                                                And here's what we felt was not so positive:

                                                                The pizzas, I have to say, were good not great. First, I didn't think the duck confit pizza worked, the ingredients didn't meld well for some reason. Sometimes less is more with ingredients. As for the other pizzas, (and here's my qualifier), if you like the style of Libretto pizzas - chewy, wet in the middle, not a lot of char, and a crust that is neither thin nor thick, you are going to love them. If you prefer more char, a crisper crust or other style, you may be somewhat disappointed given all the buzz about this place. Also, the panna cotta which several people on this posting thought was terrrific, I felt was quite ordinary, the consistency was tougher than it should be, and the flavour was MIA.

                                                                However, at the end of the day, it is a pizza joint after all, and keeping this in mind it is a fine, well-run operation, serving good ingredients in a fun, high energy environment. A great addition to the Danforth. Hope they do well.

                                                                7 Replies
                                                                1. re: soko

                                                                  Hi Soko,

                                                                  I have not tried a pizza yet but I hope they aren't all "chewy and wet" in the middle. Regarding the panna cotta, mine was not at all tough, it was silky smooth and creamy. It also tasted great. I had gone for lunch by myself and didn't drink anything except water, so my taste buds were not affected by alcohol. Yesterday I was wondering if I'd like everything I had more or less with a drink. I concluded that water is best if I want to just taste the food. I'm mentioning this as something like panna cotta which is so delicate may taste quite different after a glass of wine or three.

                                                                  1. re: foodyDudey

                                                                    Sometimes PLWest pizza is wet in the middle, sometimes it isn't. I'd guess it depends on who is pulling the pizzas out of the oven, and how busy the restaurant happens to be. There might be more premature pizzas being unloaded when there's a crowd.

                                                                    I haven't tried ordering PL pizza "fully baked" in the middle, but I guess one could try ordering it that way. If you can order your cappuccino dry, I don't see why you couldn't order a pizza dry.

                                                                    The char is also variable at PL.

                                                                  2. re: soko

                                                                    soko - as a person who can't fall in love with Libretto, I need to ask if there is a place in Toronto that pleases your family more? Thanks!

                                                                    1. re: justsayn

                                                                      By the way, does anyone know where i can get some New Haven-style pizza in Toronto?
                                                                      (I think I already know the answer to that question)
                                                                      ;-D

                                                                    2. re: soko

                                                                      "Chewy and wet in the middle", that's just Napoli-style pizza. For Roman-style thin and crispy crust, Mangia e Bevi is the place to go. Best pizza in Toronto for me. (Newcomer Falasca's round pizzas are very good, too btw).

                                                                      1. re: ghostdogg

                                                                        I agree that "Chewy and wet in the middle" is what Napoli-style pizza is. So many are so used to dry pizza that when someone comes up with an authentic style pizza they think it's not done properly. For a while Queen Margherita Pizza tried not cutting the pizza into slices (because that's also how Napoli-style pizza is actually served - people just fold it over and eat it like a sandwich) but they got so many complaints that they started slicing it again.

                                                                        Neither QM or PL can possibly please everyone, especially if they want to be authentic, and, even if they weren't there is no way a pizza place could possibly satisfy everyone's individual tastes in pizza. Let the line-ups and strong customer loyalty of the two places speak for itself. If you don't like Napoli-style pizza and chewy and wet (and the occasional over-wet middle) then don't go to these two restaurants.

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Queen Margherita Pizza
                                                                        1402 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4L, CA

                                                                      2. re: soko

                                                                        Even at only 90 seconds you can still manage a rotation or two while it cooks. Are they not spinning the pizza to even out the cooking?

                                                                      3. I haven't been. But they are super nice on the phone. Might drop by tonight.

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: grandgourmand

                                                                          Be forewarned they are fully booked until 9:30 (the only time I could get a table for 3). If you are doing take-out then that shouldn't matter.

                                                                          1. re: LTL

                                                                            They have those bar stool seats facing the window. Wonder if those are meant for single and/or drop in customers? Or people waiting for their table? I'd be annoyed if I reserved and was seated there.

