Pizzeria Libretto

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Openings

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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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People

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Q&A: Max Rimaldi, the Pizzeria Libretto owner who made Neapolitan pizza a thing in Toronto

(Image: Claire Foster)

(Image: Claire Foster)

In the seven years since Pizzeria Libretto first opened on Ossington, co-owner and creator Max Rimaldi has become one of the most influential restaurateurs in the city. There are now three Librettos, along with legions of copycats—this, in addition to his other restaurants, including the much-heralded Enoteca Sociale on Dundas West and two in-the-works collaborations with Porchetta and Co.’s Nick Auf der Mauer: a pizza and porchetta union on King West and A3 Napoli in Little Italy. Oh, and did we mention that Rimaldi also helped finance a little restaurant called Bar Isabel? We met up with Rimaldi to talk about fine dining, Neapolitan pizza and the state of Toronto’s restaurant scene.

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Restaurants

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Porchetta & Co. and Pizzeria Libretto to open A3 Napoli on College

A3Napoli

(Image: Rebecca Fleming)

We know that Pizzeria Libretto and Porchetta & Co. are besties now, what with their side-by-side venture set to open on King West this summer, but the relationship is apparently more serious than previously known. It turns out that the two businesses are teaming up on another restaurant that’s set to open this spring at College and Clinton, in the Mad Italian’s old spot. The new place, which will be called A3 Napoli Pizzeria e Friggitoria, will serve Neapolitan street food, including pizza and fried foods (the owners won’t specify what kinds exactly, but we’re guessing arancini, fried calamari and the like). Libretto’s Rocco Agostino will act as executive chef, and Porchetta’s Nick auf der Mauer will help develop the menu. Currently, the plan is for the restaurant to be open seven days a week, from lunchtime until midnight. It will offer takeout and sit-down food service, plus Italian and local brews. And the cryptic name? That’s a reference to a motorway that leads into the heart of Naples, Italy.

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Restaurants

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Here’s where the new Libretto and Porchetta restaurants will be opening on King West

(Image: Caroline Youdan)

(Image: Caroline Youdan)

Some things just go well together, like huge pork sandwiches and Neapolitan pizzas. At least, that’s the theory behind the upcoming side-by-side locations of Pizzeria Libretto and Porchetta and Co., which are getting ready to open at 545 King West, just east of Portland Street. (That location puts the adjoining restaurants in good culinary company—Buca, Bar Buca, Portland Variety and Patria are all within a block or two.) Last fall, Libretto’s Max Rimaldi and Porchetta’s Nick auf der Mauer said their goal was to open both restaurants by the end of 2014. That deadline is now looming, but it seems like the neighbourhood may have to wait a little longer. “As of now we have not set an opening date,” said auf der Mauer in a recent email exchange. In the meantime, area residents who aren’t already familiar with Porchetta and Co. may want to check out the restaurant’s Instagram feed, which captures some truly breathtaking sandwich artistry.

The Dish

Openings

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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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Restaurants

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The new downtown Pizzeria Libretto is almost a reality 

Zagat Toronto spoke to Libretto co-owners Max Rimaldi and Rocco Agostino, who confirmed that the new downtown location—housed in a PATH-accessible office tower at 155 University Avenue—will open sometime in September. The new spot will be similar to the Ossington and Danforth locations, with a few decorative concessions to the area’s expense-account-wielding clientele. “Instead of vinyl seating it’ll be leather seating,” Agostino said. “Instead of barn board it will be refined wood.” The menu, however, will stay the same.

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Restaurants

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Pizzeria Libretto and Porchetta and Co. to open side-by-side restaurants along King West’s trattoria-thon strip

 

Porchetta-LibrettoRemember when Pizzeria Libretto featured a delicious pizza inspired by Porchetta and Co.? Well, that moment of food nirvana is about to hit the city again, only in a much bigger way: Libretto and Porchetta are set to open new locations next door to each other on King West next year. Nick auf der Mauer (owner of Porchetta and Co.) and Max Rimaldi (co-owner of Pizzeria Libretto) have confirmed to us that they are expanding with separate restaurants that will be attached at the hip. The new restaurants will be located somewhere between Bathurst and Spadina, where there’s no shortage of competition—Buca, Buonanotte, Cibo Wine Bar, Gusto 101, Scarpetta and Tutti Matti are all within walking distance.

