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Just Opened: Queen Margherita Pizza

Industrial meets pizza on Queen Street East

Don’t even say the L word—“Libretto”—to John Chetti, co-owner of Queen Margherita Pizza, Toronto’s latest wood-oven pizza joint. “We’ve got nothing to do with them. Sure, one of my cooks worked there, but that’s it.”

“Anyway, we’ve got a better oven,” says chef Romolo Salvati, who has been spinning dough for 20 years, most recently at Back Alley Grill. It’s a 6,000-pound Neapolitan oven made of mortar and stone that had to be hauled into the restaurant by crane. Hovering at 845˚F, the oven scorches one pie after another in a mere 90 seconds. “Libretto’s is good, but ours is better,” he says.

“And,” adds Chetti, “we do something no one else in the pizza business does. We have a new menu every day, and everything comes in fresh daily. What we don’t use is picked up by Second Harvest.” The set menu ($25) consists of three courses—choice of starter, choice of pizza, small salad—and has set off an ongoing debate on Chowhound, with some users claiming that pizza should be simple and others racing to defend QMP’s honour. Pizza can be ordered on its own for $14 to $17.

Perched at the end of Leslieville, at the edge of that no man’s land between Greenwood and the Beach, QMP has resurrected the seemingly cursed space above Red Rocket Coffee. “It’s been a church, noodle factory, yoga studio and event space—everything but successful,” says Chetti, a real estate developer who fell hard for the space. High ceilings, factory windows, worn wooden floors, ancient brick and a view of the TTC’s Russell Yard. He took one look and, he says, “It was game over.”

“This area is the next Yonge and Eglinton,” claims Chetti. “There are a lot of people here who know their wine and know good food.” Indeed, the place has been open for less than two weeks and is already packed with customers from near and far. Groups of pretty young things in miniskirts and sequins, much too young to dig the unobtrusive ’70s soundtrack, have made the trip from Woodbridge and share the bustling room with locals in anoraks and jeans. One diner admits, “This is my fourth visit in nine days.”

Queen Margherita Pizza, 1402 Queen St. E., 416-466-6555, queenmargheritapizza.ca.

(Images: Signe Langford)

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  • Nadine

    But do they have booze? I heard they couldn’t get a liquor license. I feel that’s pertinent info to the story, esp. if it’s a sequined minis kinda place.

  • jennyv

    I had wine when I was there on Friday. The pizza was fast, but not better than Libretto. Also, the prix fixe or pizza only menu is a bit limiting for a place that would be so conducive to sharing.

  • Pondering

    Does this Margherita Pizza have any connection to the one that closed down @ Elizabeth (Bay) & Dundas West a few years ago? I was very disappointed when they closed their doors. :(

  • wellred

    I would love to know if they will beat everyone with a pizza that isn’t made with wheat…in Italy there’s a buzz with spelt…some of us prefer to not have wheat, as we don’t like feeling like a balloon…Libretto almost had our attention until every time we call they have run out of the spelt doe…also their service has gotten cocky..so good bye bye…what do you say, isn’t about time someone steps up the friggin game on pizza and make a quinoa doe concoction (more protein than gluten) anyone else feel this way…ciao belli…

  • Mattagascar

    doe, a deer, a female deer….

  • noLibretto

    At this point, anything is better than Libretto. I live up the street from it and still walk by it everytime I go to Terroni. Far too much attitude at libretto if you ask me, and for all it’s “authenticity” it still doesnt taste like the pizza in naples.

  • mt

    Went there on Fri to and semi-full room (it was 6:30 pm) and reservations. Decor & service are fantastic BUT sadly, the pizza wasn’t up to the high expectations I had having eaten at Terroni’s & Libretto. Yes, they served wine. They have a great bar on the ground level.

  • steve gotti

    best pizza joint in toronto. librettos got competition. teronis on another level.

  • frank

    review your articles or tell the owner of this new place to check around twice before talking, in fact there is a small pizza place called Carpe Diem! on King St & Sherbourne that offers different pizza everyday! and they also change the menu seasonally! and by the way, why don’t I see Carpe Diem! cafe+pizzaria on Toronto Life yet??

  • 1st Class Gekko

    It’s better than Libretto, better than Terroni and best of all it’s in my hood. This is my new go to place! You can’t get a better pizza in Toronto unless you hop on a flight to Italy!!!

