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Pizzeria Libretto - Ossington vs. Danforth.

uhockey Mar 28, 2012 04:18 PM

Visiting Toronto in a couple of days and planning to check out Libretto. I know the Ossington location is the original, but does the Danforth turn out equally good pies? Not terribly interested in the appetizers as this will be a small meal just to check out the pizzas in comaprison to the Neapolitain spots in major cities stateside.



  1. Baelsette Mar 28, 2012 04:32 PM

    Haven't been to the Ossington location but I've visited Danforth many times and it's delish! The one difference I know between the two is that Danforth does take reservations (which in my mind is a HUGE plus).
    Hope you have a nice visit!

    1. prima Mar 28, 2012 04:49 PM

      I've enjoyed the pizzas at the Danforth location, whereas my pizzas have been sometimes overcharred for my taste at the Ossington location. I like the Danforth space better, its convenient location close to the Chester subway station and nearby parking lots, and the fact I can make online reservations.

      1. p
        peppermint pate Mar 28, 2012 04:57 PM

        Whoa, uhockey's coming to Toronto - looking forward to the reviews. I was in Paris not long after you last year - kept some of the same local company as you at Chez L'Ami Jean (I'm waaaay late in posting about it). Anyway, welcome.

        In answer to your question, I've been to both many times. I think the pizza is equally good at both locations. I love that Danforth takes reservations and the service is extra friendly and top-notch at that location. Lots of little detailed attention on the service front - Ossington is really friendly as well but they seem to go out of their way more at Danforth. But comparing the scale of the dining space and the vibe, I prefer Ossington. If you're only there to check out the pizza, you can't go wrong at either location. The reservation factor can be an issue if you're going at peak time and aren't keen to wait. Enjoy - and please post (which I know you will).

        22 Replies
        1. re: peppermint pate
          uhockey Mar 28, 2012 05:02 PM

          Likely heading there Saturday around noonish - I'm hoping most folks will be doing the brunchy thing at that time thus leaving Pizza a safe option.

          My only company at L'Ami Jean was my sister - fyi.

          Meeting up with a couple of local hounds for Dim Sum, so that should be fun.


          1. re: uhockey
            aser Mar 28, 2012 05:19 PM

            I have to say, based on reading your blog/posts on chowhound in the past, pizza is pretty low on the list of must trys in Toronto.

            People don't like real char on pizza in Toronto, hence the restaurants don't do it justice in fear of getting food sent back. I don't really think about pizza living here, I eat it when I'm in nyc. I went to the danforth location in its first few weeks. It's ok, I actually enjoyed the apps more than the pizza.

            You'll definitely enjoy the dim sum though, wish you success with meals in Toronto.

            1. re: aser
              uhockey Mar 28, 2012 05:52 PM

              Understood - and I'd have actually liked to have done some more ethnic eating, but I just dont' have friends in the city (or travel companions) who are into ethnic eats. I was lucky/happy to find a couple local hounds who want to do Dim Sum.

              I really wanted to do Peking Duck and some other Chinese specialty dishes for lunch this Friday, but doing it solo just won't fly.


              1. re: uhockey
                TorontoJo Mar 28, 2012 06:07 PM

                If you're still looking for eating partners for Friday, you could post to the local google group:


                Happy dim sum-ing with Charles!

                1. re: TorontoJo
                  uhockey Mar 28, 2012 06:37 PM

                  Thanks. Probably a tad late at this point, though.

                  Plans for the trip will be:

                  La Palette
                  Black Hoof
                  Pizzeria Libretto
                  Thor Espresso
                  Boreal Gelato


                  1. re: uhockey
                    TorontoJo Mar 28, 2012 06:43 PM

                    Fun mix of spots! Since you're going to Buca, make sure that you get one of their flatbread pizzas to compare against Libretto. Totally different style than Libretto, but if you like thin crispy crusts, these are amazing. Note that pastas (oddly enough) and desserts are generally weak at Buca. Apps, entrees and flatbreads are generally delicious.

                    And a note about Gandhi -- don't order "hot" unless you can really take heat. :)

                    1. re: TorontoJo
                      uhockey Mar 28, 2012 06:48 PM

                      I'll order "cold." :-)

                      Interesting note on Buca's pastas, but I'll still probably check them out. There will be four of us, so probably 2-3 apps, 2-3 pastas, and a flatbread plus/minus dessert.

                      In between time in Toronto will also be visiting Ottawa and Montreal so this stands to be one heckuva trip.


                    2. re: uhockey
                      atomeyes Mar 29, 2012 09:07 AM

                      skip la palette, in my opinion. contact me thru my blog and i can help tighten up your list.

