Pizzeria Libretto Danforth Restaurant Review
As a former Greek Towner, I am the first to admit that it took me WAY too long to make it to the popular Pizzeria Libretto on the Danforth. I had tried a few slices (take out) from the Ossington location back when they opened up shop, and was thrilled when I heard they would be opening up close to home. Even better was the news that this location would be taking reservations (which for me, increases the likelihood of me visiting a restaurant like 10 fold). It was Sunday, and we were planning on a late evening movie in the Beach, so I thought it was a great excuse for an east end meal.
Even on a Sunday at 8 pm, the restaurant was roudy and full. There was a really positive vibe going on in there, and the servers and hostesses were friendly and helpful. My only complaint about the environment was that it was pretty chilly in there, and with the weather we've been having lately, the last thing I wanted was to sit down to a meal feeling cold. Regardless, I got over it enough to enjoy our meal.
It was a Sunday so we took it easy with the drinks, one glass of wine for him, and a Sfocato (peach puree, basil and proscecco) for me. Easy to drink, and not too sweet.
We let our server know that we were in a bit of a rush as we had a move to get to in about 1 1/2 hours. Our server assured us that food would be out very promptly, and for the record, he really didn't lie (we were through three courses in less then an hour).
Knowing how large those pizzas are, we opted to share one appetizer, two pizzas and a dessert. This is what we tried:
Ricotta Gnocchi Fritti (house-made crema fresca, lemon, chives, rosemary)
This was tasty, but not as great as I was hoping. Being of the ricotta variety, the gnocchi themselves were a little heavy, which made the contrast with the crispy fried exterior a little less satisfying. The herbs were a nice touch, but I found the crema pretty bland. Actually, the entire dish was a bit spotty on the seasoning, with some bites being pretty salty, and some having little to no seasoning.
Nduja Sausage (tomato, garlic, oregano, basil, mozzarella, stracciatella)
This was the better of the two pizzas, but both were delicious. First up, I love Libretto's crust, because it's chewy, slightly charred in some places, and has a gentle sweetness. I also loved the combination of salty, spicy sausage with sweet aromatic sauce, and a deliciously creamy mild cheese. It may look large, but it's very easy to eat the whole pie. I was also pleased that unlike a lot of thin crust pizzas in Toronto, PL's crust didn't get soggy or wet.
Duck Confit (bosc pear, mozzarella)
Sfingi (Italian-style doughnuts) (lemon curd, caramel sauce & strawberry couli)
Now, I am a huge fan of pretty much any doughnut, but these were super delicious. The sfingi had a wicked golden crust, but a soft and pillowy interior that seemed to almost melt once it hit my mouth. I always feel somewhat confused when I see lemon and caramel paired up, but in this case, it totally worked where the bright citrus flavours could be balanced out by the rich caramel. I was also pretty grateful that the accompaniments were all plentiful, so that I didn't have to worry too much about rationing and running out by the time I reached the last Sfingi.
So for 2 cocktails, sparkling water, 1 app, 2 pizzas, 1 dessert and 2 (very very good) cappuccinos, the bill came to about $100 including tax and tip. Pretty reasonable for dinner, and while it wasn't anything extravagant or innovative, the food was all very food. I wish they would deliver, but then again, I think you lose a lot of the appeal of thin crust when you put it in a box for an hour and let it steam itself soggy. I guess that just means I will have to be back to indulge my frequent pizza cravings.