I've mentioned Terroni in other reviews on the site, but when it comes to doing a review of this authentic Italian eatery itself, I've never managed to get any co-diners to hold back long enough for photos. Most everything on this menu is so delicious that everyone just wants to sink their teeth in.
This time though, I've convinced a few friends to give me a second for a picture, only to have the waiter inform me that they prefer people not take photos of the food. I'm annoyed, but decide to get this listing up without more photos -- the food is worth it.
We arrive at the Queen West location and for the first time in all my visits, we are seated right away. It seems we arrived in a rare window of time where there is no line-up. We order some drinks and look over the menu. It's a long famished while before anyone returns to take our order, but on the bright side, at least we're not standing outside.
Fresh bread with olive oil are presented first as we await appetizers and pizzas.
Our Quartet of Appetizers includes mini eggplant parmigian, saffron rice crocchette (alla Milanese), deep fried ciabiatta bites filled with buffalo mozzarella and anchovy and grilled bufala wrapped in speck and radicchio.
For $16, everyone at the table got the chance to try a couple unique appetizers, all of which were rich in strong traditional italian flavours. Even the ciabatta-mozzerella wraps were balanced so nicely with subtle anchovy that the latter didn't overtake things. I normally wouldn't touch anything an anchovy touched, but enjoyed these a great deal!
On to the pizzas...
Pizza Marinara, the simplest of offerings - tomato sauce and basil - is light as air, crispy and savoury. Most pizzerias don't offer this cheese-less pizza because their sauce can't truly hold it's own. Here, the sauce is proudly presented as the feature item.
Terroni's Quattro Stagioni (four seasons) pizza is also incredible. Rivalled perhaps only by the version at The Big Ragu (1338 Lansdowne), it arrives steaming and casually topped with prosciutto, olives, mushrooms and grilled vegetables.
The true test of a fresh pizza (handed down by mamma dearest) is that the cheese should be piping hot and hard to handle. If it goes to slide off the slice or burns your finger, it's going to be good eatin'. If it sits nice and behaves, you know you've got a pre-made, loveless pie.
Terroni's passes that test with flying colours as we are using our cutlery plus hands to handle the Quattro Staggioni.
With a friend celebrating her birthday this week, we insisted she order up one of Terroni's rich homemade desserts to celebrate. Spotting a Souffle di Nutella on the specials menu, she decides that Nutella trumps everything tonight. We order it up and the waiter returns with extra spoons (4 total), assuming we might to share.
Perhaps he'd never seen this dessert 'cause when he returned 10 minutes later, he was carrying a dish with an espresso cup containing the souffle. It probably contained 1.5 tablespoons of warm baked Nutella, at most. Tasty, but for $7, it was a little ridiculous.
Instead of ordering something else to fill in the gap, we enjoy our cappuccinos and reminisce of the delectable Nutella layer cake at The Big Ragu. That's one that even Terroni just can't beat.
Storefront photo by Tim Shore.