Defina Woodfired is another outpost of Italian restaurant Pizzeria Defina, serving the same handmade wood fired pizzas.
As their name suggest, pizza fired in a wood-burning oven is the specialty here, but their open kitchen also puts out flame-grilled seafood and meats.
A corner spot with floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides, elegant decor and a huge amount of space set this pizza place apart from the rest.
Pizza crusts come in four different styles here, Napoletana, Roma, Kamut or gluten-free. Napoletana is thinner and foldable whereas Roma pizzas are stiffer with thicker, chewier crusts. Kamut is an ancient grain that packs more protein into the crust than regular flour.
A Napoletana crust provides a bit of a flimsy foundation for the heavy toppings on a rapini sausage pizza ($17), but the pork shoulder sausage is delectable as well as fluffy straciatella, set off by savoury rapini, caramelized shallots and a gremolata.
Veggie sides are $10, tart and sweet citrus roasted beets finished in the same oven as the pizza, mingling with smokey kale on a bed of creamy, cooling goat yogurt set off by fennel pollen and burnt orange.
Bread for a burnt tomato caprese ($15) is also cooked in the wood-burning oven. Much more complex than your usual caprese, this warm version also has bufala, garlic confit, fresh basil, aged balsamic, and mint, pistachios and grapes that lend surprising variations in texture and flavour.
Portuguese grilled sardines ($13) are a standout, smokey, salty and tender. Served whole on a bed of zesty muhammara, they’re accompanied by a woody parsley farro and topped with charmoula and a scatter of juicy pomegranate seeds.
Grilled Spanish octopus and calamari ($17) are served on top of cherry tomatoes and Tuscan kale, which provides a soft vegetal backdrop for the bold flavours and firm textures of the seafood, all lifted by toasted chili oil.
La Cabrera ($19) is a skirt steak served with three herby, zingy sauces: chimichurri, honey gremolata and salsa criolla. They’re thin yet chunky and pack an acidic punch that goes well with the rich steak.
Two-ounce cocktails are $10 across the board with cocktail specials Thursday nights, and take on seasonal themes: this time around it’s eighties action stars.
The John McClane is a potent combination of bourbon, honey simple syrup, orange bitters and lemon and torched thyme that’s as in-your-face as the character this drink is named for.
The Mason Storm is a take on a mojito that mixes white and dark rum, mint and burnt orange with the quirky additions of black currant jam and bubbles.
There are other specials pretty much every day of the week, like a slice of their humungous pan style Roma pizza and an imported pint for $10.