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Restaurants

Pizza e Pazzi

Posted by Ryan Spencer / Reviewed on August 3, 2011 / review policy

Pizza e PazziPizza 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.

Pizza e PazziOur 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.

Pizza e PazziFor 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.

Pizza e PazziOur 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.

Pizza e PazziBut, 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.

Pizza e PazziWe 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.

Pizza e PazziPhotos by Peter Henderson.

Discussion

37 Comments

hmmm / August 3, 2011 at 09:57 am
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I love pie.
Marisa / August 3, 2011 at 11:49 am
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Yes! I grew up with my own Nonna at St Clair and Dufferin ...
Now, THAT's Italian!
but most importantly Napolitano!
Sophia Loren, pizza and viva la Scioscieria!
BillyO / August 3, 2011 at 12:34 pm
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I've been here twice and it's quite good. I'm not sure if it's better than Libretto (which I think is #1 for Neapolitan), I give them a slight edge over all, but it is definitely better than QMP in Leslieville and would highly recommend neapolitan pizza lovers to check this place out. One benefit is the place isn't perpetually packed (yet) like the other two, so getting a table is a bit easier (for the time being).

Also love the fact that it's on St Clair - I feel this strp is under the radar compared to the usual suspects (Dundas, Ossington, Queen East/West) in terms of being 'in' right now, good to see a place like this spreading out to other parts of town, makes the city that much more enjoyable.
Angie / August 3, 2011 at 12:40 pm
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Looks good. I live in the area and will definately try this place.
K D / August 3, 2011 at 06:28 pm
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Tasty food? Definitely. But did anyone else find the prices are pretty high for what you get...?
The pizzas are small and the toppings are sparse. It's easy to finish an entire pizza + an appetizer to yourself and still be hungry. It's hard to enjoy a snack-sized pizza with 3 paltry strips of prosciutto & 2 basil leaves when it costs $20.
Better value at Marcello's about a block away.
Guido replying to a comment from K D / August 5, 2011 at 12:10 pm
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Ricks like yourself do not deserve to eat pizza of this quality. Stick to judging chili festivals pal.
Sandra / August 5, 2011 at 12:59 pm
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Going tonight for the first time...if there is a wait like libretto im instantly out and going to the mc'dicks down the street. Which brings me to my next point, although libretto and qmp are on par with each other quality wise (i've been to both at least half dozen times now), nothing grinds my gears or chaps my ass like not accepting reservations. Qmp gets points for this, Libretto, get your shit together, this has nothing to do with equality and fairness to the general public. Even the most sought after and authentic places in Napoli and NYC take resos..
Guido, your comment makes no sense, no one is ripping on this place. Go back to Woodbridge you hobbit.
Wish me luck!!
Jermaine / August 5, 2011 at 04:13 pm
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What's wrong with chili festivals?
me / August 5, 2011 at 09:44 pm
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tried it because of the comparison to Libretto (my fav.)
pizza was OK, but definitely not Libretto quality or flavor

Libretto's still number one for me in T.O
Corey replying to a comment from Sandra / August 6, 2011 at 12:33 am
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No Sandra, Guido is 100% right. If you're going to complain about the magnificent style of Neapolitan pizza, you're going to have to GTFO. So K D, GTFO.
Alfred / August 6, 2011 at 01:16 pm
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There is nothing to compaire with the two others pizzerias in Town....what I can say is that at pizza e pazzi all the staff are Italians and you really get the feeling to be in Italy....the place it1s really noisy but we like it.The quality of the food is really high and if at Marcello`s you pay less there is a reason.....I `ve been at Marcello`s since 2001 becouse was the only option in the area......when you walk in the restaurant you will only see Italians and Canadians that looking for the top of the quality so they don`t care to pay a little extra.
I will go back there.
B / August 8, 2011 at 08:45 am
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Our waiter had never heard of a negroni, but other than that initial hick-up, my fiancee and I had a wonderful meal. At the suggestion of BlogTo, I ordered the Napoletana and am eagerly awaiting the leftovers in my lunch today. We skipped having dessert at the restaurant in favour of gelato at La Paloma down the block, but the tiramisu parfaits being scarffed down at the table next to ours looked absolutely delicious.