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Recipes

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Recipe: gooey homemade ricotta from Pizzeria Libretto’s Rocco Agostino

Toronto Life Cookbook 2012 Recipe: Fresh Ricotta
Toronto Life Recipes | Appetizers
FRESH RICOTTA
By Rocco Agostino
Pizzeria Libretto

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Restaurants

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Friday Night Bites: tables for two at One, Auberge du Pommier and Pizzeria Libretto

FRIDAY NIGHT BITESIt’s 4 p.m. on Friday, and you don’t have a dinner reservation. Still, there’s no need to fret (or waste your night waiting for a table). We just called some of the city’s hottest restaurants and found three that can squeeze in two for dinner tonight. Now it’s up to you to get dialing and snag a table before they’re all gone. Today: One, Auberge du Pommier, and Pizzeria Libretto. 

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The Dish

Trend Watch

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Trend We Hate: lineups

Trend We Hate: LineupsEver since the late aughts, when Pizzeria Libretto, The Black Hoof and Guu opened with strict no-reservations policies, lineups have become a normal part of eating out. In a new restaurant’s buzzy first weeks, waits can last three hours (see Electric Mud BBQ). Whether it’s the dead of winter or the dog days of summer, we loathe lining up.

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Food Events

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Slurp Noodlefest moves to 99 Sudbury for its second—and final—edition

(Image: Igor Yu)

After a sold-out run at The Great Hall in March, Slurp Noodlefest is returning for a sequel on April 2o at 99 Sudbury. This time, ramen powerhouses Momofuku and Kinton will be serving their novel noodle dishes alongside the likes of Nota Bene, Yours Truly and, oddly, Pizzeria Libretto. Double Trouble Brewery and Chateau Des Charmes are joining Slurp vets Tromba Tequila and Dillon’s Distillery to provide libations. Once again, dishes will run $5–$10, and there’s a $10 entry fee. Ramen fanatics should move fast—the first Slurp sold out, and organizer Suresh Doss has pledged that after this, he’ll be “putting this ramen thing to rest.” Find out more »

The Dish

Food Events

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Gallery: 30 top Toronto chefs at FoodShare’s annual Recipe for Change fundraiser

Recipe for Change

The north building at St. Lawrence Market was filled to near-bursting on Thursday as food-loving philanthropists gathered to support FoodShare, a non-profit organization that endeavours bring healthy eating to all Torontonians. Recipe for Change, now in its fourth year, has become one of the city’s pre-eminent foodie fundraisers, with 400 patrons paying $125 to nibble on plates that tended to follow FoodShare’s devoutly seasonal philosophy (root vegetables were everywhere). Among the big name chefs supplying those plates were Aaron Joseph Bear Robe of Keriwa Cafe, Brad Long of Café BeLong, Pizzeria Libretto’Rocco Agostino and Momofuku Toronto’s Sam Gelman and Hans Vogels. Between the ticket sales and the silent auction, FoodShare raised $42,000 to support its food literacy initiatives—educating Toronto students about not just nutrition but the entire food system, from seedlings to table to compost and back again.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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The Dish Power Rankings: buzzing diners and taco insurgents

Toronto Life’s weekly assessment of the restaurants with the biggest buzz, the longest lineups and the toughest tables to snag.

The Hoof Raw Bar steals the top spot this week, now that Jen Agg has revived the mega-popular Hoof Café brunch (see last week’s rankings). Over in Parkdale, a new southern Italian restaurant is gaining ground and in The Junction, there’s a new contender for Toronto’s top taco.

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The Dish

Trend Watch

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Trend We Love: wait list–only restaurants that are now taking reservations

The County General now takes lunch reservations (Image: Laurent Hilaire)

No one likes spending hours in the cold waiting for a table at a hot new restaurant. But ever since The Black Hoof opened in 2008, it’s become de rigueur for new spots to spurn reservations in favour of buzz-building lineups out the door. Thankfully, there are signs of change, and some of those very restaurants have now recanted from their earlier ways. We’ve rounded up the most recent places to make the switch below:

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Pizza wars update: Terroni to open a new bakery

It’s no secret that Toronto’s Neapolitan-style pizza wars have been raging these past few months (and years). Terroni has remained conspicuously silent while Queen Margherita Pizza and Pizzeria Libretto announced multiple new locations and a raft of smaller thin-crust joints opened, but now it’s finally firing back. It’s not opening a new restaurant, however; it’s opening Il Forno del Sud, a bakery adjacent to its original Queen West location. Details are scarce (management declined to comment when we called), but The Grid recently posted the shaky 22-second video embedded above, which shows off the first run of panettone, a Milanese sweet bread. Expect Il Forno to open next spring.