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Eat & Drink

5 under the radar pizza joints on the east side of Toronto

Posted by Amy Michelle Smith / April 13, 2013

Diamond PizzaThere are few items in the culinary spectrum that induce the level of overwhelming, must-have-right-this-minute craving that I feel when the smell of a freshly baked pizza wafts in my direction. Equal parts doughy, greasy and cheesy, pizza has that trifecta of temptation down pat.

Toronto's east side is brimming with saliva-inducing slices, from the ever-popular classic joints like Danforth Pizza House and Pizza Pide to higher end selections like Queen Margherita Pizza (the original east end purveyor of "gourmet" pizza). That being said, there are also a number of lesser known, under the radar joints that are well worth a visit, offering up ooey-gooey goodness.

Here are a few of my favorite places to quench my pizza craving.

Diamond Pizza (Eat-in, Take Out, Delivery)
Diamond Pizza has been around since the late 70s, serving up hot slices of cheesy goodness to the East Danforth crowd. Their selection of specialty slices are limited, including the relatively common Deluxe Slice ($3.49, pepperoni, green peppers, mushrooms) or a tangy Hawaiian Slice ($3.49, ham, pineapple) but the selection of ingredients available for whole pizzas are plentiful. As a meat lover, I can't help but indulge in the Hot Italian Sausage, paired with Spanish onion, hot peppers and mushrooms. Not just for the pizza lover, Diamond offers up seriously tasty souvlaki, pasta and subs.

Bona Pizza & Pasta (Take-Out, Delivery)
One might genuinely deem Bona Pizza a hole in the wall. The small, take-out spot at the corner of Donlands and O'Connor is nothing special to look at, but when it comes to the variety of its pizza Bona has pretty much anything you'd ever consider layering on top except perhaps caviar and foie gras. Just about every type of onion, olive, chicken, beef, seafood, tomato option out there is on the menu. No wonder it's one of the most popular delivery places in East York. A particular favorite is the Danforth Pizza ($16 for a 12" and topped with Italian sausage, black olives, feta cheese, spanish onion, fresh garlic and diced tomatoes) or the Magic Pizza (same price, sauteed onions, roasted peppers, sundried tomatoes, chilli flakes, oregano, romano cheese and tomato sauce).

Tommasos TrattoriaTommaso's Trattoria (Eat-in, Take Out, Delivery)
Though slightly off the beaten track, Tommaso's Trattoria on Eastern Avenue serves up serious Italian, just like nonna used to make. Tommaso definitely knows how to entice with his popular lunch time hot table, but the classic pies here should not be overlooked. Thin crust slices feature traditional Italian ingredients like my personal favorite, the oozey Arugula, Parmigiano and Paccino which comes sans tomato sauce unless requested ($12 for a personal size). Meat lovers will get a kick out of the Diavola ($12) which features tomato sauce,mozzarella, basil and homemade Italian sausage, or the Capricciosa ($14) with nice thinly cut slices of Prosciutto.

Casa di Giorgio Ristorante (Eat-in, Take Out, Delivery)
Don't be fooled by the white cloth napkins and tacky decor. This local haunt serves up classic Italian food to the beach bums of the east end. With a huge patio out front, this Queen Street East spot has long been a place I frequent when catching a flick at the Beaches Cinema across the street. Though the selection of classic appetizers (mmm fried calamari), salads and pastas are worth a look, the pizza selection is killer (though by-the-slice is not an option). The Firenze (starting at $16.25 for 11") is one of those pizzas that I find myself craving on a regular basis, featuring mozzarella, tomato sauce, spinach, grilled eggplant, grilled zucchini, goat cheese and a heavy dose of oregano. It's hearty and filling, but not too heavy.

Arza Pizza (Take Out, Delivery)
The lone Halal pizza joint on the list, Arza Pizza is nestled in the heart of Thorncliffe Park. Sparing on the frills, and specializing in mostly take-out or delivery, Arza may not be "authentically Italian," but it's definitely tasty. The classic toppings are all available and they offer up some hard-to-say-no-to deals, like a daily lunch special which offers a personal-size 3-topping pizza, choice of 5 wings or a chicken leg and a pop for $5.99. While you're grabbing a slice, try out Arza's traditional Lahori-style fish ($3.99) and chicken($8.99 for a whole/ $2.00 for a leg).