I'm happy to have Pizza e Pazzi in the neighbourhood. Hopefully between the Stockyards and this new restaurant, more decent eateries will start to fill in along St. Clair Avenue West.
William Ashman / August 10, 2011 at 11:14 pm
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I been to Pizza e Pazzi twice in the last three days. I am really impressed with the service, the atmosphere and most importantly the food. The Carbonara is beautiful, the Quattro Staggioni pizza is exceptional and I highly recommend the Calamari if you really want to know what real Nonna-style calamari tastes like. I grew up in an Italian family and this Calamari brought me back - way back.

A big plus is I can always find parking and I really like their Aperitivo event that happens daily - basically you buy a drink from 5-7pm and have the opportunity to munch on gorgeous Italian appetizers - cured meats, stinky cheese and pies. Who is not going!
Guido replying to a comment from B / August 12, 2011 at 02:42 pm
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Does your fiancee mind that you don't know how to spell "hiccup"?
B replying to a comment from Guido / August 15, 2011 at 12:35 pm
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Nope. I have a pretty face.
Sami / November 14, 2011 at 08:57 pm
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BE WARNED!!!

HUGE STAFF TURNOVER-KITCHEN/FLOOR/ADMINISTRATIVE-
Owners(on site) are verbally abusive to staff in both Italian AND English -* will loudly discuss/demean/insult employees abilities and work ethic with other staff AND customers,often within earshot of the employee being discussed.
Management is NON-EXISTENT- Both the owner and the 'manager' are incapable of calmly, professionally and EFFECTIVELY handling large groups or rushes* lack of effective floor management -timing, seating, crowd control results in an utterly chaotic work environment:( although MICROMANAGEMENT napkin folding meetings?-as in HOW TO FOLD-GLASS HOLDING TECHNIQUES, JANITORIAL INSTRUCTIONS, etc in on a WHOLE NEW LEVEL
The 'manager' will take the majority of the tables -and tips- but be incapable of serving them PROFESSIONALLY as he is 'in the weeds"- at which point he-and the owner will blame ANYONE AND EVERYONE ELSE for his incompetence
Scheduling HELL- *schedule often not completed until mid week OF THE WEEK EMPLOYEES ARE CURRENTLY WORKING* no notice of schedule changes
Loud, verbally abusive arguments between owners-married- *IN FRONT OF CUSTOMERS AND STAFF DURING BUSINESS HOURS -adversely affecting the working/dining environment
THERE IS A REASON THE STAFF TURNOVER HERE IS SO HIGH-
SO MANY LABOUR AND TAX LAWS ARE ABUSED HERE THIS PLACE SHOULD HAVE BEEN SHUT DOWN MONTHS AGO

Pizza e Pazzi========Pizza and Crazy People===THE NAME SAYS IT ALL!!
steve / December 22, 2011 at 08:28 pm
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I prefer Bitondo's.. to hell with gourmet pizza and the attitude that goes along with it. Service sucked. 100.00 for dinner for four with wine.. unbelievable.
Laura / February 1, 2012 at 02:36 pm
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I ordered the friend risotto balls, after making sure they didn't contain meat, as I'm vegetarian and when I received and cut into the appetizer, it had about 10 clumpbs of ground beef stuck into the breading and in the rice. Not customary at all for risotto balls.
Also they seem to be confused about half priced appetizers and "buffet appetizers for $10".
My friend said the calamari was really overly salty.
When we complained to our wait (the owner), he didn't seem to care nor to rectify the situation. Although some of the other food was good, I won't go back there.
Justin / February 10, 2012 at 08:27 pm
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Thanks for ruining my date night. After waiting an hour for my entree we decided to leave. We were seen once in that hour by anyone to spite the fact that the owner was literally standing behind us blithering on about BS to a table that had been seated after us and was finished their meal 20 minutes before we got up to leave. When we told our server to keep the entree and give us our bill, he didn't so much as turn 180 degrees to inform the owner of the problem or comp us on our appetizer or bottle of wine. Oh, and the fruit flies that were swarming our table were an added touch we could have done without. I wouldn't waste your time here folks. This is a classic example of a restaurant that got too big for it's britches too soon and has clearly forgotten what's important in making dinner out anything other than a complete waste of time.
Julian / February 11, 2012 at 09:05 am
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It's impressive that so many people complain about the service when We found it to be attentive and warm. I went for dinner with my fiancée last night and the Valentines Day special was more than we could contain and that too, for such an affordable price. Two five course meals and a bottle of chianti cost us less than $150 and the owners brought us complimentary specialty coffees. It was quite the pleasurable experience. I can't wait to try out their appetitivo on Monday. The food was fine dining quality in a casual atmosphere. Worth every dollar and more.
simona / February 11, 2012 at 12:16 pm
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5 star restaurant.Really affordable prices considering the quality of the food.pizza e pazzi had te VPN certification and I think only Libretto has the same.certification here in ca. pizza e pazzi has also a full restaurant menu.All pasta are home made and the Secondi specials amazing.I raccomend this restaurant to every pizza e pastas lovers.