                                                                            1. re: julesrules

                                                                              No, those are for walk-ins. The tables at the back are for reservations. And the seats downstairs are also for walk-ins.

                                                                              Ended up going. vs. Pizza Margherita I like the more interesting apps, and a more interesting draft beer selection (incl. Duggan's #9). But, I like Pizza Margherita's pizzas better. I find Libretto's dough a bit too chewy.

                                                                              1. re: grandgourmand

                                                                                I've heard they also seat families with young kids in the basement. Which is good news to me - I like knowing there's an appropriate place should I decide to bring them.
                                                                                Thanks for the beer info as well.

                                                                        2. I've been going to Pizza Libretto frequently since it opened on Ossington. Last night I had dinner with a friend at the new Danforth restaurant, which is closer to where I live. As always the food was great, but I had one big complaint about an appetizer I had which was the 'Shellfish Acqua Pazza (crazy water) (b.c. spot prawns, manila clams, grilled bread, lobster tomato brodo) ..... $13'. Not an inexpensive appetizer but I figured that the manila clams and b.c. spot prawns might justify the price.

                                                                          First of all, the dish was rather meagre for $13 and those manila clams are so awfully small that I would have expected them to have put more than 5 or 6 in the dish. The lobster tomato brodo tasted funny to me but then maybe that's just me. Anyway, what bothered me the most was I did not see any B.C. spot prawns in the dish. What I saw was 2 conventional shrimp which, btw, tasted like they had been previously frozen. I know what spot prawns look and taste like and these were not them. So, when a server came by I told him that there were no B.C. spot prawns in the dish and that instead conventional shrimp had been substituted. He insisted they were spot prawns. So, I asked him to go and talk to the Chef and to send the Chef over if he insisted they were spot prawns. The server came back without the Chef and told me that the Chef told him that their supplier said they were spot prawns. When I said they weren't the server replied that their supplier must be lying and walked away. That left me with a bad taste in my mouth (no pun intended) as he should have been a bit more accomodating when he saw that I was remaining steadfast in what I thought and should have then sent the Chef over as I had originally requested.

                                                                          I ended up leaving it at that because I thought I was already starting to spoil the good time I expected my friend and I to have that evening in Libretto's new restaurant. Also, I guess, there was this tiny (very tiny!) feeling that maybe I was wrong. I should have taken a picture of the shrimp but I didn't and today I did a bit of googling about spot prawns and took a look at some pictures to see if maybe there are some variety of B.C. spot prawns that look like conventional shrimp. Well, someone correct me if I am wrong, but there isn't. Also, I found that B.C. spot prawn season ended this year on July 1, 2011. So, if they somehow were spot prawns they were previously frozen ones and for $13 for the dish and only 2 of them one would expect fresh ones but this would not be possible given the date the season ended (if they were indeed B.C. spot prawns).

                                                                          Pardon the pun, but this all seems fishy to me!

                                                                          So, does anyone know anything about this these 'b.c. spot prawns' that Libretto is serving? Am I wrong about this? Has anyone else had the dish and knows what I am talking about? I am surprised that Libretto would be so wrong or make a substitution like this, given they appear to care so much about their food, but I have no other explanation.

                                                                          18 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Flexitarian

                                                                            This time of year spot prawns will be frozen, probably from Organic Ocean who seems to be the most common supplier shipping from BC to Toronto. They either process (heads removed) and flash freeze them on the boat or keep them alive and process them as quickly as possible after landing.

                                                                            Visually the biggest difference between tiger prawns (the conventional farmed shrimp) and spot prawns are the spots running along the side of the shell and the much longer legs. In the frozen product when they knock off the heads I think they also strip off the lower legs at least that seems to be the way they are for the ones we buy at market.

                                                                            Once shelled I can't personally tell the visual difference between the spot prawn and the tiger prawn, but one certainly can detect a texture and flavour difference.

                                                                            Were they served with the shells still on? if so you should have been able to see the spots on the sides of the shells (which I find turn white with a pink ring around them when cooked) but if they are served shelled, I don't think you can visually tell the difference.

