Wednesday, November 26, 2014Cloudy 1°C
Restaurants

Bitondo Pizzeria & Sandwiches

Posted by Liora Ipsum / Reviewed on November 2, 2014 / review policy

Bitondos TorontoBitondo's is a tiny, old school pizzeria located on Clinton, a residential street removed from the bustle of Little Italy's main drag. It's a strictly take-out operation, which you'd think would hinder business, but it thrives thanks to a loyal following, despite the fact that San Francesco Foods (with an almost identical menu) is situated directly across the street.

The place has seen better days. Outside, the awning is tattered, the windows haphazardly covered with cardboard to shade the pizzaiolo. Inside is worn too - the brown backlit menu board lists sandwiches, slices and pastas, while a white printed chart supplements the menu with pizza offerings.

Bitondos TorontoA cold case displays bottles of Brio, salami and containers of olives, while a hot case is balanced on top and stocked with ready-made pizza slices and golden panzerotti. Seating is limited to just a handful of tables furnished with orange chairs, and are generally filled with singles mowing down a slice or waiting for their orders to be ready.

bitondos torontoI was first introduced to this joint when I was in my 20s, renting a grubby room on College Street. My roommates at the time pronounced it Bit-aan-dos (an affectation I've since struggled to shake), and they taught me that the sandwiches (specifically veal or chicken) are best consumed by peeling off the top bun and re-stacking with a gooey cheese panzo set in the middle. Considering the tiny pizza parlour offers no real sides, it was a perfect way to fill up on the cheap.

Bitondos TorontoReally, there is no wrong way to eat Bitondo's. The slices ($3.50) topped with pepperoni beckon from under an orange glowing light. The crust is thin, but firm; the cheese is melted to a gooey consistency but not cooked enough to brown or crisp up; the pepperoni is incredibly salty and greasy.

Bitondos TorontoDuring peak hours you'll find cheese panzos ($6.50) ready for grab-and-go too - you'd think they'd be best straight from the fryer, but they don't sit around long so it's not really a concern. Even if you call in to order in advance, they won't make it just for you - the standard reply is "order that again when you come to pick up". Should you arrive to find them sold out, consider the wait for a fresh one a blessing. A side order of sweet, bright sauce ($1) is advised for dipping.

Bitondos TorontoSkip the pastas - these take 30 minutes and are nothing to write home about, and order instead from the list of sandwiches ($5.75 to $6.95) featuring chicken or veal cutlets, steak, sausage or meatballs. These are served sweet, medium or hot with extras ($0.75 each) like sweet peppers, mushrooms or extra cheese (not necessary if you plan to stick a panzo in the middle).

Sadly there is no eggplant (the only excuse, IMO, to go to San Fran across the street), so in its absence I always get the veal, a generous stack of thinly pounded, breaded meat. I like it "medium" which means smothered with sweet, thin red sauce and dressed with rings of hot banana peppers.

bitondos torontoWhole pizzas start at $9.95 for a 12-inch cheese and go up in price depending on size and number of toppings. House favourites include any combination of pepperoni, green peppers and mushrooms but there are also extras (nothing fancy) like bacon, sausage, olives, onions, tomato slices, pineapple and hot peppers available if you want to customize. Specify "well done" if you want the cheese to bubble and crisp.

Above all you need to know that Bitondo's only accepts cash - which can be obtained across the street at the Monarch Tavern.

Bitondos TorontoPhotos by Jesse Milns

Discussion

23 Comments

Bill / November 8, 2007 at 01:10 am
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Best veal sandwhiches. Divine sauce.

Everytime I eat here I think of how lucky the people in the house next door is, imagine being able to just get up and have a Bitondos veal sandwhich in my hand and then in my mouth.
Steven / April 9, 2009 at 10:20 am
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OMG., My wife's familly lives a few blocks from there, As good as the pizza is, the Panz and veal's are better. I now got my sister going there too.
Stephen / April 11, 2009 at 07:53 pm
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Stopped by this afternoon after reading this review. Great pizza, great veal sandwich. $2.75 for a slice and $1.00 for a coke = $3.75 for a meal. Prices displayed are tax-in making this place a winner. If you're looking for anything other than pepperoni pizza, however, don't bother this place isn't Pizza Pizza.
Darcy K. / April 27, 2009 at 09:21 am
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Thanks to Stephen (previous comment) for saving me a trip, I only buy veggie slices or pies. Pepperoni pizza isn't even Italian.

The 3 top places on the BlogTO list all make crap pizza. Anyone who's been to New Haven (CT), Chicago or New York would cringe at what passes for pizza in TO. Does any place do thin crust, wood oven fired slices??
Yo-yo ma... no, wait; I mean yo ma-ma. replying to a comment from Darcy K. / April 28, 2009 at 04:43 pm
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Asshat.
Raphael / May 3, 2009 at 12:49 pm
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Darcy's got a point. As much as I like to grab a slice of Big Slice if I am passing by, it doesn't pass for authentic Italian pizza, and is simply not on par. However, for the price, these small pizza shops are a great bargain, and far better than the larger franchises.
JR replying to a comment from Darcy K. / May 8, 2009 at 09:15 pm
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I've been to New York every year 25 years and I hate the pizza in New York...They're all cheese pizza's and just throw toppings on top that fall off if the pizza even moves...When my cousins from NY come down we always go to Bitondo's for the Panzo's...Best in the city!!! If you're not from the neighbourhood you just wont underrstand the history.....So for all those who expect gourmet pizza, this is not ur place, this is place Just old school, pizza, sandwiches, panzo's etc...San fran's across the street ain't too bad either, and then the original california's veals is a few mins away!!!
Aydin replying to a comment from Darcy K. / November 3, 2014 at 10:00 am
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Anyone who's been to Naples thinks the pizza in New Haven, Chicago and New York is junk food piled on top of crap.

