Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >
Oct 25, 2011 08:16 PM

Is there any "American-style" pizza in Toronto?

This post is prompted by a visit I made today to the much-touted La Nova Pizzeria during an airport run to Buffalo, NY, La Nova is a local chain as far as I know.

Sampling three slices, a thin crust pepperoni and regular slices of chicken fingers and pepperoni + italian sausage, I realized that they represented a particular style and flavour profile which defines the quintessence of what for want of a better term I will dub "American-style" pizza = the type you find in similar local chains and stand-alones throughout the US - especially in New England and the mid-Atlantic states, but for which I have searched in vain in the GTA. (And yes, I realize the US pizza scene is at least as variegated as ours!)

This lack of the particular type of pizza is the stranger in that Toronto certainly has other and highly-varying types: the ultra-thin gourmet "certified" Neapolitan-style, the mass-market varieties as are Pizza Pizza and Pizza Nova, the "deep dish" Chicago style and the austerely-topped and bready Italian bakery slabs as one might find served at room temp stacked on a counter at Riviera and similar places. All have their fans, all fine in their own way.

So what is this "American--syle" I am seeking? As I write, I realize that it is hard to define - I suspect many of you who have traveled south of the border will know it, or recognize it, but not sure my description quite does it justice.

Here goes, anyway: - quite oily (I went through a good few Lysol wipes while indulging in the car); a yeasty-tasting but not overpowering bread base with a sprinkling of (sesame?) seeds at the perimeter; an intense cheese flavour, with more cheese on a standard pie (ie, not ordered with "double cheese") than one would find on the other varieties described above; a tomato sauce more sparingly applied than here, but deep in flavour, more acidic though I don't mean that in a negative sense, more tangy and tasting home-made; the Italian sausage in generous non-uniform chunks larger and dare I say "porkier" than I've seen here, the pepperoni more flavorsome, slightly smaller in diameter, less rubbery.

So - any nominees for spots which serve such pies in the GTA?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I think the closest I ever found was The Real McCoy in Scarborough. But it's still not the same. Buffalo has a distinct style, but your description is spot-on in terms of the general differences across the border.

    1. Sounds to me you're looking for New York (City) style pizza, or possibly something along the lines of Papa John's (which is thicker than NYC style). Buffalo pizza is more of a hybrid between the NYC and Chicago deep dish style. Not as deep nor thick as Chicago but certainly not thin like NYC.

      Also, don't expect to find substantial cheese here unless you want to pay for it... I'll save you the dairy cartel complaints but that's the reason why pizza places here appear to apply cheese with a spray gun....

      That being said, if you're on the east side of town, drive out to Ajax and try Pizza Pino. I think their product is close to what you want. Those guys don't cheap out on cheese or toppings.

      Pizza Pino
      855 Westney Rd S, Ajax, ON L1S3M4, CA

      2 Replies
      1. re: TexSquared

        We don't stick sesame seeds on our pizzas here in NYC. That might be particular to La Nova.

        1. re: TexSquared

          I will second Pino Pizza. An awesome pizza which does not scrimp on toppings, yet is very flavourful with being over the top,

        2. Yes, indeedy!
          I LOVE La Nova, LOVE Baci, and absolutely LOVE Anchor Bar pizza - all authentic "Buffalo Style" Pizza, which is not NYC style which you'll find is thinner and more sparsely topped.
          Buffalo style pizza is my personal fave style, and just a side-note, the sesame seeds are optional, depending on the pizza you choose, and they have a LOT to choose from.
          How I wish there was good Buffalo Style pizza in TO! (one day soon, I'll give up and open my own wing/pizza/burger joint) ... but I'll head off to Pino and report back soon, since Tex rarely steers me wrong :-)

          1 Reply
          1. re: TorontoTips

            When you mention American-style pizza, I think of the chains that exist in the US (from all my travels in the USA).
            With the exception of NY & Chicago, the rest of the USA are just generic Pizza Huts.

          2. Check out this post Serious eats did on Regional styles of pizza. There are many in America

            1. Anything like some of the ones mentioned here? (Syracuse, I know, not Buffalo, but there might be a match still.)

              1 Reply