                      1. re: atomeyes
                        JennaBean Mar 29, 2012 09:11 AM

                        I prefer the Ossington location as I like that the pizza's are cooked a bit more and I prefer the vibe there. As well, I second the skip on La Palette. Not worth your time for a short trip.

                        1. re: JennaBean
                          TorontoJo Mar 29, 2012 09:43 AM

                          Unless he wants horse, which is not easy to get in the U.S.

                          1. re: TorontoJo
                            atomeyes Mar 29, 2012 01:03 PM

                            TorontoJo: can get it at the Hoof or at Batifole at a lower price.

                          2. re: JennaBean
                            uhockey Mar 29, 2012 10:20 AM

                            I'm open to suggestions on someplace else that is open around noon on a Friday, generally doesn't require reservations as border crossing makes timing variable, and is suitable for two people who aren't terribly fond of "ethnic" foods (find dim sum "repulsive," don't particularly like Indian, prefer Italian/French/American.) I though La Palette seemed like a good choice, all things being equal, for some game meats you don't often see stateside but if there is something more "Canadian" that fits those criteria I'm all ears.


                            1. re: uhockey
                              uhockey Mar 29, 2012 10:30 AM

                              I'd also be open to other ethnic eats, but they'd have to have some items palatable to those dining with me - IE, a good Chinese spot that also serves something as tame as chicken fried rice, or a good ________ place that serves a burger and a chicken dish.


                              1. re: uhockey
                                prima Mar 29, 2012 11:40 AM

                                For a French bistro lunch, I like Biff's, Le Paradis, Le Select and Jacques Bistro du Parc.
                                For a Thai lunch, I like the squash fritters, and any of the mains I've ordered at Khao San Road. There are some threads on what to order at Khao San Road.
                                For a Chinese lunch in Chinatown, consider Yummy Yummy for Northern dumplings or Swatow for Cantonese food (won ton mein, shrimp dumpling noodle soup). If you do a search for Swatow, you'll find aser's helpful comments about what Swatow does best.
                                Re: locavore spots Globe Earth and Globe Bistro are open for lunch. I don't find either menu that interesting, but I like the ribeye at Earth. Nota Bene also serves lunch, and uses local ingredients when they're in season, but not much is in season in ON right now. I like the food at Nota Bene more than the food at Earth or Globe Bistro. Frank at the AGO also uses some local ingredients. There are some threads on locavore restaurants in TO.

                                1. re: prima
                                  uhockey Mar 29, 2012 12:28 PM

                                  Again, eating with people who don't have much love for "ethnic" so I'll have to look at the menus.

                                  Is taste of China on Spedina any good?


                                  1. re: uhockey
                                    atomeyes Mar 29, 2012 01:07 PM

                                    so, basically: food for older white folks :) (or for my parents).

                                    Gilead Place is nice. a good mix. not cheap. neat location.
                                    if you want one of our star burger restos with a small Canadian twist, there's Holy Chuck.
                                    Porcetta and Co is nice for a quick sandwich to grab and go for a sit or walk somewhere else.
                                    Caplansky's is another lunch option.
                                    i like Edward Levesque for lunch only, not dinner. nice menu.
                                    Fabarnak might be a bit too interesting for them, but its a cool lunch option.

                                    1. re: atomeyes
                                      uhockey Mar 29, 2012 02:37 PM

                                      ...or for my parents (mom and aunt, in this case.)

                                      I like the menu at La Palette, but as we're doing Montreal on this trip perhaps a bit too much French Bistro.

                                      Now thinking Grand Chinese Cuisine as it has some "Standards" in addition to some unique Chinese and fairly good ratings including an earlier recommendation from Charles.


                                      1. re: atomeyes
                                        foodyDudey Mar 29, 2012 02:39 PM

                                        You could always try and hunt down these eggs. I don't think any older white folk are craving them! I like a lot of Chinese food, but this isn't one of the items I'm going to try.


                                    2. re: prima
                                      foodyDudey Mar 29, 2012 12:48 PM

                                      prima, you should try one of the tasting menus at Globe, or one of the winemaker's dinners. They are always great and one is coming up at Globe Earth very soon. Unfortunately I can't go as I had two other events that day.

                      2. re: aser
                        Splendid Wine Snob Mar 28, 2012 09:31 PM

                        I echo this sentiment regarding pizza in Toronto. I eat it here when I get a craving but they never live up to the pies I've devoured in NYC since childhood.

                        1. re: aser
                          haggisdragon Mar 29, 2012 12:10 AM

                          If you want a it more char, ask for well done. The folks at Libretto will go out of their way to give you exactly what you want.

