Monday, September 30, 2013

Pizzeria Libretto

Pizzeria Libretto

Where: 550 Danforth Ave
Price: $$$ ($165 for 6 people, tax and tip included) but their lunches are cheap!
I came here for lunch (which was delicious at such an affordable price!) and decided to take the rest of my family here for dinner.

Pizzeria Libretto makes VPN certified pizza meaning all their pizzas are certified by the Verace Pizza Napolentana Association’s guidelines which were set out by the Italian Government and European Union.
The one thing I love about PL is their process of cooking the pizza – a mere 90 seconds in a hot, hot, hot (900°F to be exact!) wood-burning oven. This ensures that the crust of the pizza achieves the charred and blistered crust of a Neapolitan Pizza while ensuring the ingredients on top stay fresh and not overly cooked

Service: The waiters are very friendly but unattentive. Perhaps, I am used to the hustle-and-bustle of an HK Café but service was quite slow.

PL's bread is made daily by Thuet, is served at the beginning with a olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette. I could eat that bread for days.. (although I’m biased because I am a huge fan of Thuet, Petite Thuet, etc)

Arugula Salad (pears, roasted walnuts, aged piace, gamay vinaigrette) $9
Unfortunately, we forgot to take a picture of this.. but to be honest, we only got this dish as a way of lessening the guilt of soon-to-be consuming a hearty meal of pizzas. Regardless, I enjoyed the combination of the tartness from the dressing, the sweet pears and the bitter arugula. My only disappointment is that the salad seemed noticeably smaller than the last time I came to PL.

Ricotta Gnocchi Fritti (house-made crema fresca, lemon, chives, rosemary) $7
I quite enjoyed these but my family were not too big of a fan. I loved the crispiness of the exterior and the soft potato gnocchi. This is definitely a swab-and-go dish though. You fork a gnocchi and dip it in the crema fresca before popping it into your mouth. Fun dish to share but not very memorable.

 Buttermilk Fried Calamari  (red pepper, almond romesco sauce, Libretto herb oil) $12
Usually I grimace at the idea of ordering calamari in restaurants. It seems so simple and mundane, for some reason and I have been completely underwhelmed at some restaurants when I order it. However, my cousin (who is not from Canada) tagged along for dinner so I ordered it so he could try it. We were all very pleasantly surprised with this dish. Crispy batter that did not take away from the softness of the calamari along with a swab of a red pepper sauce. Truly one of the better dishes of calamari I’ve had in Toronto!!

We only ordered 4 pizzas because of all the extra appetizers and desserts we were planning to get. The crust on all of their pizzas is deliciously chewy, sweet and charred and blistered in the right spots, giving it a slight smoky taste. Mmmm!

Anchovy (tomato, bufala mozzarella, preserved chili, roast garlic) $15
This was the majority of the table’s least favourite. I personally didn’t mind it but agreed it was nothing to be wow’ed at. The anchovy taste is very evident in this pizza which I loved but would, understandably, turn some people off. 

The next three were absolutely delicious and we could not choose one winner!!

House-made Sausage (caramelized onion, mozzarella, chili oil) $16
Oh man, I will be dreaming about the sausage and chili oil for days. Make sure you ask for a side of chili oil on the side! This pizza is the epitome of a great spicy, oily pizza but in the best way possible. It is a truly guilty pleasure to eat this pizza!

Ontario Prosciutto & Arugula (garlic, tomato, oregano, basil, shaved grana padano) $16
We thoroughly enjoyed this one for the sole reason that it was one of the freshest tasting pizzas we’ve ever had. Normally, one may feel greasy, bloated and guilty after eating a pizza but this was very.. clean tasting for a pizza. This is what I love about their cooking method with the pizzas. The toppings on this pizza stayed fresh. My only criticism on this dish is that I wish there was more basil!

Cremini Mushroom (bufala mozzarella, gorgonzola, roasted garlic, rosemary, thyme, pecorino) $17

This was one of the richer pizzas we had that evening – roasted mushrooms with thick slabs of mozzarella cheese. Oh my goodness, this was truly a rich, flavourful pizza. They are not skimpy with the toppings on this pizza!

Buttermilk Panna Cotta $7 
Panna cotta is one of my family's favourite Italian desserts so of course we had to try out PL's version of it! Perhaps, we have been spoiled with other panna cotta's but this dessert did not leave us speechless. There was nothing wrong with it, it just was not spectacular..

Chocolate-Amaretto Budino + seasonal accompaniments $7
Budino is a sweet Italian dessert of rich, creamy-like custard or pudding. PL’s serves theirs in a jar giving it a very rich and rustic feel. The bottom layer is the chocolate budino which was very rich (perfect for a chocolate-lover like myself!) topped with fresh whipped cream and a raspberry reduction. Not overly sweet due to the tartness of the raspberries. Very satisfying to eat.

Libretto Tiramisu $7

Served in a jar and dusted with cocoa powder. The dessert, in theory, was great – Buttery cake soaked in espresso but not drenched in liquer. However, it just didn’t wow us and was sadly the least liked of the three.

Mocha Affogato with Vanilla Ice Cream ($5)
Unfortunately, we devoured this to quickly to remember to take a picture..My family cannot deny a mocha affogato – it just can’t be done. The deep, bitter taste of a shot of espresso, coupled with a sweet, rich scoop of vanilla ice cream really hits the spot. That being said, PL’s version lived up to our expectations

Our total bill came to 165 (tax+tip included) for 6 very satisfied people.

I have come here for lunch before and it is SO worth it. $15 for a huge salad, a pizza and dessert. I was completely stuffed!

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