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Restaurants

Picea 997

Posted by Derek Flack / Listed on September 26, 2012 / review policy

Picea 997Picea 997 has been a long time coming — and residents of what's sometimes referred to as Dovercourt Village couldn't be happier to have a little bit of new life in their neighbourhood. Originally set to be called Ivy's, the restaurant occupies an old bank at the corner of Dupont and Dovercourt, a corner that surely was in need of a little bit of activity.

Signage promising authentic Neapolitan Pizza popped up in the spring, and the restaurant finally opened in early summer. Does Toronto really need another pizza joint like this? Perhaps not so much, but as someone who lives in the neighbourhood, I can tell you that Dovercourt Village couldn't be happier. While the food has shown inconsistencies over the five or so times I've eaten it (dine in and take-out), on the whole, it's well-prepared and reasonably priced. And, yes, the pizza is very good.

Picea 997Although the sauce that accompanies Emily Maggio's meatball ($8) has changed more than once since I started ordering it — ranging from a brighter red and less stewed liquid to something darker and chunkier — each iteration has revealed a garlicky and tender meatball that serves as a perfect warm up for the pizza to come. It's rather comforting dish (and is quite filling) despite the small bowl in which it's served.

Picea 997Salads have been hit and miss for me here. On multiple occasions the Baby Arugla offering ($8) has been just far too acidic, the peppery characteristics of the arugula drowned in an overpowering lemon dressing that could use more olive oil to tone it down. That's a bit of a shame given how lovely the Parmigiano-Reggiano is.

Picea 997The Caesar Salad ($9), on the other hand, is a nice departure from the creamy mess that is sometimes pawned off as this dish. Here the dressing is nice and light, with only a subtle hint of the garlic that you might expect (this is a good thing if you've also ordered the meatball — it could be an overload otherwise). We also tack on an order of roasted olives ($7), which are comptent but boring (try the citrusy ones at Pizzeria Libretto for something a little more interesting).

If other dishes have exposed a young kitchen in search of consistency, the pizza has been solid (and mostly unchanged) from day one. Given that this will likely be the restaurant's calling card, that's a good thing. This is a slightly doughier version of a Neapolitan pie than I've had elsewhere (Libretto, Queen Margherita, and even Pizza e Pazzi). Not a bad thing, I find that these pizzas are particularly resilient during takeout trips.

I'm a sucker for the classics, so I've ordered mostly the Margherita ($11, lead photo), which has yet to disappoint. While I find that the Fior di Latte is less creamy than at Libretto (again, my chief base of comparison for Neapolitan pizza in Toronto), that's not to say it's not close. In fact, given the more robust crust, I could see some folks taking this over Libretto's offerings.

Picea 997The one other pizza that I've ordered is the Ferdinand ($16), which comes with a host of vegetables, including brocollini, roasted cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, and caramelized garlic. The rest of the table is an immediate fan of this pizza, but it just doesn't taste "roasted" enough for me — with the exception of the tomatoes, the vegetables are too turgid and lack the garlic the description promises. That said, it's not as if I didn't enjoy it. I'm just looking for greater attention to detail here.

Picea 997Picea 997 has recently introduced a series of main plates to their menu. The Lasagna, Pork Ragu and Chicken Scarpiello all sound promising. And given that the food has mostly impressed so far, I look forward to trying it out.

A final note. Now that you have main plates, it's time to beef up the wine list. Two bottles to choose from ain't going to cut it if I'm coming in for Sunday dinner.

Picea 997Photos by the author

Discussion

18 Comments

Dalma / September 26, 2012 at 01:18 pm
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"Does Toronto really need another pizza joint like this?"

Yes.

Toronto will need pizza joints like this until they have replaced all the Pizza Pizzas in every neighborhood.
Kevin replying to a comment from Dalma / September 26, 2012 at 01:28 pm
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Agreed! Every neighbourhood should have one of these.
BillyO / September 26, 2012 at 01:34 pm
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Hey yeah this type of pizza is here to stay and I'm looking forward to trying this out, and the other new on Eglinton, Dopio, in the near future
Pizza Fanatic / September 26, 2012 at 01:59 pm
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What a coincidence. I live a few blocks away and after my neighbours recommended it several times, I tried it last night.