                                                                            1. re: bytepusher

                                                                              They were served with just the small tail piece shell on and there were absolutely no spots on them. They were also very small, maybe 1-1/2 - 2 inches long (with the tail) if that.

                                                                              1. re: bytepusher

                                                                                I've been to the Danforth libretto twice now, and as a huge fan of the Ossington location I have to say it has been a disappointment to me both times. I can appreciate that they are not interested in opening an exact replica, but they have managed to leave out every single one of my favourite elements of the original location (except for the classic margherita, which is still perfect). I have tried two of their salads and found both tasteless and uninteresting, and the appetizers I had were fine (the anchovy crostini and Branzino Crudo) but nothing exciting. What remains solid are the pizzas and desserts (though they left off one of my favourite pizzas that I was so looking forward to). The original location has wonderfully unpretentious food that is delicious and high quality and full of flavour -- I have never been disappointed by a meal there. I love the daily pizza specials, the lunch prix fixe, the daily bruschetta, the cheese options, their fabulous salads that are always reasonably portioned for the price, the wonderful small plates. None of those things have found their way into the new menu. Portions are significantly smaller, which I would be fine with if the food was worth it. It is also less vegetarian friendly. I am trying very hard to love the new place for what it offers, but I have to admit I've left both times feeling slightly bummed.

                                                                                1. re: earthmomma

                                                                                  Surprised to hear you did not enjoy the salads. We had the arugula and mushroom one and both agreed it was excellent and something we would order again and again. Loved the dressing. Very simple vinegarette but the balance was just perfect.

                                                                                  I think he has 3 salads on the menu and you tried two of them - perhaps this is the one you missed out on?

                                                                                  1. re: millygirl

                                                                                    Shouldn't they just have 3 great salads, rather one out of three?

                                                                                    1. re: justsayn

                                                                                      Yes, unfortunately that is the only one I didn't try -- but I agree with justsayn ... shouldn't all of them be good? They sounded great on paper but both were disappointing upon arrival.

                                                                              2. re: Flexitarian

                                                                                You're wrong, they're flash frozen spot prawns. He has used them in the past on C5's menu, from Taro's.

                                                                                If they tasted like conventional frozen shrimps from Vietnam/Thailand, then they were overcooked.

                                                                                  1. re: haggisdragon

                                                                                    Well I should have complained about the whole dish, like JennaBean (we were there at the same time apparently), and got it taken off the bill as it was a huge disappointment. Next time I see B.C. spot prawns on the menu I am going to ask if they are frozen or fresh as having these type of frozen spot prawns is a first for me after eating them for years. They were simply awful.

                                                                                    1. re: Flexitarian

                                                                                      Then only order them from May to first week of July.

                                                                                      1. re: aser

                                                                                        Well they could also be frozen during that time even if in season, so I think one has to ask.

                                                                                      2. re: Flexitarian

                                                                                        Spot prawns have a survival mechanism, they have a biostore in their guts of an enzyme that they can selectively release to digest their own muscles as a food source if they are unable to feed. A short period after they die this enzyme gets released enmasse and can permeate the tail meat and start to turn it mushy quite fast, if you see any black spots it means this has happened for sure. This is why the preferred ways to buy spot prawns are, in order:
                                                                                        - live, as freshly caught as possible
                                                                                        - flash frozen immediately after being killed
                                                                                        - tails on ice

                                                                                        But even live without food they prawns will kick in the survival mechanism after a few days so the closer to catch the better.

                                                                                        What sometimes happens with the more skeavy operators if they can't move their live inventory they will pick out the nearly dead ones, and dehead and freeze them then, but by that point the meat is already mushy. I suspect that's what has happened here rather than freeze/thaw mishandling.

                                                                                        I've had properly flash frozen ones and they're really good, almost as good as dayboat Mediterranean gambas I've had in Spain so don't be afraid of the freezing process necessarily,

                                                                                        1. re: bytepusher

                                                                                          That's why I prefer to eat them at Chinese restaurants or cook them myself. They'll be alive from a tank. The live ones will have a texture akin to lobster, very far removed from frozen farmed shrimp.

