Bikes outside make Pizzeria Libretto look even more Italian — Photo courtesy of Aislinn Laffan / Pizzeria Libretto
Italians know what they like when it comes to food; this involves respecting the simplicity of the best ingredients. So if you have ever been to Italy, it may have ruined the taste of every other pizza for life.
But even if you don't have the means to hop on a plane and get some Neapolitan pizza, hope is not lost. Pizzeria Libretto in Toronto is so good that it won third best in the world in the 2013 International Pizza Challenge. We needed to italicize in the world to drive the point home: this stuff is seriously good.
Just try not to drool . . . — Photo courtesy of Aislinn Laffan / Pizzeria Libretto
You may be wondering what Neapolitan pizza is in the first place. That is a fine question, to be answered with a fine (and, frankly, delicious) answer.
Although the history of pizza is not very clear or well documented, the people of Naples emphatically claim that it comes from their region. Who can argue, when they have mastered their pizza so beautifully? It's so important to them, in fact, that they have an association (Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana) to verify which restaurants serve real Neapolitan pizza.
Guess what? According to their strict international standards, Pizza Libretto fits the (pizza) mould.
The dough to end all doughs — Photo courtesy of Aislinn Laffan / Pizzeria Libretto
Pizzas made according to these standards must be made using only the best natural ingredients. We are talking San Marzano tomatoes (which many chefs deem to be the best in the world) and Fiore di Latte Mozzarella that is brought in fresh daily.
The wood burning oven stands at 900 degrees, which is terrifying for the cook but wonderful for the pizza. It produces a pillowy and slightly charred crust, which is so delicate that it seems to melt in your mouth at the same pace as the cheese.
See, Pizzeria Libretto's Chef Rocco Agostino studied in Italy, so the man knows his 'za.
Pizzeria Libretto's laid-back interior encourages casual conversation (and copious pizza eating) — Photo courtesy of Aislinn Laffan / Pizzeria Libretto
Antipasto dishes and salads are simple and fresh, with marbled meats, cheeses and crisp greens to take the edge off. However, if you are planning in indulging in a pizza all to yourself (the usual choice), there's no need. There are the traditional marinara and margherita options, but there are also some unexpected flavor combinations, such as the duck confit with Bosc pear or the anchovy with roasted garlic (for those with no immediate kissing plans).
You can't do wrong with any menu decision, and there are lovely quarter bottles, half bottles or full bottles of wine to wash down each slice.
Margherita never looked so delicious — Photo courtesy of Aislinn Laffan / Pizzeria Libretto
There are no reservations taken at the original Pizzeria Libretto location at 221 Ossington, yet people are willing to wait for the ultimate pie. If you like a little more certainty in your schedule, then you can head to Greektown at 550 Danforth to thumb your nose at souvlaki.
Most North Americans have had a fair amount of pizza in their lives, but not like this. Visit Toronto and go to Italy in one week: you don't have to tell people how.