Margherita Pizza: Toronto/Ontario Dish of the Month August 2012
Announcing the August 2012 Toronto/Ontario Dish of the Month: Margherita Pizza
The goal is to collectively try as many versions of margherita pizza as possible during the month of August! So let's start exploring and eating—report back with reviews and photos of the best margherita pizza you can find.
Looking forward to seeing what people try!
Very happy with the Margherita at Pizzeria Libretto Danforth. Also had the Margherita at Falasca, at dinner, when they serve their round pizzas. While Falasca doesn't top their Margherita with fresh basil, which I love, and usually associate with Margherita pizza, I did like Falasca's sauce and crust.
Still have to try the Margherita at Caffe Doria, but looks like that will be happening in September!
A long overdue post on my trip to Pizzeria Defina on Roncesvalles.
A friend and I went there specifically to try the Margherita Pizza but I selected them because the menu descriptions for their pizzas, salads and small plates sounded yummy. I was disappointed.
I ordered the Burratta salad for a starter. Typically, I avoid these types of salads in restaurants because they rely so heavily on the quality of the ingredients. But I had just had a lovely caprese salad at The Pie Plate in Niagara-on-the-Lake and it was tomato season so I thought it was worth a shot. The tomatoes were pink! And some of the cheese had a weird aftertaste.
The Margherita pizza is advertised as San Marzano tomatoes, fior di latte, parmigiano reggiano and basil. The tomatoes seemed to be canned (a blessing given the tomatoes in the salad?), the fior di latte was struck by the same inconsistent flavour and the parmigiano reggiano seemed to be missing completely. The one thing it had going for it was the texture of the crust - done just right and nicely charred. It left me thinking that the person manning their giant pizza oven (seriously, they seemed to pull dozens of pizzas out at a time) knew what he was doing but the need to improve the quality of their ingredients.
The service was prompt but when we made comments about the cheese, they were completely ignored.
So, despite the fact that Pizzeria Defina is conveniently located around the corner from me, I'm going to be searching for a different pizza joint to haunt.
I ordered a small Margherita from Amato Real Pizza (Dundas Location) via Just-Eat.ca for dinner because after flying home on the red-eye, I was waaaaaaay too lazy to actually cook, and also, I didn't own any food.
It was ... pizza, alrighty. It was boring (salty!) cheese on boring crust (neither thick nor thin, not bubbly) with boring sauce (quite watery in some spots) and a small amount of (was fresh, now cooked) basil.
I also ordered a Rigatoni Funghi that was much better than expected with absolutely tons of different mushrooms in a reasonably decent light cream sauce. Based only on this one experience, I'd be more likely to order the pasta again than the pizza, by a long shot.
100. Margherita Basil, oregano, Amato tomato sauce, mozzarella
10" (Small) CAD11.50
12" (Medium) CAD13.50
14" (Large) CAD15.50
16" (X-Large) CAD18.50
18" (Jumbo) CAD21.50
Amato Real Pizzeria
2385 Dundas St W
I love the margherita pizza from Buca. Sweet and tangy tomato sauce, awesome chewy crust, topped with mounds of burrata cheese and black truffles (or paste if it is not in season). Fresh basil to top it off, it is seriously undeniably delicious.
Before a movie at the Queensway Cinemas, I tried the pizza at Dino's Wood Burning Pizza. It's a low-atmosphere place that also lacks air conditioning, and while I can totally understand the no air-conditioning given what it would cost to cool a room that is half filled with a giant wood burning oven, it was godawfully hot in that restaurant. So, Dino's might be a better choice in the winter than in the summer.
The Margherita Pizza is ... fine. The crust is very good -- thin, a little bubbly, charred but not overly charred, a little softish in the center. The sauce seems like it is probably nice, but there's so very little of it that it adds almost nothing to the dish. The cheese is the same pizza mozzarella they use on all the other pizzas. The basil is fresh and whole.
The combination of all these elements is, as I said, fine. It's not revelatory, it's not terrible. It's mostly salty cheese, but the lovely crust and the fresh basil help.
Service was ... well, as I said repeatedly to my dining companion "I hope she's new." Our server was certainly pleasant enough, but she wasn't very competent, up to and including whisking our bill away before we were actually finished with it and then never bringing our change. I imagine it was the configuration of change that lead her to believe it was all for her (it wasn't intended to be, we were just still working on a split that also involved the price of movie tickets when she took it away), but had she come back after that point instead of disappearing into the back, we'd have wanted our change. Just not as much as we wanted to go outside where the blazing heat was slightly less blazing, so we left without it.
Medium 12”: $13.99
Large 15”: $17.99
X-Large 18”: $23.99
Dino's Wood-Burning Pizza
820 - The Queensway (Between Islington & Royal York)
416-259-0050 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you go down, be sure to check out the MOVE exhibit which still should be on. It is open later on Tuesday nights.
As for the food, I have had pizza from the outdoor pizza oven before and it was delicious. Wonder how much food you will get for $3 but even if you double up and pay $6 (all going to a good cause) it should be tasty.
We went last week and it was a LONG wait. There's only one oven and I'm guessing they can only fit a few pizzas in there at one time. We got there around 6:45 and waited about 45 minutes (our kids had mercifully eaten some snacks before we got there so they managed to survive the wait). The line was much better after 7:30, though they had run out of salad by then. It's $3 for a slice with salad or $2.50 for just a slice. Only margherita. Rocco himself was there and both he and his staff were lovely and patient. Everyone just lets their kids run around Chimney Court while they wait. It's a very nice atmosphere. Pizza was tasty. Tomorrow is the last night.
My intention is to try all the Margherita Pizzas I can find near me in the Junction, and I got a slightly early start (with Dave MP's permission -- he totally said it was okay once the post was up) last night by ordering in a Margherita pizza from Pizza Flora on Roncesvalles.
I semi-regularly order pasta from them because they're on Just-Eat.ca and I like ordering on the internet, and while it's not super fantastic, it's more than competent. I've also ordered other pizzas from them in the past, and they're not bad.
The Margherita Pizza doesn't show them at their best. The crust is their usual -- it's a thin, but not super thin crust. It lacks the char you might expect on this style of pizza, though I'm not a huge fan of too much charring so that doesn't bother me overly much. There is a little bubbling, but mostly it's relatively even thickness throughout with a thicker, chewy crust. The basil on this pizza is chopped up fine, and it's hard to tell, quite honestly, whether it's fresh or dried basil that's been reconstituted with oil before baking. The flavor isn't that noticeable, basically, the pizza tastes like salt from the cheese.
I think this is a place where ordering pizza with more toppings would be better, since the additional toppings would bring more to the mix.
14" (Medium) CAD14.09
16" (Large) CAD16.68
18" (X-Large) CAD19.26
167 Roncesvalles Ave. M6R 2L3 Toronto Canada
Note: I'm not sure if the prices on Flora's website are out of date or if they charge more on Just-Eat.Ca, but those prices are Just-Eat's prices, and the prices on menu on the website are slightly lower.