Our next stop after Montreal on our Eastern Canada tour was Toronto. Even though I’ve flown through Toronto a few times, I had never actually stopped to check out the city before this trip. Our time in Toronto was fairly limited but luckily, Jenkins and I were able to meet up with our friend Karen, who had recently moved to the city. I asked if we could meet at Pizzeria Libretto, as I had heard it was the only pizzeria in Canada certified by the Vera Pizza Napoletana Association as making authentic Neapolitan pizza. Since I knew that Nicli Antica was hoping to get the same certification, I wanted to do a comparison of the two places to see how they stacked up.
The space at Pizzeria Libretto is pretty small and despite it being a weekday evening, it was quite bustling so we waited about 15 minutes or so before we could be seated. While we were getting settled, we were presented with some focaccia and regular bread along with some olive and chilli oil with balsamic vinegar. I liked the focaccia bread quite a bit but overall, it was fairly standard fare.
We decided to share a couple of appies and started with the bruschetta of the day, which happened to be creamy goat cheese with poached pear and microgreens. The flavours were very familiar but the sharp creaminess of the goat cheese went really well with the sweet pear. The toppings provided a nice texture contrast to the crispy pieces of toast.
We also decided to try another one of the daily special appies with the risotta balls, which came on a bed of a slightly tangy tomato sauce.
This was pretty different from the regular risotto balls that I had tried before and came stuffed with a lot of vegetables as well, including olives and tomatoes. The creamy richness of the filling was cut by the tangy tomato sauce and although this dish was pretty decadent, it did a great job of whetting my appetite for the upcoming pizzas.
I decided to go with a classic and chose the margherita pizza. The crust was thin and crispy and the light smattering of toppings really served to highlight the crust. I would have liked if there was slightly less cheese and slightly more basil but I really enjoyed the tomato sauce itself. The sauce was tangy yet slightly sweet and actually quite similar in flavour to the tomato sauce used for the risotto balls. I thought it went really well with the crust.
Jenkins ordered the Ontario prosciutto, which was basically the same as my pizza but had some fresh prosciutto on top as well. Jenkins always likes to have a little bit of meat on his pizza and he really enjoyed this pizza. He liked how the prosciutto was cut quite thin so it added just a hint of saltiness, which balanced nicely with the tomato sauce. As I mentioned before, Jenkins is fairly picky about his pizza and he thought the version here was pretty close to the pizza we tried during our Italian travels.
Karen decided to also have the margherita pizza but substituted the regular mozzarella with some Ontario mozarella di bufala. Interestingly, it came in a big scoop right in the middle of the pizza so she had to spread it around the pizza herself. It did make for an interesting presentation though. I tried a little bit of this and the fact that the cheese was not cooked gave the pizza a sharper flavour than the melted mozarella in my version. The only criticism about this pizza was because the cheese came scooped right in the middle, the crust directly underneath got soggy rather quickly.
Overall, we had a great time at Pizzeria Libretto. If I had to choose, I would say that I still prefer the pizza at Nicli Antica more…but only slightly more. I found that the pizza at Nicli tended more towards the traditional fare while Pizzeria Libretto seemed slightly more adventurous in trying new combinations in addition to some of the tried and true. The crust was top notch though and in general, Pizerria Libretto is a great option for Napolitano pizza in Toronto.
221 Ossington, Toronto