Pizzeria Via Mercanti
Was very excited to try this place after reading the Toronto Life article and some outstanding reviews. Love Neapolitan pizza and have been a fan of Libretto these last few years (over the other Toronto offerings), but have had better in other cities. Raced down to Kensington to give it a go. The space is gorgeous, lovely lighting and wood everywhere. It wasn't very busy, but the place is new and still working out some kinks.
We tried a few antipasti which were nice but nothing to get too excited about. The best we had were the roasted vegetables, which were sweet and marinated beautifully (though the portion was small), and came with what looked like pizza dough "bread". The arugula salad was a bit disappointing. Arugula, some baby tomatoes, and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese (the super-fine grated kind you get at the grocery store, it seemed like), hardly dressed... kind of boring. Also a warning to vegetarians: several of their antipasti items randomly had meat in them even though it doesn't specify on the menu. The arugula salad came with slices of prosciutto on top with no warning -- which didn't please the vegetarians at the table. They were accommodating when we pointed it out and said that they would clarify the menu further for the future. Found it a bit strange though.
On to the pizzas. The crusts were beautiful, though we like them a little more charred. Chewy and slightly crisp at the same time... really lovely. Better than Libretto's, I thought. The rest we found a little bland unfortunately. More salt or something? Never had an issue with Libretto where I found flavour on the pizza lacking. The tomato sauce tasted fresh, just missing something. They give you a little jar of chili peppers to put on the pizzas but they weren't hot at all. We enjoyed ourselves, just weren't blown away.
For dessert we tried the Ricotta e Pera. Two layers of cake sandwiching a lovely pear and ricotta filling. It was so light and not too sweet. Really nice.
It's a great addition to the Kensington neighbourhood, and certainly the best place to sit down to eat. Will I race across town and stand in line to eat their pizza? Probably not. But when I'm in the area, it would definitely be a great place to have a bite. Might try it again when they've had a bit more time to work things out.
We had dinner here last night and thought it was fantastic. Walked in and there's a much more mellow vibe than dealing with Libretto or Queen, it was busy but we were seated right away. Arugula salad was meat free, fresh and delish. SO had an eggplant lasagne that was excellent. I don't particularly care for eggplant and really enjoyed this.
The winner of the nightwas the Via Mercanti pizza. It's a thin pizza with ricotta cheese, prosciutto, sausage and then topped by a margherita pizza. It's sort of like Neapolitan pizza crossed with a calzone and was awesome. All the food we had was delish and price point was reasonable. Looking forward to checking out the rest of the menu.