                        2. re: uhockey
                          peppermint pate Mar 28, 2012 05:29 PM

                          Oops - then it was one of the other places you went...I'm talking about Julien (Souphie). Anyway, I'm not sure that noonish is completely safe but I don't think you'd have a huge line if you went to Ossington - or you could reserve at the Danforth.

                          I look forward to reading about your chow adventures here.

                      3. kwass Mar 28, 2012 06:22 PM

                        I seem to be in the minority but I think the Pizza is superior @ the Ossington Location. I also prefer the vibe @ the Ossington location to that of the Danforth Location. However, one thing they do offer @ the Danforth Location which is not offered @ Ossington is something called Paneto. It's not on the menu, you have to ask for it, but it's this puffed bread which deflates as it cools and it is brushed with olive oil and different herbs.. It's absolutely delish!!

                        1. Flexitarian Mar 28, 2012 06:48 PM

                          I have been to the Danforth location a few times and to the Ossington one many times since it opened. The vibe is definitely different but I have found their wonderful pizza varies slightly up and down with the same narrow amplitude in both places.

                          1. a
                            afong56 Mar 28, 2012 07:13 PM

                            neither. . .pizza e pazzi has surpassed libretto, and even queen margherita is better than libretto, imho. pizza e pazzi is better than forcella, imho, but not quite as good as don antonio from nyc. the only problem with pizza e pazzi is some have reported inconsistent results. when they are on, though, they are tops

                            23 Replies
                            1. re: afong56
                              justsayn Mar 28, 2012 07:21 PM

                              Thank you...

                              1. re: afong56
                                TeacherFoodie Mar 28, 2012 07:53 PM

                                My bro in law also said he likes pizza e pazzi better than libretto. He's pretty big into food but unfortunately doesn't make posts.

                                1. re: afong56
                                  uhockey Mar 29, 2012 05:15 AM

                                  Alas they have a website without functional menu or hours.

                                  And I realize none are going to trump New York - but I'm not going to be in New York so I like to see what different cities have to offer. People in San Francisco would claim New York has inferior Pizza and people in Chicago would hate all 3 claiming thiers was best.


                                  1. re: uhockey
                                    prima Mar 29, 2012 05:39 AM

                                    TO, unlike NYC, SF + Chicago, is a city where Chowhounds rarely toot their city's horn. TO Chowhounds will often tell visitors not to bother with pizza (or sushi or bbq or Mexican food) because it's better somewhere else that happens to be located 800 km away, if not further. :-)

                                    If you're planning to be on the Danforth to visit Libretto, and you're interested in regional variations on pizza, maybe you'd also be interested in ordering a small old school Toronto pizza from Gerrard Pizza or Danforth Pizza House, to see what pizza meant in TO before the Neapolitan wave.

                                    1. re: prima
                                      piccola Mar 29, 2012 08:58 AM

                                      Yeah, I'm always a little puzzled by this attitude. I mean, obviously nothing here is the same as it is in NYC, SF, Montreal or wherever, but that doesn't automatically mean it's inferior. There's plenty of good food - including, yes, pizza, tacos, bagels, etc. - in Toronto, so please, no blanket criticism.

                                      1. re: piccola
                                        Splendid Wine Snob Mar 29, 2012 09:15 AM

                                        Of course there is plenty of good food in Toronto, but there are strengths and weaknesses in every city. Personally I think the strengths of Toronto's dining scene lie in Cantonese, Ethiopian, Keralean, Portuguese, and certain mid-range restos serving locavore "Canadian". Why focus on pizza when it's done much better in many other American cities??

                                        1. re: Splendid Wine Snob
                                          uhockey Mar 29, 2012 10:21 AM

                                          Who is offering "locavore Canadian" that is open for lunch on a Friday?


                                          1. re: uhockey
                                            cheesymama Mar 29, 2012 03:06 PM

                                            Cafe Belong at the Brickworks, nice nature walk afterwards or Gilead Cafe, close to Distillery District which has some interesting shops. Soma is a must for chocolate if you choose the second option.

                                            1. re: uhockey
                                              aser Mar 29, 2012 10:26 PM

                                              I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Canoe, check the menu out to see if it suits your friends' needs.

                                              1. re: aser
                                                TorontoJo Mar 30, 2012 03:54 AM

                                                I'm pretty sure that uhockey went to Canoe during his last trip -- guessing that's why it's not on his list.

                                            2. re: Splendid Wine Snob
                                              piccola Mar 29, 2012 06:14 PM

                                              Going for one pizza meal is hardly focusing on it. And I get your point, I'm just saying we're too quick to dismiss local talent. And that just because a dish is different here than in another city doesn't necessarily make it worse.

