- The Pizza
- The Starters and Desserts
- The Atmosphere and Ambience
Pizza has always been a “Friday-night in” kinda’ food for me, but lately I’ve grown quite accustomed to eating a more gourmet-style pizza. The pizza options inTorontoare endless; from quick-n’-dirty takeout joints like Pizza Pizza and Domino’s; to pricier fast-food options of Panago and Pizzaiolo; and finally to the rather expensive, sit-down style fancy pizza-pies that clamour Italian history. As a child, I never thought about what oven was used, where the tomatoes were grown, how many years of culinary education and experience the pizza chef had. If it had pepperoni and cheese on it, I’d be happy. Growing older has definitely made me more aware of how these delicate details could change the entire pizza experience! And this brought me to Queen Margherita Pizza (“QMP”).
1402 Queen St. East
Toronto, ON M4L 1C9
QMP, albeit a “cheesy” name (pun intended!), has made quite the stir in city for its quality Neapolitan pizzas. Neapolitan pizzas cook in Italian-manufactured intense heat ovens that cook pizzas in 90-seconds. The website of QMP boasts being VPN-certified by the Vera Pizza Napoletana inItalywhich has a stringent list of requirements for its member restaurants to follow. Just the oven itself costs over $30,000! A true Neapolitan pizza should be no more than 35 cm in diameter with a crust 1 – 2 cm high, and the remainder of the pie not to exceed 0.3 cm thick. QMP pays particular attention to the dough and tomato sauce used in its pizzas so that each slice strikes a balance for taste and texture. I wanted to go into some detail so that each person can appreciate each bite:
Dough – 00-grind flour is imported fromItalyto make the dough. 00 produces the perfect extensible texture for pizzas. QMP sources its 00 from Molino Caputo, and is known for its 100% all-natural ingredients. A fancy computer lab determines the best grains to use, the best pressure to expand the dough, and other fancy stuff which makes QMP’s dough the ideal flour to create a crisp crust and moist crumb.
Tomato Sauce – San Marzano plum tomatoes are used to make the red sauce, which strikes the perfect balance between acidity and sweetness necessary in the sauce. This tomato is thinner and pointier that your typical tomatoes, providing a stronger tart taste. It’s considered one of the best pizza paste sauces.
QMP is located in Leslieville, pretty far out from the Downtown core onQueen Street East. You have to go past the DVP, past Broadview and it’s just before Coxwell. The Ossington scene out West has popularized over the past few years, leaving the East end a little quiet sometimes. With that said, there are some hidden gems out here with QMP being one of them. We parked on the street and walked into the restaurant that was located in what looked like a industrial factory.
The high-ceiling rustic look of the vintage interior reminded me of being in someone’s hipster attic. I’ve never been in an attic of an old house before, but if I did this is how I pictured it to look. We were seated in the upstairs dining area that was characterized by large rustic windows. I particularly liked the ambience created by the dimly candle-lit dining area and stirring chatter of the other tables. There was a sense of classic and timeless comfort that fit well into any meal. I looked around and saw couples, first dates, family get-togethers and friends catching up.
This was a great place for all of these things. There were two tables beside us. One sat a large family with parents, a few children and the grandparents and it just happened to be the grandmother’s birthday. The other table sat two couples sharing stories of decorating their new houses. I liked QMP pretty much the second I sat down.
The menu was short but had enough choices, with several appetizers written on the wall and the pizza options were on a paper menu. The pizzas ranged in price from $15 – $20 approximately. Prix fixe were available where you got an appetizer, pizza and dessert of your choice for $20 at lunch time and $27 at dinner. We decided to go with a dinner set menu, plus one other pizza. The appetizer menu boasted a mushroom soup, pork belly salad, or duck wings. We decided to go with the mortadella pâté crostini with balsamic glaze and pistachios, which is essentially ground up sausage on small slices of toast.
As for the pizza, we went with one white and one red pizza – the Campagnolo and Rocco. Our Campagnolo was light and enriched with small dabs of goat cheese. I personally preferred the Rocco that came with a blue Gorgonzola cheese, Italian sausage and red onions. Both pizzas were tasty without the overload of salt which allowed the flavours of the ingredients to take a stronger hold of the pizza.
QMP was unique, like a gasp of fresh air. The prix fixe is surely the best deal in the city. The starter + pizza + dessert all for $20/$27 lunch/dinner is a bargain if you’re willing to make the trek out to Leslieville. They don’t cheap out either, so expect a full-blown meal and fantastic service! The menu changes daily so it’s no wonder that patrons come back time and time again for Queen Margherita’s favourite pizza. With its warm, cozy and chic vintage décor, QMP is hands down one of the best in the city. The debate boils down to whether the best Neapolitan pizza is served here or out in the West, where several gourmet Neapolitan pizza joints have long rivaled QMP. These pizza wars are friendly competition that benefits us foodies who can jump from place to place in search for the best tasting pie QMP is doing well and is reaching out from its Leslieville bubble. New locations are popping up near Jane & Bloor, and Bathurst & Dundas. It looks like the pizza competition ensues!
The Damage: $55 after tax and tip