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Mattachioni, an Italian bodega from a Terroni alum, is now open in the Junction Triangle

(Image: Caroline Aksich)

(Image: Caroline Aksich)

Earlier this summer, a Portuguese bakery at the western edge of the Junction Triangle was quietly replaced by Mattachioni, an Italian bodega. The sign out front still reads Lieira Bakery, but a red “M” in the corner of the window signifies the change. Terroni alum David Mattachioni sells salads, sandwiches (porchetta, prosciutto, salmon, caprese) made on house-made bread and sweets including brioche with Nutella, tiramisu and gelato. Almost all of the ingredients that go into the menu items—bread, veggies, milk, butter—are also for sale.“Lieira sold groceries to the neighbourhood, and I’d like to continue doing that,” says Mattachioni. The bodega is licensed, too, and boasts what could be Toronto’s shortest wine list: two Norman Hardie offerings, one red, one white. And what would be the point of an ex-Terroni chef opening a place without putting some of his pizza-making knowledge to good use? Mattachioni is installing a wood-burning oven and will soon start firing out pies.

1617 Dupont St., 416-519-1010, mattachioni.com, @mattachioni

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Leslieville gets Toronto’s first taste of Detroit-style pizza

(Image: Rebecca Fleming)

(Image: Rebecca Fleming)

No need to cross the border to get your hands on authentic deep-dish pizza from the Rust Belt: Descendant, a new 20-seat spot in Leslieville, cranks out cheese-heavy Detroit pies from brick-lined Montague Hearthbake gas ovens. Like Chicago-style pies, these pizzas are fodder for nutritionists’ nightmares. A thick layer of dough is pressed into a well-oiled square pan before being loaded with toppings and smothered in tomato sauce. The resulting pies taste like they’ve been deep fried. Descendant’s menu includes by-the-book combos (classic cheese with tomato sauce), but there are some experimental ones, too. The Soppressata Marmalade, for example, includes mozzarella with smoked caciocavallo (a stretched-curd cheese), Calabrian chilies, basil, Mike’s Hot Honey and, of course, soppressata.

1168 Queen St. E., 647-347-1168, @DescendantPizza

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Review: Bay Street’s Via Vai is the most gorgeous space to enjoy a slice (and the pizza’s pretty great, too)

(Image: Jackie Pal)

(Image: Jackie Pal)

SEE ALL NEW REVIEWS
Via Vai 2 star
832 Bay St., 416-362-0123
Via Vai 2 star
832 Bay St., 416-362-0123

As Toronto’s artisanal pizza craze enters its second decade, the debate over which of the many brick-oven contenders makes the best thin-crust pie has only intensified. But let’s be clear: there is no more beautiful a space in which to enjoy a slice than this Bay Street pizza palace. Sheathed in four storeys of glass, the dining room features massive marble tile walls and hanging glass panels splashed with streaks of Pollock-esque colour. At opposite ends of the room stands a pizza oven shaped like a geodesic dome and a vertebral floor-to-ceiling tower of vino. The overall effect is nothing less than breathtaking. And how’s the pizza? Pretty great: the Diavola—topped with ribbons of spicy sopressata, gooey fior di latte and a mess of mushrooms—features a yeasty, delicate crust that’s thin yet pliable. The tortellini—chewy husks of undercooked pasta flanking bland braised beef and crunchy baby onion—are skippable. The amazingly attentive service is worthy of Via Vai’s splendorous surroundings, as is the short, predominantly Italian and somewhat pricy wine list.

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Introducing: A3 Napoli, the Pizzeria Libretto and Porchetta & Co. project in Little Italy

toronto-restaurants-a3-napoli-little-italy-lead

(Image: Renée Suen)

Name: A3 Napoli Pizzeria e Friggitoria
Neighbourhood: Little Italy
Contact: 589 College St., a3napoli.com, @A3Napoli
Owners: Libretto Restaurant Group and Nick auf der Mauer
Chefs: Rocco Agostino (Pizzeria Libretto) and Nick auf der Mauer (Porchetta & Co.)

