The pizza scene in Toronto is a competitive one, with the downtown area especially playing host to numerous restaurants that pride themselves on serving what they think is the best slice in the city. You’ve got Terroni, Pizzeria Libretto, Marcello’s, Buca and many, many more. You also have Queen Margherita Pizza, named after Margherita Maria Teresa Giovanna, the Queen consort of Italy during the reign of King Umberto I.
With three locations spread across the city, the restaurant is quickly making a name for itself as one of the best places to grab ‘za, and after a recent visit to their Dundas West spot, it’s not hard to see why that is. Often cited as a direct competitor to the aforementioned Terroni and Libretto, the three establishments seem to be constantly duking it out for the title of Toronto’s Best Pizza – and they all have legitimate claims to the throne.
That being said, the wood-fired pies at Queen Margherita are baked with passion by a team who knows their way around food, which makes a serious case for them serving some of the city’s most delicious eats, especially when it comes to pizza. But before we dive into all that, let’s talk a little bit about the spot itself.
Situated in the convenient location of Dundas West, just past Spadina, Queen Margherita boasts a spacious dining room with both an upstairs section that’s basked in warm daylight with large windows and a lower section just a few steps down that’s privy to a view of the ovens (which are imported from Naples) that cook those tasty pizzas. Upon our arrival, we were seated in the downstairs section and given the usual run through of the menu by our server. At that point, it was time to get ready for the imminent wave of deliciousness that was about to hit our mouths.
Here’s a look at what we had….
Caprese Salad (with Tomatoes, Bufala Mozzarella, Taggiasche Olives, Basil): We kicked things off with this colorful and eye pleasing appetizer, which boasts ripe tomatoes and creamy, soft mozzarella, making for a Caprese that was as fresh as they come – with beautiful presentation to boot! A generous serving ensured that we were left more than satisfied, with our tastebuds standing up in excitement for what was to come next.
Calamari (with Marinara, Gremolata): Once again arriving in a pretty big portion, especially given that it’s a starter, this dish was everything we were hoping it would be. Delicious calamari was wrapped in crispy breading, perfectly paired with a tangy marinara sauce that had us smothering our seafood in it upon every dip.
Gio Oldschool Pizza (with Fior di Latte, Cherry Tomato Prosciutto di Parma, Arugula): And so we arrive at the main event. The first pie we dug into was also our favorite. Served to us fresh out of the oven and still quite hot with a slightly charred crust, the Gio Oldschool pizza was a true treat for the tastebuds and will no doubt please those looking for an authentic Italian experience.
Fresh arugula covered what was a wildly impressive pie, boasting tender, soft cheese which was dispersed perfectly – not too heavy and not too light. Complimenting that was some mouth watering proscuitto and of course, the cherry tomatoes, all combining for a what was a perfect harmony of flavors, delicious right down to the last bite of that chewy, soft crust.
Margherita Pizza (with Fior di Latte, Fresh Basil): The second pie we indulged in was the classic Margherita. Stripped down but still authentic, everything about this one was simply perfect. The fresh Fior di Latte cheese was once again superb and the basil was cooked just enough so that the leaves had a hint of crunch to them when you took a bite, which we loved. Throw in a sweet marinara sauce that tied everything together perfectly and you have a clear contender for the city’s best Marg pizza.
Chocolate Torte (with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream): A simple yet effective way to end off our meal, we definitely enjoyed the Chocolate Torte. Falvorful, presented nicely and accompanied by fresh strawberries and a large serving of vanilla bean ice cream, it made for a fine conclusion to our dining experience, leaving us with a sweet taste in our mouths and a smile on our faces.
While the fight for Toronto’s best pie still rages on, there’s no denying that Queen Margherita Pizza is right up there with the best of them. With next to no complaints about our meal and pizza that was well cooked and prepared, and came packing a ton of flavor and fresh ingredients, customers will no doubt find a lot to like about the restaurant.
Their namesake certainly rings true – pizza is clearly where they excel – and if you’re looking for a pie that will truly leave you impressed, you simply can’t go wrong with this excellent Toronto establishment.
All photos by Matt Joseph unless otherwise noted.