dsvfsdvsdv replying to a comment from Sami / February 13, 2012 at 12:10 am
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Sami, are you a disgruntled employee by any chance?
Junction Triangle Resident / February 13, 2012 at 05:40 pm
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Starting from a loft-y aesthetic and bare Edison bulbs (must every hip place sport Edison bulbs these days?), this is not your regular pizza joint. It's Vera Pizza Napoletana certified and it shows. The pies have thin blistered crust, and use the freshest local mozzarella di bufala (dop), San Marzano tomato sauce, fresh basil and special flour. They are unbelievably flavourful. More expensive than Pizza Pizza or non-chain neighbourhood pizza joints, yes. But more than a cut above and well worth it, IMO. Freshly baked bread that comes as an appetizer with three antipasti sample is great too. The one pasta I tried was OK but pizza is really what this is all about. Nice if slightly limited choice of vine. Service was invariably prompt and friendly. I did not go on crazy busy nights, but the place has been reasonably full most times. I vote this best pizza in Toronto.
Junction Triangle Resident replying to a comment from Julian / February 13, 2012 at 05:42 pm
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A few people who may have had a legitimate problem with the service are much more likely to go online and vent. We usually do not hear from hundreds of happy customers.
Black Jack / February 15, 2012 at 01:08 pm
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I'm with JTR on decor, quality of food, and service. I was there last Monday, and my server couldn't do enough for me. He recommended a newer Chianti that was top drawer, and the bread basket with assorted condiments, for me, is always a welcomed extra. The only contender for Nap. pizza I haven't tried is F'Amelia in Cabbagetown, and so far, I haven't succeeded in driving past this place to try theirs. Lib & Terr are too chaotic and I think the best is here.
Ashley / February 24, 2012 at 05:23 pm
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OMG!!! I just heard they are opening a second location, 672 St Clair Ave W. I have been to the first location tons of times and I love the desserts, I have a big sweet tooth.. yummy!! The server are amazing and suggest the perfect wine to go with my meal every time. I love there lighting its very different and it is a big change from your standard dine-in. My favorite thing about Pizza e Pazzi would have to be atmosphere.. Love it!! Going again this weekend to see if I can book in advance for the new location...
james / March 2, 2012 at 01:33 pm
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Just ate there last night it was sooooo good.. they were pretty busy.. I ate a salad with tuna and a pasta with salmon... and a great latte with some brandy.. so good... I suggested going there to a couple friends they made a reservation for tonight.. good times and great laughs.. staff was very friendly
drew / April 16, 2012 at 06:41 pm
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It was a great place that caught our eye and now we are hooked
Ang / April 17, 2012 at 10:05 am
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The staff were great. But the Manager/Owner was incredibly rude. We had 9 people and spent $350.00. The pizza was black on the bottom and wet and watery. As already mentioned above the price for the pizza was ridiculous considering the 3 pieces of sauteed vegetables I got on the vegetaranio pizza. When I spoke to the Manager/Owner about the sparse toppings on all 9 pizzas his ignorant response was "That's how we do it here", we only use the finest ingredients" What do you want 3 pizzas for the table" We paid our bill and left. And will never be back. Since all 9 of us are of Italian descent and travel to Italy regularly, if he dared serve or run a restaurant like this in Italy he wouldn't survive a month. And now a second location.........there are too many other choices along St. Clair to go back there.
Amanda / May 29, 2012 at 03:32 pm
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Just went there last night and I must say I give great thanks to the chef.... my husband loved his pizza which was a true definition of authentic... I had pasta with tomatoes which I found mouth watering.. and to add a kick of spice I used there Spicy Oil which I kinda want to take some home with me.. Wanting for our next date night to visit again
suzie / July 3, 2012 at 06:06 pm
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I love that they have free appetizers with the purchase of a drink and I also heard that they are going to be having some crazy deal when summerlicious starts..
I love the food the service is great and pazzi is a sure thing
NIKKI / July 6, 2012 at 07:18 pm
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FANTASTIC PLACE! I HAVE RELATIVES FROM NAPLES AND THEY WERE VERY IMPRESSED WITH THE QUALITY OF THE FOOD. VERY FRESH. VERY HIGH QUALITY. VERY GOOD INDEED. I LOVED EVERYTHING ABOUT THE PLACE. GREAT FOOD, FANTASTIC ATTENTION TO DETAIL, AND WHAT I WAS ALSO VERY IMPRESSED ABOUT IS THE CUSTOMER SERVICE. EACH AND EVERY PERSON IN THERE WAS VERY ATTENTIVE, OUR WAITER AND THE OWNER STOPPED BY OUR TABLE AT LEAST 6 OR 7 TIMES WHILE WE WERE THERE TO FIND OUT IF WE NEEDED ANYTHING, IF ALL WAS GOOD, ETC. TALKED TO US ABOUT WHERE THEY ORIGINALLY CAME FROM IN ITALY AND MADE THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE QUITE DELIGHTFUL. I HAVE BEEN THERE TWICE IN THE SAME WEEK, AND I PLAN ON GOING AT LEAST ONCE EVERY WEEK FROM NOW ON. ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL PLACE.