The Food: Quick-service Neapolitan snacks split up into three categories: VPN-certified, wood-fired pies (à la Libretto); pizza fritta (stuffed and fried panzerotti-like pizzas); and seasonal fritti misti (fried bites including arancini, meatballs, zucchini sticks, and frittatina—fried cubes of pasta held together by provola cheese and ham). Just like at Libretto, there’s a Stefano Ferraro oven pumping out the pizza, but it’s kept company by a friggitrice (that’s a fryer, folks) for everything else. Eat in, or get your fried dough to go.

The Drinks: There’s Peroni beer on tap, as well as Capo, the restaurant’s signature brew, made by Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery. Wine-drinkers have the choice between Fielding Estate’s unoaked chardonnay and its fireside red.

The Place: Named after the unfinished Italian highway that leads into the centre of Naples, the 32-seat room has an Autostrada rest-stop feel, with its exposed bricks, black and white subway tiles and strings of incandescent lightbulbs. Additional seating is available on the small backyard and street-side patios.

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Food Shops

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Apiecalypse Now is Christie Pits’ new vegan pizzeria

(Image: Alanna Lipson)

(Image: Alanna Lipson)

Vegan pizza lovers, rejoice! Though Apiecalypse Now shuttered its Markham Street bakeshop, it recently reopened as a vegan pizza parlour and snack bar on Bloor, right across from Christie Pits. Pies include the BBQ Buffalobotomy (“non-chicken” slathered in BBQ sauce), the White Walker (creamy garlic sauce, more of that “non-chicken” and arugula) and their Mac & Charlie pizza made with dairy-free macaroni and cheese. Customers can top their slices off with a whole host of stuff including hot sauce, dried peppers and nutritional yeast (a salty stand-in for cheese flavour). The shop also sells corn dogs and sub sandwiches, plus some vegan merchandise, like jars of something called Magic Vegan Bacon Grease. For dessert: doughnuts, cupcakes and soft-serve ice cream—all vegan-friendly, of course.

735 Bloor St. W., 416-516-2098, eatveganpizza.com, @eatveganpizza

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Introducing: Pizzeria Libretto’s much-anticipated downtown location

Introducing: Pizzeria Libretto

(Image: Renée Suen)

Name: Pizzeria Libretto
Contact Info: 155 University Ave., 416-551-0433, pizzerialibretto.com, @PizzaLibretto
Owner: Libretto Restaurant Group
Executive Chef and Partner: Rocco Agostino
Chefs di “Cucina”: Tiffany Wong and sous chef Carmen Mach

The Food: The new Libretto serves the same simple, seasonal food as the chain’s Ossington and Danforth locations. The menu is divided between rustic Italian starters (including chef Agostino’s namesake arugula salad with squash and beets) and generously topped Neapolitan pizzas, which are flash-baked for 90 seconds each. At $15 for three courses, the weekday prix-fixe lunch menu is one of the better deals downtown.

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Introducing: Queen Margherita, the new Neapolitan pizza parlour on Dundas West

Introducing: Queen Margherita Pizza

(Image: Caroline Aksich)

Name: Queen Margherita Pizza
Contact Info: 772 Dundas St. W., qmpizza.com
Neighbourhood: Trinity Bellwoods
Previously: A paint store occupied the upper floor, while Hard Luck Bar called the basement home
Owners: John Chetti, Rocco Mazzaferro, Tom Mediati and Roberto Scala
Chef: Head chef John Galante creates and executes the menu with guidance from exec chef Jonathan Gushue (previously of Langdon Hall)

The Food: The menu is divided between snacks, starters and pizzas. For $38 you can sample the entire snack section, which includes prosciutto di Parma, cacciatore, olives and hunks of Parm. Familiar QMP starters (like the much-loved potenta with sausage) are joined by octopus carpaccio, ricotta-stuffed eggplant and other new additions. The wood-fired pizzas range from conventional (the namesake Margherita) to straight-up quirky (the “Roberto Scallopini AKA Birdman,” which is topped with kale, garlic aioli and toasted sunflower seeds).

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Review: Cellar Door brings the urban trattoria experience to Toronto’s outskirts

(Image: Renée Suen)

(Image: Renée Suen)

SEE ALL NEW REVIEWS
Cellar Door 1 star½
3003 Lakeshore Blvd. W., 416-253-0303
Cellar Door 1 star½
3003 Lakeshore Blvd. W., 416-253-0303
We’ve updated our star ratings system since this article was first published.
Read more about the change here, and
find the up-to-date rating in our restaurant listings.

