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Oct 11, 2012 10:29 PM

Pizzeria Toro in Durham is open!

And man is it good! I'll cut to the chase and say it's some of the best pizza I've had-- including the pizza in Italy (I have not tried Bella Mia yet). They have two pizza categories, red and white, so we got a representation of each. For the red we got the spicy lamb meatballs and rapini; for the white, we got venison sausage, caramelized onions, and fontina. Both were awesome! The lamb sausage was slightly game-- in a good way-- and the rapini was just slight wilted. The sweetness of the caramelized onions were a great contrast to the tangy fontina in the white pie. The crust is just perfect. Thin and crispy but not cracker-like, with just the hint of char without the bitterness a charred crust can impart. The wood fired oven makes an obvious difference. The pies are about 14" and range from $12-15.

Pizzeria Toro is great new addition to downtown Durham.

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  1. I saw the review on Carpe Durham. Is there a pick your own toppings option or is it just a few options take it or leave it? From the pictures I saw it looks the slices have a good sized "bone" which I'm not a big fan of. Did you find that to be the case?

    6 Replies
    1. re: LBD

      They don't have pick your own toppings-- at least I didn't see that on the menu. In most cases the "bone" was around 1/2-3/4 inches. I rarely eat the crust but here I did because it was tasty.

      Note: they also don't do pizza by the slice or two slice lunch specials. One pizza is enough for two people so you're looking at $6-7.50 per person, which is comparable to the lunch special at Randy's or Lily's sans a drink. Personally, I'd rather have Toro's pizza and water given a comparable budget.

        1. re: burgeoningfoodie

          not me! Pizza calls out for beer or wine.

          1. re: LulusMom

            For sure, but the drinks included with Randy's or Lily's lunch specials don't include beer.

            1. re: bbqme

              Gotcha. Didn't realize it was a lunch special we were talking about. There used to be a place in DC years ago that had unlimited pitchers of beer with an entree. You can imagine ...

        2. re: bbqme

          it looked like they drizzle the bone with olive oil and sprinkle with maldon salt. we had the sweet sausage and white potato (with bagna cauda). excellent. the pizzas took a bit long to come out - 20+ minutes, and we came in at 5:05 pm (only one other table ordered at the same time we did), so just be forewarned during peak dinner times.

      1. Given the pedigree that the owner was working under in the Northwest before coming back. I as excited that Durham area would finally have something that is like Bella Mia in Cary but without having to go that distance. That being said. I hope people will pay the money for the comparatively smallish pies (compared to that money at say.. Alfredos). Though this IS an "artisan" pizza place. I am excited for it an hope that it lasts.

        LBD - What is "bone" in this sense?

        2 Replies
        1. re: burgeoningfoodie

          Bone is the outermost part of the slice that usually has no sauce or cheese. If you ever share a pizza with folks who don't eat that part it looks a little like rib bones on their plate. I find Mellow Mushroom to be the worst offender when it comes to serving "big boned" pies..

          1. re: LBD

            Oh.. I just refer to it as the crust or the end crust.

        2. I almost hate to see Pizzeria Toro referred to as a pizza place because it is so much more than that. It truly is fine dining disguised as a pizza restaurant. Everything they make is incredible from the house margarita to the kale salad to the desserts. This is not for the fast food, meat lovers pizza person!

          2 Replies
          1. re: dianerh

            Well it IS in the name of the place itself and considering that majority of its menu consists of pizza I wouldn't classify it as fine dining because it isn't. It is a high end pizzeria with great (from word of mouth) apps and drinks.

            1. re: burgeoningfoodie

              I thought I wouldn't come here often due to price...but I've been here every week since they opened. I'm okay with getting one less glass of wine to enjoy a meal here and stay within my budget. The pies are delicious (my favorite is the buffalo mozzarella). Great atmosphere, easy location, and the kale salad is great!

          2. Thanks to your report we tried lunch at Pizzeria Toro today and couldn't have enjoyed it more. Pizza is different from any other we've had, and it may just be the best. The sprinkling of salt and olive oil on the crust when the pizza comes out of the wood fired oven really brings out the flavor of the pizza. We didn't try the kale but the baby lettuce salad was superb. Greens were handled with care and perfectly dressed. Pizza is so light, we probably could have eaten two which we'll try and do next time. Choices are hard because everything sounds luscious. Service was attentive and everyone on staff wanted us to enjoy the meal. We certainly did.

            1. Hit up Pizzeria Toro last night and I liked it overall. Place is well-run given how short a time it's been open and how busy it is. It's got a similar menu and theme as Bella Mia in terms of pizza, salad and a handful of apps. Had the straight margherita and a pumpkin app. Overall I thought the food was solid but prefer a softer crust and I'm not a fan of the salt sprinkle on top. Would prefer them to either add more salt to the dough or to the sauce rather than getting a hit of salt on the tongue.

              Nice spot but right now I prefer the simpler approach at Bella Mia. But still a good option for Za, Durham did not have a lot of great pizza options so nice upgrade for the area...

              1 Reply
              1. re: RonboNC

                Oh and the Italian word for the end crust is cornicione. Since the crust is everywhere, they have a specific word for the crust bones...