  • George

    You want great pizza? I’m shocked there’s no mention in Toronto Life of Gerrard Spaghetti and Pizza House. NOW rated it #3 in its top 5, ahead of Libretto and Terroni. Amazing pizza even if the decor sucks.

  • SGP

    Pizza was delicious, but not worth the 90 minute wait for a table. We had a reservation too, so I can’t help but wonder why they took the reservation if they couldn’t fit people in.
    The servers were okay, but not amazing.

    If they can figure out how to actually run a restaurant and get people moving (or not take reservations they can’t seat), then this place would be good, but everything tasted a little of frustration.

  • gusman

    I don’t know what the heck you above me with your statements are talking about. I live in the suburbs and i drive down at least once a week to have myself a GREAT meal. I am of italian background traveled all of europe grown up on ST. Claire and College the most populated italian areas with the most Italian Restaurants, and let me tell u that the pizza at this restaurant make one of the best pizza pies i have ever tasted so u lets …to be nice call u Canadians if u want to experience a taste of italy this is the palce to go hands down……

  • Eric

    Great pizza and superbly cool location, however, the pompous attitude and patronizing service was horrible. I’ll avoid this place like the plague until the staff gets over themselves a bit. The snob factor is a little premature.

  • Angelo

    I have had dinner twice at Queen Margherita. It is one of the best pizza i ever had. It is true about the long wait with reservation, but i did not feel the employee/managers were snobby.
    The should stop accepting reservations.

    A>M>

  • Mike

    Does Queen Margherita Pizza have a spelt dough option for their Pizza?!?!

  • Jo

    i cannot comment on the food as we walked out after being ignored for 20 minutes in a relatively empty restaurant. this was the worst service my fiance and i have experienced in the past decade. we dine out regularly and i am shocked at just how incredibly rude and pedestrian the service was. wake up people and get over yourselves. service and class is as equally important as the food you serve.

  • emme

    I love the pizza at QMP. Anyone who has something negative to say about the pizza has no clue what a great pizza tastes like! As for the service, it was pretty good and I could see myself going back again.

  • cath

    Dined there last night. Without a reservation on a Friday night expect a wait. People with reservations got in after about 10 minutes. We waited a half hour. Worth it though. Sat near the bar so we only had the pizza this time. OMG It was the best I’ve had and was at our table within minutes of ordering. Fresh flavours. Loved it. Next time we’ll reserve and sit upstairs and try the Prix Fixe. PS The front door area is too small for people to wait and when winter and snow hit it’s going to be a major problem. No where to hang coats.
    We arrived 7:30. Packed at that time. By 8:30 it was getting better.

  • celtgirl

    the pizza is excellent, it has steadily been improving each time we go there.

  • Eastsider

    I’ve been there a few times and the pizza is really average. What’s worse is that the owners seem to have this too cool attitude that is ridiculous. Won’t be going back for sure. It’s Leslieville, not Brant St.

  • mr

    We had a party of 10 this weekend and it was amazing. QMP truly has the best pizza in town!!! The service was excellent, our pizzas came so fresh, sauce was great. Made with perfection. I recommend QMP to anyone, in fact, we are planning another party at QMP. THE BEST PIZZA IN TOWN!!!!!!!!!

  • Joanna

    Server took 15 minutes to bring us a bottle of water, as all of them were empty. We ordered a 2007 bottl of wine and were brought a 2009. The waitr had to check the wine list as he did not beleive me, only to come up with a quick explanation about the restaurant running out of one vintage and replacing with another, adding that the list hasn’t been updated for months…I thought this place open recently???? Our pizzas were brought in cold…and we were blamed for this as we went out to have a smoke, even though we waited for five minutes upon returning from outside before getting our pizza. We were made fresh pizzas, but for god sakes, dont blame the customer when your pizza is sitting on some counter somewhere for way too long. The waiter also stated that the chefs dont deal with any BS, once we asked if there are gluten free options….I did not realize that food allergies were considered BS. At last, the pizza!!! Very good. Cheese better than Libretto’s, dough soft and lovely, and sauce flavourful…although it could be more so. Overal, probably not going back due to the service, and feeling a bit ripped off for paying a 2007 price for a 2009. I think they hoped I wouldn’t notice, because if they are serious restauranteurs, they know better.

  • Antonio

    Finally real pizzaioli make pizza for me, margherita was perfect.

 

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