Ciao Roma brings Roman style Pizza al Taglio (by the cut) to Woodbridge. Owner Rob Federici has been in business for almost four years now, specializing in this less common style of pizza, which is characterized by a long, stretched dough that is baked into sheet pans then cut to order and sold by weight.
The walk-up counter is main attraction and while there are handful of seats, most of the floor space is left empty so that the steady stream of customers can crowd around the display case. The decor is sparse, but there's a wall made to look like some Roman ruins dividing the kitchen from the retail space - its just enough to evoke a sense of place.
The menu posted to the wall goes largely ignored as most patrons just point to whatever they're after. The printed menu is best reserved for call-ahead orders for full pizzas, but the real joy at this place comes from walking in and discovering what's not listed. The roster changes frequently to cycle through about 30 different combinations.
I like Roman pizza for the opportunity it presents to try mini-slices of multiple styles in one sitting. Today's selection doesn't disappoint. There's the Rustic with rapini, sausage, mozzarella, garlic and red pepper flakes; another one is topped with mixed mushrooms, bocconcini, garlic and truffle oil.
The dough yields light, medium-thin and focaccia-like crust, that's sturdy and a little crunch but not puffy and yeasty like I expect. The crust kind of disappears under the blanket of toppings - it serves mostly as the vessel to get combinations of toppings, cheese and sauce into my mouth.
Arancini balls change flavours daily, too, and can be added on to any order for $2.21 each. Today the flavour is mushrooms and peas, though the kitchen will customize advance orders (that's days in advance) with any flavour specified.
Specialty pizzas (not on display), like the self-explanatory carbonara or eggplant parmigiana pique my interest too, but they're made to order and can take up to an hour to cook. They'll be better saved for another visit when I can call ahead or for delivery if ever I find myself in the large zone that include Woodbridge, Kleinburg and Maple.
Photos by Jesse Milns