                                              1. re: piccola
                                                justsayn Mar 29, 2012 06:22 PM

                                                + !

                                                1. re: piccola
                                                  aser Mar 29, 2012 10:31 PM

                                                  I don't understand why Torontonians are so sensitive to self-criticism.

                                                  We can't be good at everything. We'll suck at certain things, while excel at others. What is so wrong with pointing out our faults?

                                                  To quote yourself, "I'm always a little puzzled by this attitude".

                                                  1. re: aser
                                                    justsayn Mar 29, 2012 10:43 PM

                                                    "I don't understand why Torontonians are so sensitive to self-criticism" This is not at all the point.

                                                    "We can't be good at everything. We'll suck at certain things," The pizza is not nearly as nasty as one would think when reading that expression.

                                                    Truth is that everybody has a different value system and a line they draw in a different place which is why this topic is never resolved. Some call it standards.

                                                    1. re: justsayn
                                                      prima Mar 30, 2012 04:17 AM

                                                      There's no accounting for taste. ;-)

                                                    2. re: aser
                                                      piccola Mar 30, 2012 05:53 PM

                                                      I'm not suggesting we proclaim ourselves to be Number One at everything. Just that we not automatically consider ourselves mediocre.

                                                      And sometimes the assumption that "there's no good (fill in the blank) in Toronto" can keep people from appreciating something that's perfectly good just because they don't think it meets some arbitrary standard.

                                                      1. re: piccola
                                                        justsayn Mar 30, 2012 06:07 PM


                                                        1. re: piccola
                                                          haggisdragon Mar 30, 2012 10:07 PM


                                                  2. re: piccola
                                                    atomeyes Mar 29, 2012 09:19 AM

                                                    prima is bang on. the good thing about Toronto is our honesty and our desire to show off our good restaurants to visitors. make a post like what the OP did on another board and watch the crickets chirp, the posters snipe or a mod say "that question was asked before. Please search threads before posting."

                                                    our pizza and our burgers used to be bleh. sorry, but that was what Toronto was lacking. PL and QMP and others have come on the pizza scene, but they're not mind blowing.

                                                    trying a Turkish pizza, though...that would be something i'd consider suggesting.

                                                    there are other food styles/ethnicities that I'd suggest ahead of our pizza. no doubt.

                                                2. re: uhockey
                                                  afong56 Mar 30, 2012 05:46 AM

                                                  not true at all, imho. you posted about libretto. they are a vpn pizza joint. because of that, we can compare apples to apples, since all neapolitan pizzas must ascribe to certain standards so that variations are more like different types of apples, not apples to oranges. bottom line, in vpn pizza, nyc does not trump everything toronto has to offer. pizza e pazzi trumps places like forcella. and for my tastebuds, i prefer it over places like john's (coal) or difara (gas) from nyc as well. toronto has some mighty fine pizza. but i just don't think going to libretto is going to show you all that we're capable of.

                                                  1. re: afong56
                                                    uhockey Apr 7, 2012 03:08 PM

                                                    Well, I enjoyed Liberetto, and while the pizzas were merely "good," the gnocchi and desserts were excellent. There is always next time for pizza e pazzi. Forsberg should get into the HHOF within 2-3 years prompting a November visit for myself.


                                                    1. re: uhockey
                                                      pakmode Apr 7, 2012 07:45 PM

                                                      Forsberg was born in the HHOF, we just haven't found his plaque yet. He was a true warrior, whose career was cut too short unfortunately. I think Landeskog will take his place though. Did you have a chance to check out Danforth Pizza House and/or Mr. Pide?
                                                      We'll have to connect next time to talk hockey!

                                                      1. re: uhockey
                                                        justsayn Apr 7, 2012 09:00 PM

                                                        Unfortunately GOOD pie is all you can get at Libretto...tried many times.

                                                3. p
                                                  pakmode Mar 29, 2012 08:42 AM

                                                  UHockey welcome back. Enjoyed your reviews last time you were here, you're a class act .

                                                  As someone else mentioned if you do visit the Danforth location of Libretto, then you should walk a couple blocks east and grab a small pizza from Danforth Pizza House and I would also recommend trying Turkish pizza. There is a great spot between the Libretto and DPH called Mr. Pide, order the assorted pide #18. You won't regret it.

                                                  If you like char on your pizza, you have to get it well done in Toronto.

                                                  Enjoy your trip.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: pakmode
                                                    uhockey Mar 29, 2012 10:27 AM

                                                    Thanks - may consider that!


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