Restaurant Review:: Pizzeria Libretto (Toronto)

>> Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Pizzeria Libretto
221 Ossington Ave
Toronto, ON

Daily 12-11
Sundays 11-4

I was supposed to be there at 1:30pm to meet up with Toronto area bloggers Ginger & Asian Pear. My friend Heather and I arrived there at 2:10 pm. Pizzeria Libretto is one helluva walk/subway/streetcar ride away...from everything except Little Portugal.

Pizzeria Libretto's big draw is that they claim to the only Naples style pizza in Toronto. What this means is that it follows a strict set of guidelines set out by the Verace Pizza Napoletana Association as set out by the Italian Government and the European Union. Yes, the EU is working hard at preserving culinary heritage and that is pretty cool. (How do I get a job in that department?)

Admittedly, I had checked out their website the night before, so I knew quite a bit about their pizza and their wood burning oven that it's cooked in (90 seconds at 900 degrees!) and their environmental policies..which I have to say are pretty impressive. I like the fact that they try to use local ingredients (albeit a tougher thing to do in Canadian winters) whenever possible.

Immediately being greeted by a gorgeous man at the entrance was definitely a bonus, if not a little awkward as I was rather flustered at being so late and thrown off by his attentiveness and the fact that I was still adjusting to the darker interior. (Okay, it was his good looks...did I mention he was gorgeous?) He invited me to head into the restaurant and search for the rest of my party. I have never met the other girls face to face, but I knew them when I entered the small, but cozy seating area. It was pretty busy and I would have loved to head closer to the back to catch a view of the oven itself, I get a little intimidated by a. good looking men and b. looking lost to said handsome men. Everyone seemed to be busy chatting,watching tv, running in and out of the kitchen.

Being a bit of an amateur food photographer, I knew some things were going to be tough. I had on the wrong lens for the distance at which we were sitting and the lighting left a lot to be desired (although absolutely perfect for dates!)..but let's be honest, that's not a problem for most people..just for my camera :)

Heather and I ordered just after Ginger and Asian Pear, I felt a bit rushed looking over the menu, but that was entirely our fault for being I just randomly picked something as the waiter hovered about saying if we ordered quickly, our food should come at the same time. Heather over the past year has switched it up from being vegetarian to vegan (So sorry Heather!!) so her order was a bit tougher, only garlic and tomatoes. I ordered the salami pizza ($16) which came with salami, mozzarella & tomato topping as well as roasted red peppers and very sparse basil leaves (ie. 3). Our pizzas came would assume so as they only spend 90 seconds in the oven!

I was a little surprised at the VERY hard time I had cutting the pizza! So much so, that I abandonned the entire crust and only ate the inside. Even that was pretty rough and seemed to take me forever. It made the dining experience kind of frustrating actually, like I had been given the dullest knife in the place. The taste of the pizza was so-so and the ingredients were fresh although very sparse. I had forgotten there were roasted red peppers even on my pizza until I saw maybe 4 thinly sliced pieces at the direct centre of the pie.

To be brutally honest, the pizza I made the other week had more taste and flavour than Pizzeria Libretto's Salami pizza.

I really wanted to love this place, I did. Hot waiters, good looking foodie people chatting and eating fast pizza, environmentally friendly business operations and fresh ingredients. Seriously. What was not to love? While I appreciate that this is a different 'style and technique' of creating pizza in Toronto, I can't help but feel that they are missing something. Hey, at least the company was good! :)

I think maybe if I went back a second time (I probably won't), I'd have to check out their other menu offerings (Or at least convince one of the waiters to peruse the menu with me a bit longer!) as I've heard the bruschetta is pretty good.

Feel free to check out other diner's photos of Pizzeria Libretto on Flickr here.


The Asian Pear 10 February 2010 at 06:05  

awwh. sorry you didn't like it that much. i actually liked it a lot. it's not the traditional thick crust pizza experience because it's neopolitan style. that being said I always say that homemade is better than restaurant. :D

my review is scheduled for tomorrow and the nova era will be thursdays's. :)

foodblog fiend,  18 February 2010 at 13:50  

a few things. first off, I suggest you make your pizza dough at home instead of buying it from the store, it will make a difference. second, i think your review of the restaurant misses the point of a poignant review. i see that you are new to blogging, which is exciting, but a review needs to be more about the food and less about you. Also, you should eat three courses before you review, just in the spirit of respect for an establishment and their culinary efforts. Otherwise it would be like writing a book review and only redeaing a part of the book... all the best.

Webgrrl74 18 February 2010 at 15:04  

Hey foodblog fiend...I've actually been a blogger since just before 2003, but yes, food blogging is in fact quite new to me.

I do appreciate your comments and yes, you are correct both about homemade pizza dough(although I am taking the easy way out and the dough I buy is pretty darn awesome) and restaurant reviews in general. I have never professed to be a professional regarding restaurant reviews (although God knows what I might've said then!) *teasing grin*
I should probably have said that it was less of a review than of just a general overall pizza experience for me personally (personally because this is a bit of a personal blog as well), because the gals I went with had a completely different experience. You can read their reviews here: and, so please feel free to check those out. :)

I do agree that you should try three courses whenever you are out, but considering I was ordering what Pizzeria Libretto is known for; pizza, I was very fair. Like I said, I loved everything else about the place, but my pizza just wasn't all it was hyped up to be.

Ginger 22 February 2010 at 11:56  

Awww, that's a bummer that yours wasn't so good! I loved mine!

Maybe it was just the toppings you chose?

Typically there really isn't much in the way of toppings on real Neapolitan pizzas. I was actually surprised at how much arugula was on mine.

The most important thing though was that we had a good time! :D

Anonymous,  22 April 2010 at 11:23  

I find it ridiculous that this is your review... ask anyone else who frequents here and they will rave about libretto. in fact, please don't go back its one less person in line for a table.

Webgrrl74 22 April 2010 at 13:59  

Dear Anon...please read the above review.

And yes..I can write about whatever I like, just as you are free to do AND yet remain anonymously.*LOL*

Therein lies the problem. I do not frequent Libretto..this was my first visit..and based upon said first visit, my experience wasn't that great and would not inspire me to return any time soon. *shrugs* No one's immediate problem, I was just stating my own personal I mentioned, I did not have the same experience as the other girls I dined with.

I will give you my place in line.. gladly.

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