                                                                                          Pretty sure no western restaurants will house them in a live tank. The texture degrades rather quickly, in a matter of an hour if the head is left on.

                                                                                          The likelihood of someone selling frozen spot prawns during the season is low. As the suppliers are pushing live. The frozen stuff they're stockpiling for the off season.

                                                                                          At Chinese supermarkets in Vancouver, you can get them for $8/lb during the season. Here, the cheapest sale price will be $13/lb, but can go up to $20/lb.

                                                                                          1. re: aser

                                                                                            Seems like this menu item may have been intended for their summer menu when the restaurant was originally supposed to open, as it doesn't make a lot of sense on the menu right now.

                                                                                            @Aser In the past, Rodneys has had live spot prawns in one of the tanks.

                                                                                            1. re: aser

                                                                                              Not to stray too much, aser and bytepusher, but you two seem to be the right people to ask.

                                                                                              I can easily chart produce seasons. I can easily chart sustainable seafood. Is there a resource for tracking sustainable seafood seasons that can help guide a person through Toronto fishmongers?

                                                                                              1. re: Googs

                                                                                                Sorry the late reply.

                                                                                                Locally, I know Diana's site lists months of availability for their product.

                                                                                                http://www.dianasseafood.com/products/

                                                                                                It's pretty hard to have an all encompassing list of seasonal dates. As product is often mislabeled. Best advice as always is to ask questions in a reputable shop with good volume, like Diana's.

                                                                                                1. re: aser

                                                                                                  Thanks aser. Very much appreciated. That's a good start. If I find something all-ancompassing, I'll be sure to let you know.

                                                                                  2. this a class operation guys, look for changes and improvements as time goes. And remember its a pizzeria.

                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: haggisdragon

                                                                                      And it's only been open for 2 weeks.

                                                                                      1. re: sloweater

                                                                                        The Danforth is not Ossington, and to be clear it seems that Max and Rocco realize this at least somewhat but I expect they will find over time that they need to make some bigger adjustments than they already have. My first WTF moment was discovering Sunday that they don't open for Sunday lunch?

                                                                                        1. re: bytepusher

                                                                                          Sunday is the day good, church-going Italians and good, church-going Danforth Greeks go to church, and eat a made-from-scratch-by-Mamma lunch at home. I realize plenty of 20 and 30something stroller-pushing, non-church-going, pizza-loving customers live in the neighbourhood and might be looking for pizza at lunchtime on a Sunday, but I would think at least some of the PL Danforth owners/staff would like Sunday off.

                                                                                          Not even sure if Vera Napoletana pizzeria guidelines authorize establishments to serve pizza on Sundays. Doesn't sound authentic. Ha ha. ;-)

                                                                                          1. re: prima

                                                                                            The Ossington location doesn't open till 4:00 on Sundays either.

                                                                                            1. re: prima

                                                                                              And that explains why Pantheon is packed with Greek families most Sundays after church....

                                                                                              1. re: bytepusher

                                                                                                Maybe PL Danforth is not open for lunch on Sundays so the staff can go eat at Pantheon, and beat the after church rush.

                                                                                                I didn't realize that Pantheon is packed on Sundays. I've usually only seen it packed on Greek Parade days, during the dinner rush, and during Taste of the Danforth. Good for them, if they've got a full house on Sundays.

                                                                                            2. re: bytepusher

                                                                                              Hmmmm, other than that one 'spot prawn' dish I didn't like I thought that the place was great and loved new menu. Maybe I'm not that picky after all! lol

                                                                                              1. re: bytepusher

                                                                                                And starting Feb 26th PL Danforth will be opening for lunch on Sundays

                                                                                                Hoo-ray

                                                                                            3. re: haggisdragon

                                                                                              I agree. Can't get over how great the service was given they've just opened. Saturday evening we had the Grande app (charcuterie/cheese/flatbreads), arugula and mushroom salad and 3 different pizzas - all very good. You could certainly taste the quality of the ingredients. It satisfied vegetarians and carnivores alike. And OMG, how is it I've lived this long without having tried Pecorino wine before?! A very welcome and much needed addition to the Danny. Will be back soon and often.