The food: pizza at Queen Margherita Pizza
I had to check out the Neapolitan style pies at Queen Margherita Pizza on Queen Street East, near Greenwood, in Toronto, since the flurry of press it earned this summer indicated its pizzas might be – alert! – better than those at Pizzeria Libretto, the Toronto pizza place that became my go-to spot for Neapolitan pizza after I figured out that the thing to order there is the Margherita with extra cheese.
My efforts at finding out more about Queen Margherita Pizza were stalled at first – early reviews stated the restaurant was open for dinner only on weekdays, and took reservations, when I wanted to go for a relaxed lunch without booking ahead. The extremely unhelpful restaurant website lists no hours of operation or menu items, and when I broke down one day and made an actual phone call to the listed number (phone calls being something I avoid whenever possible), the mailbox was full.
Finally, a review appeared in the Toronto Star that listed the hours of operation as 7 days a week (though a sign on the door says the place is closed Monday), from noon – 11 pm. Encouraged, E and I set out for the wilds of Queen East on a rainy Tuesday.
We found the space to be industrial, high-ceilinged, casual, and large:
The view out the many windows to the streetcar yards across the street was interesting in a gritty, urban kind of way, we liked the mellow vibe of the service, and we didn’t mind that the lunch menu offered only pizza,
since that was what we were there to eat.
E ordered the Giovanni ($18.95), with tomato sauce, fior di latte, prosciutto di Parma, arugula and cherry tomatoes:
And I had the Vegetarian ($15.95), with tomato sauce, fior di latte, artichoke, black olives, mushroom, and zucchini, shown at the top of this post.
We each liked our own pizza better than what the other person was having – I thought the prosciutto on E’s pizza should have been thinner and the arugula less limp, but he was satisfied. I was happy because the crust on my pizza was chewy and tangy on the edges and softer and wetter in the middle, the way I like it. And I didn’t have to request extra cheese – the blooms of melted fior di latte that adorned the pizza were in pleasing proportion to the other topping ingredients, if you ask me.
Was the pizza at Queen Margherita better than that at Pizzeria Libretto? No, but it’s as good as, in my opinion. And since I live more on the east side of the city than on the west, it looks like I’ve found a new go-to spot for Neapolitan pizza.