Pizzeria Oro di Napoli
Pizzeria Oro di Napoli is Etobicoke's destination for Neapolitan pizza. Located on Lake Shore Boulevard West, this scenic area is surprisingly in need of a good, slightly fancier italian place to fill out the strip of restaurants it's a part of, including FBI Pizza and and LaVinia .
The name means, somewhat obviously, "Gold of Naples," but more interestingly is also the name of an old Italian black-and-white movie.
The interior is warm and exudes a quiet level of modern class with red walls, exposed brick and offbeat chandeliers. The star of the show is the wood-burning oven, tiled with the words "Oro di Napoli." Like much here, it was imported from Italy, and is so heavy the floor underneath it had to be reinforced.
Of course, we have to see it in action. We try the signature Pizza Oro ($18), a "pizze rosse" made with crushed tomatoes from small Italian town San Marzano, spicy calabrese sausage, 'nduja, house-made pork sausage, garlic, basil, and coriander white balsamic. There's also a little chimichurri.
The pizza is made with flour imported from Italy, and comes with a set of instructions from the wait staff for those who aren't sure of their Neapolitan-pizza-eating technique. Gently separate a quarter of the pizza by pulling on the crust, then fold it in half and eat sandwich-style or feel free to use a knife and fork.
The general manager Gerri Iannuzzi and chef Giovanni Sarra barely have fifteen years in Canada between them, and they want to show that real Italian food isn't just about pizza. They test this theory with their whole grilled Mediterranean sea bass (market price, changes based on catch of the day). Served with a farro salad, this dish is as tasty as it is beautiful.
The fish is dressed with lemon vinaigrette, and grilled whole with the skin on to give it more flavour. The farro salad also includes spinach microgreens, orange segments, and heirloom tomatoes.
They serve excellent handmade pasta, here, too, another testament to chef Giovanni's skill. The ravioli del giornio ($19) changes daily based on his whims, and today it's a mushroom creation stuffed with a mix of forest fungi: portobello, cremini, and oyster. It's drizzled with a truffle sauce, and topped with edible flowers, microgreens, and parmagiana shavings.
Aside from their contemporary indoor seating, they also have a grand patio for the summer. A big space and large tables can easily accommodate big groups or families for a meal in the setting sun. The restaurant opening completely to the outdoor space also helps offset the incredible heat created by the oven on warmer days.
Photos by Hector Vasquez