You can always find something comparatively better, Darcy. Especially if you're willing to book a flight over marginal differences in a slice of pizza.

Complaining for the sake of complaining - you even complained about the perfectly reasonable prices.
Bravo: the quintessential BlogTO comment!
Aydin replying to a comment from Darcy K. / November 3, 2014 at 10:16 am
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I also like how the three cities you mentioned as examples all seem to have one thing in common:
Pepperoni is a VERY popular topping. GASP! "Pepperoni Pizza isn't even Italian!!"

Funny, isn't it? In Toronto, pepperoni is clearly a deal-breaker for you. A sign of an inauthentic, mangiacake fabrication of an Italian dish. But in your precious New Haven, New York and Chicago, they seem to enjoy it quite a bit!

New Haven:
http://www.eater.com/2014/3/18/6264277/the-definitive-guide-to-new-haven-pizza

New York:
http://gothamist.com/2013/09/18/the_best_pizza_in_nyc.php

Chicago:
http://www.thrillist.com/eat/chicago/best-pizza-in-chicago

So, what's the deal?
To "Darcy" / November 3, 2014 at 11:14 am
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**sigh**
What is it with you low self-esteemed Torontonians? You really think the pizza in New York or Chicago is better? Chicago's is like a loaf of bread with pizza toppings. New York pizza is rarely good, let alone great. Honestly I have never been to a city where the inhabitants habitually assume everything else in all other cities is better than here.
I won't even bother getting into the fact that "pizza" is not the same in different parts of Italy, and it is not the same as pizza was in Italy in the 1940's. Things change, you know.
INB4 / November 3, 2014 at 01:02 pm
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INB4 "nyc pizza...italy pizza...chicago pizza"

Shut up - it tastes good. It's like saying your house is a shack unless you live in a 100 million dollar mansion in Hollywood Hills. There are degrees and categories. Pizza Hut tastes delicious. That's why there are 1000s of them.

Bitondo's = Legend Status. Panzo's haunt my dreams. Extra sauce FTW
Tim / November 3, 2014 at 01:20 pm
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I seriously hate all of you so much. Just shut the fuck up and enjoy your pizza.
Gerry / November 3, 2014 at 01:41 pm
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Lol
i like all your comments so much that I'm going therexfor lunch.
Gene Onegin / November 3, 2014 at 04:59 pm
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I think Darcy's long gone - those comments are from 4 1/2 years ago.
Marty / November 3, 2014 at 06:16 pm
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The original California Sandwiches are just around the corner.
M.C. / November 3, 2014 at 08:40 pm
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Ville St Laurent Pizzeria in Montreal...
Mikey / November 4, 2014 at 09:11 am
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It's good, it's cheap and you can bring your Bitondos into the Monarch Tavern across the street and enjoy it with their beer (just don't dare bring in a pop from outside or you will be shamed like the dumbass you are).
Elizabeth / November 4, 2014 at 10:12 am
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Gosh, I love this food. Love the slices, love the meatball sandwich, love the panzos, although I CANNOT imagine sticking one into a chicken sandwich - it would be massive! I wish they delivered. I'd eat it more often. But it is DELICIOUS. And not expensive.
VeryFineHat / November 4, 2014 at 02:43 pm
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This place still brings a smile to my face. It was down the street from my first apartment in the city and no matter where I live in the city, I manage to make the trek back a few times a year to pick up a panzo.

And as for arguing that it's not as good as Chicago or New York or Italy...who cares? We live here. Why not try and enjoy our own city and leave the comparisons over $3.00 slices of pizzas alone.
rocco / November 4, 2014 at 04:06 pm
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This place is very dirty, rather spend $10 more and get a fresh Italian pizza somewhere else.
mark / November 7, 2014 at 11:29 pm
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its actually pretty hit and miss. Sometimes great, sometimes so salty you won't be able to look at pizza again for months.
Ducklily / November 12, 2014 at 11:31 pm
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Who doesn't love an awesome cheesy/meaty deep-dish pizza? Or a smokey, cracker-thin pizza fresh from a wood-fired oven? Or that wonderful middle-ground that is slightly chewy, outrageously large, and best eaten folded in half? All pizza is beautiful! Except frozen. Frozen pizza is a crime against humanity.

Bitondo's pizza is pretty good! Certainly the best in an 6-8 block radius. And those veal sandwiches are crazy!

debbie / November 13, 2014 at 08:16 pm
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i remember going to bitondo's every friday night with my family, many many many yrs ago. pizzas were 25 cents!!!! pizza and a cold brio! YUM. those were the days my friend. thought they would never end:)

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