I had to walk the 5 or so minutes, probably 10min until consumption, home and I'm not sure if it was that or it's just their style but I found the pizza dough quite chewy and doughy. For thin crust pizza, I would have preferred a bit more of a crunch.

I had the margharita, I wasn't blown away but the flavours were good and given the location, I'm likely to return.
AmH / September 26, 2012 at 02:17 pm
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Having tried the pie at another Neapolitan pizza twice (Famosa on Bloor), I'm not a fan of this "Neapolitan style" mini craze. The flavours are good but if you don't eat the pizza right out of the oven, like within seconds, the toppings and dough turn into a gooey unappetizing mess. And, if you get it to take-out, forget about it...even worse. Not worth it.
yt / September 26, 2012 at 04:48 pm
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more burnt, soggy crusts. i guess some people like that. to me, it's the emperor's new clothes...but hey - 'to each their own' as they say.
hoc / September 26, 2012 at 05:30 pm
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the place looks great!

also... turgid = excellent word choice!
Jed / September 26, 2012 at 05:41 pm
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Most restaraunt reviews fail to define a key perfomance indicator: consistency! This one however involves multiple trips to the same place. Which is an interesting and (at least to me) unique approach. Good review and hope to see more!
Frank / September 26, 2012 at 05:42 pm
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Torontosavonarota biggest ethnic background is Italian and us Italians want real pizza, so we'll gladly support all Neapolitan style pizza
dovercourtvillager / September 26, 2012 at 07:45 pm
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The pizza is tasty, but lacking finesse or something. My least favorite thing about the place, however, is the decor. It is pretty abysmal for such a neat space. They seriously need to lose the paper signage in the windows.
Don't Eat Cheap / September 27, 2012 at 12:24 am
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I only eat in neat spaces with really expensive, attractive signs. I'd rather not eat than eat from a menu with anything less than $20 on it.
Hey Man...You're right. replying to a comment from yt / September 27, 2012 at 04:47 am
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"more burnt, soggy crusts. i guess some people like that. to me, it's the emperor's new clothes..."

I couldn't have said it better myself! If Pizza Pizza-style pizza were the authentic pizza from Naples and the burnt, thin, soggy pizzas from these ostensibly Neapolitan places were the newcomers, everyone would be deriding these new pies in favour of the old ones. The Pizza Pizza-style pizzas would all of a sudden become "wholesome, honest food" that "doesn't skimp on the cheese because it adds flavour that the fire oven pizzas sorely lack." Yada yada yada.
from bartlett ave north / September 27, 2012 at 08:58 am
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I'm a resident of this area (live off Davenport) and can attest the pizza is hitting the bullseye (beats the hell out of pizza-pazzi) on taste and price. Thanks to the owners for investing and taking a risk in our yet-to-be-established resto scene. I dig.
Moi / September 27, 2012 at 11:16 am
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YUMMMMMMMMMMMMM!
Marcus / September 27, 2012 at 08:56 pm
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The pizza joint I was mentioning today...
dan replying to a comment from Dalma / April 10, 2013 at 02:47 pm
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YES!! a good one and get rid of the crap ones!!
Stephen / May 9, 2013 at 04:51 pm
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I have eaten some of the best pizza's, over time in the Trastevere area of Rome,which is a Roman style pizza(thin and very crisp). I've eaten at Queen Margherita(which is a Neopolitan style pizza).
Picea 997 is an authentic Neopolitan style pizza,which means it will have a soft and chewy texture. If you grew up eating Pizza Pizza type pizza's and that's what you're used to, then(I guess)you will either be in for a surprise and if you don't know any better you will leave disgusted !
greek theatre for kids / May 23, 2013 at 07:07 pm
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Outstanding post but I was wanting to know if you could
write a litte more on this topic? I'd be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Appreciate it!

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