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Restaurants

Pizzeria Defina

Posted by Rebecca Fleming / Reviewed on August 15, 2011 / review policy

Pizzeria DefinaPizzeria Defina is Roncesvalles' answer to wood-fired pizza. After months of teasing, the paper on the windows is finally down and neighbourhood residents are flocking to their new pizza joint.

My friend and I went for lunch on a Saturday only to be turned away by the pizza-shaped sandwich board (or would that be a calzone board?) in the door which read "Open at 5". Disappointed but not defeated, we shuffled our plans around and vowed to return for dinner instead.

Pizzeria DefinaSeating is limited and there was a full house at 6, but we managed to grab a table up front. Considering ourselves lucky at first, we quickly realized why it was free, and also what it feels like to be an ant under a magnifying glass on a sunny day. Note to readers: try to get a seat in the back around the dinner hour to avoid the sun, which spends some quality time in Pizza Defina before setting in the West.

Pizzeria DefinaAlthough it isn't the only pizza place on Ronces, with Pizza Flora being down the street, it still has more to offer in terms of ambience. What is it about exposed brick and wood floors that make a place so cozy?

Pizzeria DefinaThe focus of the menu is, of course, on the pizza, but there are also appetizers to be had, and two pasta options. We started off with the chopped Caprese Salad ($11). With vine-ripened tomatos, silky smooth bufala mozzarella, and basil, it was drizzled with just the right amount of extra-virgin olive oil, without bathing in the stuff.

Pizzeria DefinaMeanwhile our very underage dining companion (who isn't a fan of pizza that doesn't come in an orange and white box) opted for the spaghetti in a simple tomato sauce ($12), garnished with parmesan cheese and a single basil leaf. For someone who normally asks for a count of required bites, he polished off the entire bowl (admittedly wearing some of it) and claimed it was "better than mom's" (who isn't Italian by the way, but it still has to count for something).

Now for the main event. Pizzas come served on either Neapolitan or Roma crust, and as I'm notorious for my inability to make a decision, we went with both. The Margherita on Roma ($12) and the Veggie on Neapolitan ($14).

Pizzeria DefinaThe Margherita, made with San Marzano tomatoes, fior de latte, parmigiano reggiano and the obligatory basil, was just enough weight-wise for the very thin, cracker-like Roma crust. For those who like a very crispy crust, the Roma is definitely the way to go.

The Veggie came piled with eggplant, asparagus, cherry tomatoes and basil and was served on a Neapolitan crust done just right - a little bit charred, and a little bit chewy. We definitely got our moneys worth in veggies, but I would have preferred them to be sliced and diced a bit more. It was kind of like having a salad on a pizza as opposed to toppings.

Pizzeria DefinaOddly enough I wasn't in the mood for wine (don't worry, I'm seeing a doctor about it...) but I did peruse the wine list which consists of some decent and affordable selections. Glasses range from $7 - $10 and the bottles start at $29. Not too shabby.

Pizzeria DefinaIn the end, I wouldn't say Pizza Defina is competition for the likes of Terroni and Libretto. Their selection isn't nearly as extensive as far as the pies go, and their sauce doesn't quite compare, but everything is a couple of dollars cheaper on average. It's still early however, and in the meantime it serves as a local option for Roncesvalles residents to grab a decent slice and a glass of vino.

Pizzeria Defina

Discussion

16 Comments

PrinceRonces / August 15, 2011 at 10:55 pm
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I just ate there, based on this review.
As a Roncesvalles resident, I am SO happy to have Libretto style pizza on the strip...
The meatball app was great, but the GREEN BEAN app-
WOW. with the truffle aioli, they tasted like sweet potato fries, I'm not kidding!
the pizza was great. Got the margherita, loved it.
Stu / August 16, 2011 at 08:50 am
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Great review, great photos - Looks like a place I gotta try. I always wish with these review though that there was one photo included of the store/restaurant front from the street. So I know what it looks like from the outside. I'm gonna go there this weekend.
waqas / August 17, 2011 at 04:18 pm
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chacu manu bhee bula loooo ,thadi marbhani
Agatha / August 21, 2011 at 08:27 am
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I went last night and thought it was fantastic. Perfect crust, great sauce. I have the Devailo with spicy salami while my party had the fritti, meatballs, arugula salad and fried chorizo dough. Everything was delicious.

