Pizza e Pazzi
Pizza e Pazzi recently opened near the corner of St. Clair and Dufferin. Being one of the few pizzerias in the city that can claim certification from the Associazone Verace Pizza Napoletana, Pizza e Pazzi purports a truly authentic Neapolitan pizza. Most ingredients are D.O.P. (Denominazione d' Origine Protetta) certified. Even truly more authentic is the lone Nonna in back prepping for the evening's dinner rush. Utilizing wild yeasts and adhering to strict cooking guidelines set forth by the association, Pizza e Pazzi doesn't offer pineapple as a topping and doesn't take any shortcuts here.
The Neapolitan hand crafted oven serves as the focal point to the open kitchen and the menu in general. The restaurant boasts the standard fare of pastas and salads but we were implored to try their pies. We decided on their weekly three course prix-fixe lunch special for twenty dollars.
Our friendly waiter brought a hunk of Calabrese Bread with three antipasto samples of olives, marinated mushrooms and a house specialty he called "la bomba", a garlicky risotto like spread. Crusty and dense, the Calabrese soaked up our EVOO and floured our judgment for the pizzas to come.
For an appetizer, we skirted the house green salad and went straight for the fried risotto balls with bruschetta. Upon cracking open its crust, the cheesy risotto oozed out and was immediately devoured.
Our pizzas came straight to our table from the oven with steaming blistering crusts. I went for the Pizza Napoletana ($14.75 regularly) with anchovies and olives. The anchovies melted with the San Marziano tomatoes adding a hint of taste of the sea. The Pizza Diavola ($14 regularly) had just enough of a kick from the spicy salami without being overwhelming. Both were topped with fresh mozzarella di buffala which warranted the average fifteen dollar price per individual pizza. You pay a premium for high quality ingredients.
But, really, the stand out for this afternoon supper was why we came here in the first place - the crust. One of the best I've had since Libretto or even Terroni. Chewy and freckled by the wood oven, it's amazing what simple yeast, flour and water can create when done properly. A win.
We rounded out the meal with strawberry canolis. Not a knock out but soild just the same.
In the evenings, there's an apertivo special from 5-7pm offering a free appetizer with the purchase of a drink. If you're looking for a great pizza on or around St. Clair, Pizza e Pazzi is a definite go-to. Just don't expect the Hawaiian pizza.
Photos by Peter Henderson.