The Best Pide in Toronto
The best pide is usually found in the homes of Turkish families but in recent years the canoe-shaped wonders have slowly surfaced in restaurants across Toronto. Pide (Turkish pizza pronounced pea-deh) is oblong, about the length of a laptop keyboard, and is made with thinner dough than pizza. Its edges are folded over, scooping the toppings into its centre. No tomato sauce is required. Instead, brilliant herbs and spices form its flavour along with a crust brushed with butter and egg before sinking off into the oven.
Varieties of pide are plentiful, with the most common toppings being feta or mozzarella cheese paired with spinach, chicken strips, ground beef, pastrami, cured sausage (sucuk), lamb, or eggs. Any of these ingredients can be combined, and for those not sure what to order there's always the mixed (karişik) pide where the dish is split into different quadrants.
Pide only comes in one size and isn't expensive. Prices generally range from $6.99 to $10.99 for an individual serving and always comes with onion, tomatoes, parsley, and lemon. To drink? You'd be crazy not to order a cup of Ayran (yogurt drink) or the fruity soda, Uludağ Gazoz, along with the meal.
Here are my picks for the best pide in Toronto.
Writing by Erin Pehlivan. Top photo by Justin on Flickr
Mustafa Ozkan, owner of Pizza Pide, comes from Konya (the Anatolian city known for its whirling dervishes) to open up the mother of all pide joints in 2003. Ever since, locals have lusted after the pide cooked in his ancient gas oven. Staffer Mahmut Mustafa relishes the positive remarks as food reviews pepper the salon quietly. As one customer was leaving, he said to Mahmut, "We're going to get to know each other very well." That is the power of Pizza Pide. More »
Mustafa, the original gangsta of Turkish pide, not only owns Pizza Pide but also has another restaurant on Wilson Avenue aptly named after himself. Known by the Turkish community to make the richest, cheesiest, most voluptuous pide known to mankind, Mustafa serves pide among other delights to guests sitting on long couches (sedirler) draped in traditional Turkish textiles. The walls here are carved like the caves of Cappadocia, with plants and the occasional evil eye (nazarlik) lining its rigid angles. More »
Tucked away in North York's identical concrete plazas, Sofra Istanbul seems easy to miss despite its generous size. Although Sofra could use a little decorating to reduce the endless amounts of beige, their Konya-style pide won't disappoint with its divinely rich dough and supreme mozzarella-to-beef ratio. Beware of Sofra's swinging glass doors; the place gets as hot as Istanbul in July with its ovens and doner machines running, but the trek (and the sweat) is worth it. More »
Dino's appears to be the only Turkish restaurant with a wood-burning oven in the GTA, which is a big deal if you want righteous pide. Dino's also serves stellar Italian-style pizzas which are great for delivery. The tiny Etobicoke hangout heats up as Dino Ari kindles his precious fire to create the perfect, firm, chewy pizza with just enough crunch and flexibility. This place doesn't disappoint with its friendly service and passion for quality. More »
You'd never expect to see Turkish people hanging out at Bloor and Ossington. But Pidza, the tangerine-painted restaurant barely a year old, is gaining some steam. The owners have lived in Canada for the past 23 years and already they're known for their Adana-style lahmacun, a cuffless, flat bread spread with spicy beef, red pepper paste, onions, garlic and herbs. More »
In its three years of existence, Mr. Pide has drawn the Danforth crowd to its thin-crusted pide. Recommended here is mevlana, a sacred pide believed to be named after the Sufi mystic Rumi, with ground beef, vegetables, spices and feta cheese. Overall good service and colourful walls make this place a real winner safe for newbies, not to mention, they have customary Turkish lemon hand sanitizer at the front (limon kolonya). The only qualm is that the menu uses Papyrus typeface. More »
Turkish Kitchen is a newfangled spot near Kipling Station. Largely a fast food and takeout joint, the restaurant makes surprisingly delicious pide. While you wait for your meal, you can watch their TV which seems to only play Turkish soap operas. As the characters conquer your attention one by one, you'll be too busy being sucked into the drama before you can really appreciate the aroma of pide. Believe me, you won't want to leave. It's the best of both worlds. More »
Zeitoun feels like a swank restaurant with its ambiance, its lighting, and the hidden kitchen in the back. If you're concerned about the cracked ceiling caving in, you can always dart to the patio, an unmistakably excellent feature. Sandwiched between Burak market and an olive store, Zeitoun holds eight tables and even serves the fermented drink boza in winter. I recommend the chicken and cheese pide for its excellent flavour and tenderness, though the portions are comparatively smaller and lighter. More »