You may have heard me say this before but to me pizza is just the most complete of all foods. I’ve thought this way every since grade school when my parents would ‘suggest’ that I eat more balanced including something out of each food group. I would very ‘intelligently’ respond and demonstrate how pizza WAS all 4 food groups. Won’t go into any more detail than that.
Anyways, I’ve frequented some of the classic pizza joints in the city that promise the more traditional style of pizza cooked Neapolitan style in a wood burning oven with more adult toppings and the perfect crust. For the longest time Pizza Liberetto was definitely up there for me. Everything about that place – the food, the drinks, the vibe, even the ridiculous wait time made the food worth it. Until the last time about 2 months ago when I wasn’t so impressed. The food was just ‘meh’. It felt like the magic was lost and the unexpected all of a sudden turned into the lack-luster.
In a moment of spontaneity I went for dinner with a really good friend and her mom after work one day. We were contemplating the options on College Street when I realized that Queen Margherita had recently opened up a new location at Bathurst and Dundas. So off we went!
From the outside it looks like a super small space but once you enter you quickly realize that there is a staircase that leads to an extremely large open space below the main floor. There are tons of tables, booth seating across either side against the walls which is all overlooked by their open kitchen.
The best surprise of the night was the featured prix fixed menu for $29 which included an appetizer, any pizza and a dessert. We were three people so we ordered two of the prix fixed menus which was MORE than enough food. The spread for the evening included:
Goat Cheese and red pepper stuffed zucchini rolls
Arugula salad with cranberry, walnuts and goat cheese
Meatballs with ricotta, basil and tomatoes
Gio Oldschool Pizza – Fior di Latte, cherry tomatoes, prosciuotto di parma, arugula
Diavola Pizza – Fior di latte, sopressata, black olives, hot peppers
Baked apple crumble in a flaky pastry with vanilla icecream
I can’t even BEGIN to describe how delicious the food was. The goat cheese stuffed zucchini rolls were one of the specials (not on the regular menu) so we had to try them along with the salad and meatballs which were our starters. Everything tasted fresh with close attention paid to the little details and delicate ingredients within each of the dishes. The tomato sauce with the meatballs is one of their signatures made from the world’s best San Marzano DOP tomatoes, grown in the rich volcanic soil of Italy’s Campania region. I literally wanted a jar to take home.
Next up, the main event. Our Neapolitan style pizzas cooked in their custom wood-fired oven that was made in Naples and is heated to 900 degrees Fahrenheit. I have literally had these exact two pizza’s at Liberetto before and this was how I remembered and fell in love with them. The crust was not overwhelming or doughy and served as the perfect base for all the toppings. The Gio Oldschool is one of my all time faves, can’t go wrong with a pizza that almost feels like a salad! The Diavola is a pizza after my own heart. If you know me, you know how much I love any food with a bit of a kick to it. Well this pizza packs a kick and punch through the combo of sopressata and hot peppers. Not for the faint of heart.
And finally, my favourite part of any meal – DESSERT! Their dessert isn’t listed on their menu because I believe it changes every day, but I could be wrong. We opted for the Tiramisu and an apple crumble baked in a flakey pastry with vanilla ice cream. If I could have licked the plate clean and not embarrass myself or my friends I would have. I’m usually not the biggest fan of tiramisu but I couldn’t get enough of this one. Creamy, slightly sweet with the perfect texture and bits of chocolate sprinkled on top! The apple crumble is a classic and by far one of my favourite desserts and the fact that this one came in a flakey pocked just took the dish to a whole new level.
My bottom line. A definite favourite on my list that will receive many repeat visits. Can’t wait for next time.