Photos by Jesse Milns and Jane Manning

Discussion

28 Comments

Shush / April 13, 2013 at 07:38 am
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Shut up. Don't be telling people about Tassamos!
Pat / April 13, 2013 at 11:50 am
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Stratenger's. Wood-fired pizza oven.
Mar / April 13, 2013 at 12:20 pm
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Bout bloody time. Bona pizza is a ritual. If you live in the east end I recommend you take advantage of the opportunity
Peter / April 13, 2013 at 12:22 pm
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Mmmmm, haven't had Diamond Pizza in a while, maybe tonight's the night?
loske / April 13, 2013 at 12:52 pm
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Diamond on main is the best. Love the souvlaki dinner, but pizza is also very good
Sean / April 13, 2013 at 01:15 pm
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Gerrard Pizza at Coxwell and Danforth should be in here. Have had some good pizza there on multiple occasions.
Jason / April 13, 2013 at 06:32 pm
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Missed one. "Big House" pizza at Danforth and Donlands? Opened about a month ago.
DaveDave / April 13, 2013 at 06:54 pm
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Umm, Diamond Pizza is probably worthwhile if you've got an evening to kill sitting on the toilet. Nasty., nasty, nasty.
Aydin / April 13, 2013 at 07:11 pm
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I know this shouldn't bug me, but I've had a hard time going to Boma since the last federal election, when they had a Conservative sign in the window. This is Jack Layton's former riding, which should give you some idea where this community sits.
It just turns me off when businesses advertise their political leanings (for whichever party), but especially when they lean towards the least popular candidate in said community. It comes off as being in-your-face. It's just unnecessary - why would you want to turn off even the smallest percentage of your customers?
If it were AMAZING pizza, or by far the best in the area, I could look past it, but it's not nearly as good as Big House, La Famiglia or even Amato on Queen E., which all deliver in the area.
I know, it's petty and it's silly, but I didn't make the conscious effort to boycott them - they just seem a bit less yummy now.
Wow replying to a comment from Aydin / April 13, 2013 at 08:34 pm
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That might be the dumbest thing I have ever read...

Who gives a fuck who they support politically?

Sounds like you should move to the South and watch Fox News.
charalique / April 13, 2013 at 10:23 pm
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ya...where is that lead photo taken?

my mouth started to water as soon as i saw that pic...and i just ate LOL
Sean replying to a comment from Aydin / April 13, 2013 at 10:53 pm
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I'm guessing that if they had a NDP sign in a Conservative riding you'd be saying how much you appreciate them standing up for what the believe in? This really just sounds like a case of you taking exception to them because their opinion isn't congruent with yours, rather than because they voiced an opinion at all.
Tim replying to a comment from Johnny Tronno / April 14, 2013 at 08:33 am
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We took the lead photo at Diamond Pizza.
BM / April 14, 2013 at 02:00 pm
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Aw crap! I live in an NDP riding?
Lune replying to a comment from loske / April 14, 2013 at 05:49 pm
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Seconded. I order souvlaki dinner from Diamond most of the time, but pizza is pretty good, too.
I also like Mr. Pide on Danforth East of Pape. Pide is Turkish style pizza I believe, and it was very yummy.
Warren replying to a comment from Wow / April 14, 2013 at 09:23 pm
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The personal is the political. If you watch Fox News, I will think less of you. If you stick a big DOWN WITH FOREIGNERS sign in your window, I will have serious issues with your judgement.

A Conservative sign in the last month of the last Provincial election - not far off either.
My dollars have feet - deal with it.
Warren replying to a comment from Jason / April 14, 2013 at 09:27 pm
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Big House is my new favorite place. Run by the owners, cheeky, great quality - not a single complaint.
Can't wait to get back to try more of their cheekily-named felon pizza.
jb / April 14, 2013 at 10:17 pm
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Never impressed with Diamond Pizza. Not sure how the hell it made it on this list.
Josh / April 17, 2013 at 11:35 pm
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Love at first bite! On Gerrard just Est of Yonge. Not far east, but it's east and a good slice!

http://www.yelp.ca/biz/love-at-first-bite-toronto
Peter / June 7, 2014 at 07:57 pm
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you Forgot about Gerrard Pizza And Spaghetti House 1528 Danforth Ave.
Toronto, Ontario M4J 1N4
Tim / June 7, 2014 at 08:24 pm
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Don't go to Diamond Pizza for the pizza or the poutine!!! Nothing special about it. Their souvlaki is GREAT
Joe / June 7, 2014 at 09:27 pm
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Omg if you haven't tried Pizza Break in Vaughan you are missing out big time. It's been open for 2 months and honestly I haven't had any pizza that tastes anything close to it. This should be added to the pizza joints under the radar in Woodbridge.
Warren / September 27, 2014 at 07:06 pm
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Seeing Arza Pizza on this list confirms to me that this list is completely random. The takeout pizza slices at Arza are worse than Pizza Pizza, no better than something from the Grocery freezer section. I've been only once, but never again
Danforth Drunkard replying to a comment from Joe / September 27, 2014 at 07:07 pm
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Woodbridge is east?
crystal / September 27, 2014 at 08:07 pm
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If you want amazing gourmet pizza you have to try king slice (not big slice on young street) at dundas west and bloor street thebalixes are huge with big chunks like the deluxe with onions and green pepper, or the Hawaiian, they have other amazing food like panerotto that are just gigantic they also have pasta like lasagna. The slices run for about $5 well worth the price.
Big Al replying to a comment from crystal / September 27, 2014 at 09:23 pm
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I think Dundas and Bloor counts as east end if you live in Mississauga.
Derek / September 27, 2014 at 10:12 pm
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Big House on the danforth, best pizza in the city, let alone the east
KMS081991 / September 28, 2014 at 11:53 am
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The Real McCoy Burgers & Pizza at 1033 Markham Rd. South of Ellesmere in Scarborough. They make an awesome slice. Cash only, and no seating, but it is a gem. The burgers are great tool.

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