Pizzeria Via Mercanti (Gerrard)
Pizzeria Via Mercanti is already well established in Toronto with two existing locations but this is their easternmost restaurant on Gerrard near Coxwell in Little India. Inside is a massive 180-seat dining room and open kitchen complete with a gelato counter at the bar.
It's a sparsely adorned space, though the mismatched furnishings give it a warm, homey feel.
I'm already familiar with the menu, which seems identical to the other locations; salads, panini, pasta and pizza are all present. My go-to order (when dining solo anyway) of mini pizza rolls ($1.50 each) and the Rucola e Tonno salad ($11) is on offer here too.
The Antipasto all'Italiana is available in two very sharable sizes, small ($20) and large ($30). It's an impressive assortment of cured meats, cheese, olives, grilled and pickled veggies artfully arranged on a platter.
An order of Frittura di Pesce ($15) sees lightly coated, well seasoned shrimp and calamari spilling out of a paper cone. These are crispy morsels that despite being deep fried, don't taste especially greasy.
From the two dozen signature pizzas on the menu, there are ultra indulgent options like the potato and bacon pie ($16) and the double decker pizza ($20) featuring a Margherita pizza stacked on top of another pie loaded with ricotta, ham, mushrooms and hot sopressata.
Today I'm onto the Crudo e Rucola ($18) a white pizza featuring fior di latte melted into an olive oil painted crust. Arugula, cherry tomatoes and wisps of prosciutto di Parma blanket the surface and fill in every instance of negative space.
To drink, there are 10 taps that divide their focus between Canadian and Italian breweries plus a seasonal feature. Prices are reasonable, starting from $6.75 for a proper pint. The wine list is predominantly Italian and ranges in price from $36 for a bottle of the house red or white, up to $120 for the Amarone Riserva Musella.
It seems fitting that this pizzeria is spicing up the dining options in Little India. The rustic Italian restaurant joins an influx of new, increasingly diverse eateries on Gerrard St. that has the neighbourhood on the rise .
Photos by Jesse Milns