Za Cafe Pizzeria & Bar
Za Cafe Pizzeria and Bar is where to find Neapolitan-style pizza in the heart of Toronto, and they're not afraid to get creative when it comes to toppings.
The restaurant is the second location with another spot in Mississauga geared toward takeout. The four longtime friends and owners wanted to open the storefront on Bay Street to offer more of a dine-in experience.
Accented with splashes of black, white and burgundy with leather booths lining the walls and an open kitchen concept for a clear view of the stone oven, it's a stylish space that seems to fit right in with the surrounding neighbourhood.
Two of the owners, Rav and Rubin, who met each other while cooking at a pizzeria, cook up the pizzas, which they've been experimenting with and perfecting in Mississauga since 2019.
With the dough prepared and aged for three to five days in-house and the tomato sauce from their own recipe as well, each fast-fire'd pizza is cooked in just 90 seconds in the dome-shaped oven.
Cooked at a high-temperature near an open flame, cooking for a second longer or at a notch too hot could result in both the pizza's bottom and toppings burning even within that short of a time.
But that doesn't seem to be a problem, with each pizza coming out in record time, nicely browned and slightly crispy.
They take a few creative liberties when coming up with the toppings for each pizza in order to give each traditional slice a bit of a twist.
The Fig Za ($20) has mascarpone, asiago, figs, prosciutto, and the more unique additions of honey and pistachios that you're not likely to find at many other pizzerias around the city.
It's not hard to see why this one is a big seller. The honey and figs both provide a bit of sweetness, offsetting the saltiness of the prosciutto, while the pistachios add a bit of an added crunch and unique flavour.
Another runner up for favourite za creation is the Tandoori Chicken ($16) with spicy san marzano tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, tandoori chicken (made in-house), red onion with jalapeno mayo. It pairs nicely with the garlic-packed Italian Bomba sauce.
They don't skimp on the toppings either. Espanola ($20) comes with Iberico (chorizo), fresh mozzarella, asiago, Maldon salt and large shishito peppers covering every inch of the pizza.
Truffle is one of the ingredients they like playing around with in a lot of their recipes. You'll find a pizza ($20) made with black truffle paste as well as their Truffle Mac & Cheese ($18).
Also made with black truffle, the mac and cheese includes four different kinds of cheese, a breadcrumb crust, and the option to add smoked ham ($2) or brown butter lobster ($10). The dish is as buttery as it is cheesy.
Although pizza is their main claim to fame, the other menu items available here is what makes the spot on Bay Street stand apart from the first location that solely focused on pizza.
The Salmon Alla Vodka ($22) is prepared with housemade Mafalda pasta, Norwegian salmon and asparagus in a tomato cream sauce.
The Pizza Sushi ($12) also makes for an interesting appetizer. Pizza dough is wrapped into sushi-like rolls with Nduja, caramelized onion and garlic aioli inside. Or you can get it with lobster, crispy shallots and truffle aioli ($16).
They've even bottled their own wine ($25 per bottle), a 12.5 per cent ABV Cabernet Sauvignon and 12 per cent ABV Pinot Grigio, with both coming from Pelee Island.
This pizzeria in the Financial District is found where The Gabardine used to be. It sets itself apart from other pizza shops with unique ingredients and a welcoming atmosphere.