The amount of children in the room might keep me from going back. Seems to a be a destination for new parents...
Alex / August 24, 2011 at 10:14 am
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Been there yesterday. Had a funghi pizza and a glass of pino. Cost me $28, pretty pricy but the food was great. Not as great as service.

There were only 3 waiters working for a crowd of about 45 people. One of them was rushing so fast, it almost seemed like I am in some kind of second sort diner. Menu was dirty and was just thrown in front of me up-side down. Waiter kept pushing my chair when rushing around my table. Come on guys, not in a place where is an average bill is $30 per person!

I would recommend this place for take-out, since you're not likely to get a level of service you'd expect. You probably will not get this "nice evening spent" restaurant experience.

I will give this place one more try and see what happens.
Alison replying to a comment from Alex / September 28, 2011 at 11:26 am
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Pizza was excellent.
The pizza maker is hot <3
Natalie / January 3, 2012 at 01:57 pm
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wrong phone number
Ellen / February 29, 2012 at 04:35 pm
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I've been there twice, nice tasting pizzas, but the crusts were way too burnt on the bottom both times. Also, ordered a pizza with some kind of meat and didn't realize till it arrived that it was raw beef... did not find that appealing. I wish they had more options with cooked meat toppings.

The desert we ordered was ridiculous! I was supposed to be apple funnel cake but what they gave us was nothing like that at all... it was PIZZA DOUGH with slices of apple and whipped cream! We complained to the waiter that having pizza dough in desert was taking the pizza theme way too far; hopefully they change that.
pedro / March 25, 2012 at 10:26 pm
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Best presentation of caesar salad I have ever seen, nice light dressing, sorry hosers no mayo on this one.
Friendly staff, decent pizza and surprisingly good fries for a pizza place.
Joanna Sable / May 25, 2012 at 07:55 pm
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Thanks so much for the great photos. I would have said thanks earlier but didn't know they were posted. Let me know if you are interested in a sampling of Bumpercrop.
Eat well,
Joanna
Roland / December 30, 2012 at 11:15 pm
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We're new to Toronto and stumbled onto this place while walking on Roncesvalle. Excellent pizza, excellent server. We ordered the salt board and Saltimbocca pizza which I highly recommend.

We'll be visiting again for sure.
Kathryn / January 23, 2013 at 12:47 pm
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I called on January 16th to make a reservation for six people. I called back today to confirm my reservation and was told that they don't take reservations.

When I explained that I had already made one the staff member who answered the phone wasn't as apologetic as I had hoped and refused to make an exception on this one occasion.

Isn't this a Seinfeld episode?

Hands down this is one of THE BEST restaurants on Roncesvalles. I would have to agree however, with a previous review, that the customer service has been frequently disappointing.
Sean / March 26, 2013 at 09:41 am
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Inspected on: March 20, 2013
Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional Pass)
Number of infractions: 5 (Minor: 2, Significant: 3)
Crucial infractions include: N/A
Dan Robb / March 26, 2013 at 05:31 pm
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Pretty good pizza. Terrible service. Witnessed the cooks touching their phones and then handling fresh ingredients - not too sanitary.

Really off-putting and distracting music... like Hey Man Nice Shot by Filter. Seems it was 90s grunge night both times I visited. And hey - that has a place, but it's not here.

Bottom line: this place is a great take-out option if you're a local like myself but that's basically it. If you want a great pizzeria experience I advise you to go elsewhere.
Kid Busted / April 26, 2013 at 04:11 pm
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I am coming here for my birthday on Saturday night! Can't wait!!
I have been before and it was such a great time.
JC replying to a comment from Kid Busted / April 26, 2013 at 04:14 pm
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STFU You rick.

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