THANKS! (AND YOU'RE NOT FAR FROM WHERE I LIVE - BIG BONUS!)

CHEERS!
Ben / July 21, 2012 at 06:54 pm
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The Toronto life review states that the gnocci is brought in, but on the menu it says it is home-made. Which is it?
Ben / July 21, 2012 at 09:03 pm
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Decided to go for dinner because of the positive Toronto Life review. Boy did they get it wrong. I had the antipasto and Pizza 'nduja. My companion had the seafood scialatielli. We waited for almost 20 minutes for the antipasto to arrive which is unacceptable for a dish that needs no cooking. It finally came, and was just a pile of meat and cheese, with no accompanying olives or marinated vegetable to cut the oiliness of the meats. Then, before we finished the antipasto, the server brought my companions scialatielli. Two of the clams were closed, and when my companion asked for more mussels instead, the server merely said it was supposed to be that way, and brought it to the kitchen to pry them open. The pasta was also undercooked (not just al dente) and the server said that's how they do it. He didn't offer any consolations. Then my pizza arrived. It was mostly a mound of doughy crust, too-acidic sauce, and gloupy cheese. There was hardly any 'nduja (which the sever even pronounced wrong) and it was soggy. The only redeeming factor was a different server who offered us desert and coffee on him, which we politely declined. Toronto Life stated that the pizza was on par with Libretto or Queen Margherita, but it was even close. The menu was typical Italian fare, nothing special. Too bad, it would have been nice to have a place like Libretto or QM so close to my home.
stephanie / January 22, 2014 at 08:24 pm
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i love pizza e pazzi, the food is so delicious, the pizza is so hot and fresh right out of the oven. i enjoyed my visit and plan to go there many more times
Abril Liberatori replying to a comment from Marisa / August 20, 2014 at 10:43 am
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Hi Marisa,
My name is Abril Liberatori, I'm a researcher working on a history of Italians from the Campania in Toronto. I loved your comment about growing up around this area! I'm wondering if you would be interested in chatting with me about it? You can check out my site for more details, or reach me anytime by phone or email. Hope to hear from you soon!
erica / September 11, 2014 at 06:26 pm
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Went here on an extremely busy day (it was Salsa on St.Clair) and we were served promptly regardless. The waiter was nice and the food was awesome!!! Definitely recommend!

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