CLOSED: Pastizza (Toronto)


Pastizza can hold its own amongst the array of Italian restaurants in the city, as not a dish disappointed that evening. Of course, sipping through glasses of vino helps and since the owners also run a Californian winery, their menu offers a number of inexpensive reds that wonderfully complement the dishes tomato sauces. 

Pastizza bomba

Arriving like a blimp flying through the air, the bomba con cacciatore salami ($17) was beautiful and a rare sight. Our server explained a hot cooking temperature combined with pizza dough causes it to puff up into a soft yeasty pillow. Adorning the bomba are sheets of salty cacciatore salami, creamy asiago and peppery arugula.

Pastizza chili oilAfter the fawning died down, the bomba is cut through and deflated for serving. Unlike pizza, it’s chewier and lighter so the meat shines through. I suggest peeling off some salami to enjoy on its own as the dough is a great vessel for dipping into the selection of chili oils provided. Pastizza should consider equipping diners with scissors as sawing through the layers with a knife is messy causing ingredients to fall off of the delicate base.

The crust of the thin pizzas are stable enough to be held; exactly what I want it to be. If you enjoy heat, the arrabiata pizza ($18) with its hot njuja (a spreadable pork sausages), spicy cacciatore salami and chili paste is for you. The addition of bitter slightly sweet rapini, earthy mushrooms, sweet oven dried tomatoes and salty parmesan provides for a well-rounded flavour.

Pastizza pizza

The bolognese pizza ($18) is another dish great for pairing with chili oils (for me the bird’s eye version in particular). With ample pieces of meatball, peppers and cheeses over tomato sauce, its a heartier pizza lightened with pieces of fresh basil.

Pastizza pizza

After catching a whiff of truffle oil it’ll be hard to avoid ordering the funghi pizza ($18). The mushroom medley offers an earthy, meaty and crunchy combination. But, a bit more fontina or seasoning would make it even better as it’s a relatively neutral pizza; even a simple olive oil and salt dressing for the arugula topping may help.

Pastizza pizza

With the excitement over pizzas, the carbonara spaghetti ($16) was the sole pasta for the night. Of course the pasta was al dante but what made the dish was its sauce. The creamy pancetta specked carbonara coats the tongue but then the peppercorns arrive hitting the palette with the mineral spice.

Pastizza carbonara pasta

During the warmer months a wraparound patio completes Pastizza so you can enjoy carbs and wine along the Esplanade or Market – two streets great for people watching. And if you feel like something lighter without resorting to salad,  may I suggest the pillowy bomba, a delicious cushion covered with meat.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 118 The Esplanade

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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