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Jan 20, 2011 01:59 AM

3rd-rate pizza at disappointing meal @ Via Allegro - what gives?

I have long been a fan of Via Allegro, which I know inspires strong reactions pro and con amongst local gourmets. However, joining friends for an early dinner there last night , I opted for a light meal as I had a late-night function to attend afterwards. And I was unpleasantly surprised how really poor were its two main components. To be fair, my heavier-eating companions enjoyed their lamb and risotto, and the taste of one of their desserts (passion fruit cheesecake) made me envy the selection. As well, the service, sometimes the object of criticism, was warm and informed even if the sliver of Gorganzola with honey accompanying an Amarone arrived 10 minutes after my glass was brought to the table.

But the real disasters were -

My pizza "Porco x 3: Semi-spicy boar sausage, in-house cured pancetta, smoked Italian ham, red peppers, caramelized leeks, tomato sauce and mozzarella. " Well, it may have had those ingredients, but it arrived literally flopping over the plate, a huge, uncrisp, flat-tasting uncrusty crust which a not very able home cook might turn out on a first try, with a mere scattering of the enumerated toppings, themselves pleasant enough but underseasoned - and the whole abomination luke warm. Quite frankly I have had much better pizza - crust and toppings - from Pizza Nova. It is unbelievable that an Italian restaurant of such pretensions and with VA's pedigree and pride should turn out such a really third-rate pie. Not to mention wrap the leftovers in a brown paper bag!

As for the much-touted tira mi su dessert, it too was gargantuan: four ice scream coops "Our classic dessert of Brandy scented espresso soaked Italian biscuits with layers of imported mascarpone cream. Also a nutella (hazelnut and chocolate) tiramisu variation with a milk chocolate banana sauce." No sign of the chocolate banana sauce - and the whole thing bland bland bland and tending to be dry, rather than the creamy moist luxuriousness I associate with the best examples of that confection.

I was a friend's guest - and he had gone to a lot of trouble to coordinate busy schedules and a special treat, so I was not in a position to complain to our affable waitress - but what a let down. It will be a long time before I make the trek to Etobicoke again.

Via Allegro
1750 The Queensway, Toronto, ON M9C5H5, CA

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  1. Via Allegro has been on a downward spiral for a few years now!
    Even at its prime, I was stunned to have dined in this so-called upscale Italian place that allowed little kid from running around the dining room screaming!! And the wait staff/management did nothing!!

    Via Allegro
    1750 The Queensway, Toronto, ON M9C5H5, CA

    2 Replies
    1. re: Charles Yu

      they got roasted today in the star, actually ive been there plenty of times , not as bad as she says , they probably didnt kiss her ass!
      it is pricey though.

      Via Allegro
      1750 The Queensway, Toronto, ON M9C5H5, CA

      1. re: whyeat67

        We were there 2 weeks ago for my brother-in-law`s birthday and the service was terrible. I am not exaggerating when I say that we waited for 1 hour for our main courses. The food was good but not excellent. The prices are outrageous for what you get in terms of both food and service. When you are charging your customers $32-$42 for rissotto, EVERYTHING should be PERFECT!

    2. Went there last year kids BDay party was going on at same time Screaming yelling kiddos is not what I'd like with my meal Also expensive and food only ok Miranda