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CanuckJim 09-19-2008 08:14 AM

Pizzeria Libretto, Toronto
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I've been consulting with Max Rimaldi over several months about things WFO in support of a restaurant he was planning to open in Toronto. Pizzeria Libretto is the result. It's located at 221 Ossington Ave., just south of Dundas Street, on the east side, in a funky/hip Portuguese neighbourhood that's swarming with activity.

Various newspaper reviews (including the influential Globe and Mail) have said that Pizzeria Libretto serves the best pizza in the city--bar none--not bad for a new venture in a major foodie capital. Have a look at what they offer here: Pizzeria Libretto - Real Neapolitan Pizza in Toronto .

Wendy and I were fortunate enough to be allowed in before opening (5 pm), so the attached pics don't show how packed the place (seats about sixty)became soon after . No reservations are taken, the word is out, so be prepared to wait for a table.

The pizza is indeed excellent, with one proviso (see below). We had House-Made Duck Prosciutto to start, which had a surprising and delicious combination of flavours. Next came a classic Margherita and a House-Made Sausage pizza. Both lived up to expectations, especially accompanied by a 2006 Canaletto Pinot Nero IGT.

My only proviso is that the oven floor is heated to at least 850F to bake an extremely thin, cracker style crust in forty-five seconds using local organic flour for the dough. It's not my personal favourite, having gotten spoiled by the results of high hydration Caputo Pizzeria flour, but that's just a quibble and a matter of taste. I prefer creamier crust and larger cornice.

If you're in Toronto, don't miss it; it's worth the line-ups.


sarah h 09-19-2008 12:31 PM

Re: Pizzeria Libretto, Toronto
Looks great! I'll have to try and get there next time I'm in Toronto.
I like the 'subway' feel to the name in the B&W tiles - is that what the style was meant to evoke?

FigliodiMariaeGiovanni 09-19-2008 04:22 PM

Re: Pizzeria Libretto, Toronto

Thanks for posting this! I have a vision for a place here on the east coast in the States. And that is exactly what I see in my mind! Very cool.:)

james 09-19-2008 10:31 PM

Re: Pizzeria Libretto, Toronto
What a thrill. That looks great. I really like the feeling of the place, and the layout and decoration are perfect. It looks like a restaurant focused on pizza. Excellent.

Jim, did the pizza feel a little brittle? There is such a fine balance between a well-made crunchy crust and moist crumb and either a brittle, cracker crust or something just doughy and chewy. Pizza can be so difficult. One small thought -- they could push their ingredients out to the edge a little more. :-)

I'm on the Monterey peninsula and there isn't a pizzeria half this good to be found. We need one.

CanuckJim 09-20-2008 08:09 AM

Re: Pizzeria Libretto, Toronto

As you know, the subway informs Toronto's image of itself as a BIG city urban extravaganza. I'm sure the tile work was meant to evoke just that.


I've toyed with the idea of doing just what Max did here.


Yes, not quite brittle, but almost. You're right, pizza can be quite tricky. Wendy's comment, unprovoked, was "ours is better." Still, it was very, very good. My feeling, watching the forming technique, was that the dough is being just a tad overhandled. These are small things, though. Like many of us, I pursue the crunchy but moist crust.


FigliodiMariaeGiovanni 09-20-2008 09:13 AM

Re: Pizzeria Libretto, Toronto
James and CanuckJim,

I assume this is a FornoBravo oven at Libretto? Also like the round stands that are flanking outside the oven. Probably to place hot ones right out of it?


james 09-20-2008 10:12 AM

Re: Pizzeria Libretto, Toronto
I would guess that the oven is from Naples. Either made there and shipped, or they sent in a mason from Naples.

CanuckJim 09-20-2008 11:59 AM

Re: Pizzeria Libretto, Toronto

Yes, the oven is from Naples, and they did bring in a mason for it. Max, naturally enough, was unwilling to tell me who the manufacturer is, other than "they're small." It's a nice looking oven: very low dome (around 16"), equally small opening. Seems to bake very evenly and efficiently.


james 09-20-2008 01:45 PM

Re: Pizzeria Libretto, Toronto
Hi Jim,

That's right. There are no "big" oven companies in Naples -- rather a handful of individuals who make them.

CanuckJim 09-30-2008 10:55 AM

Re: Pizzeria Libretto, Toronto
James et al,

Pizzeria Libretto has been making a lot of noise among Toronto's food writers and bloggers. Here's a recent one, courtesty Alphonse, from The Toronto Star newspaper: | Restaurants | An opera of seasonal ingredients. A bit on the finicky side, but very positive, all in all.


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