Chef Robert Rubino brings the urban trattoria experience—original cocktails, handmade pastas, wood-burning-oven pizza, seasonal ingredients—to Toronto’s ever-expanding outskirts. A colourful caprese salad with orange and red cherry tomatoes and creamy burrata is a lovely starter.

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Introducing: Via Mercanti 2.0, the new Elm Street outpost of the Kensington pizzeria

Introducing: Via Mercanti

Name: Pizzeria Via Mercanti
Neighbourhood: Downtown Core
Contact Info: 87 Elm St., 416-901-1899, pizzeriaviamercanti.ca, @via_mercanti
Owner: Romolo Salvati, who also owns the Kensington Market location
Chef: Eleuterio Giannattasio

The Food: Owner Romolo Salvati grew up near the Amalfi coast, and has been kneading pizza dough since age sixteen. Wood-fired Neopolitan pies are the focus of the menu, but other options include fresh-cranked pasta, risotto and traditional Italian secondi, like veal scalloppine and grilled lamb chops. Sandwiches come stuffed with prosciutto and meatballs, and require two hands to eat. 

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Via Mercanti, the Kensington pizzeria, is opening a second location

Pizzeria Via Mercanti

(Image: Caroline Aksich)

The Neapolitan-style pizza parlour from ex-Queen Margherita pizzaiolo Romolo Salvati is bringing its wood-fired pies and fresh-cranked pasta to a new location in the downtown core. The new outpost will occupy the first floor of the 19th century heritage property at 87 Elm Street, which also houses a YWCA centre. Via Mercanti 2.0, which opens in October, will be bigger and fancier than the no-frills Kensington store with over 80 seats and a sprawling terrace. [NOW]

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Random Stuff

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Pizza Hut unleashes its latest gimmick pie: the cheesy beef poutine pizza

Pizza Hut Poutine Pie

(Image: Pizza Hut Canada)

The sure sign that a food trend has exploded beyond niche status: it’s co-opted by a fast-food chain. Pizza Hut Canada is embracing the Canadiana food revolution with a limited-edition poutine pizza that’s loaded with fries, gravy, shaved steak, cheese curds and mozzarella.

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Review: Queen Margherita Pizza brings flash-baked Neapolitan pies to Baby Point

Review: Queen Margherita Pizza
SEE ALL NEW REVIEWS
Queen Margherita Pizza 1 star½
785 Annette St., 647-345-4466
We’ve updated our star ratings system since this article was first published.
Read more about the change here, and
find the up-to-date rating in our restaurant listings.

Queen Margherita is Baby Point’s most exciting restaurant arrival in years. Posh, pizza-starved families pack the place every night, their conversation amplified by the tall windows and polished concrete floors, while a life-sized, pastel-drawn portrait of Queen Margherita of Savoy looks over the room with dignified indifference.

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Introducing: Enzo Pizza Bar, the new make-your-own pizza joint on Queen Street West

Introducing: Enzo Pizza Bar

Name: Enzo Pizza Bar
Neighbourhood:
Queen West
Contact Info:
646 Queen St W., 416-366-0009, getenzo.com, @enzopizzabar
Owner:
Ryan Menchella

The Food: Customizable personal pizzas. Diners choose a sauce (white or red) and toppings (cheese, meat and veggies). There’s also a list of nine ready-to-order ‘zas, including the classic margherita and the more exotic filomena topped with würstel.

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Introducing: Queen Margherita Pizza’s new Baby Point location

Introducing: Queen Margherita Pizza’s new Baby Point location

Name: Queen Margherita Pizza
Neighbourhood: Baby Point
Contact info: 785 Annette St., 647-345-4466, queenmargheritapizza.ca, @qmpizza
Owners: John Chetti and Rocco Mazzaferro
Chefs: John Galante (chef de cuisine), Matthew Rzeszutek (head pizzaiolo) and Rocco Mazzaferro

The food: Traditional wood-fired Neapolitan pizza made with the essential Italian ingredients: Caputo Tipo 00 flour and San Marzano D.O.P. tomatoes, along with specially made Ontario fior di latte mozzarella.

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Toronto Life Cookbook: Queen Margherita Pizza co-owner John Chetti shares his 10 favourite pizza toppings

Toronto Life Cookbook: Pizza

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