Queen Margherita Pizza – Vera Pizza Napoletana
Queen Margherita Pizza – QMP – has been dominating the “Vera Pizza Napoletana” game since back in 2009.
Owner John Chetti opened the first location on Queen East before Leslieville was the booming neighbourhood it is today.
“It was something I’ve always wanted to do,” Chetti says. With his Italian heritage and family in the food business both here and in Italy, it was practically a given.
The wood oven pizza-centric restaurant differs in many ways than other pizzerias in the city.
- While committed to preserving the traditional Neapolitan pizza (using 100 per cent Italian or local ingredients), Chetti doesn’t believe in certification or designation such as D.O.P (Denominazione di Origine Protetta) – which basically means all ingredients must come from certain places in Italy to be “authentic.” Instead, Chetti sent his chefs to well-known pizza conferences in Las Vegas and abroad to “master the art of pizza making.”
- Chetti says that other pizzerias cut their flour and claim to use San Marzano tomatoes when they don’t. As noted on all menus: “All QMP pizzas are made with Caputo Tipo 00 Flour and our sauce is made with D.O.P San Marzana tomatoes…because authenticity matters.”
- Pizzas make up the bulk of the menu – six red, six white (extra virgin olive oil base, no tomato sauce, topped with fior de latte). Crusts are light and chewy with a slight blistering and thick cornicione. Gluten-free crust is available upon request.
- You won’t find a long list of pastas on the menu. In fact, the only dough outside of ’za, is housemade Gnocchi ($12) in the apps section.
- Each of the three locations – Leslieville, Baby Point, and newest and largest locale: Dundas West, with 110 seats, offers a unique dining experience that reflects the neighbourhood it’s in. Each one is outfitted with its own Stefano Ferrara wood-burning oven manufactured in Italy. And the menu offerings are the same no matter where you dine or order from.
Bet You Didn’t Know
All locations feature daily specials. On a recent visit, an Italian pepperoni, fior de latte, and honey infused chili pizza received such great feedback, it’s going on the permanent menu.
Their appetizer game is strong with choices including Fennel & Tuna Salad and Branzino Carpaccio, and all apps are $12 each no matter what you order – meat or no meat. Snacks and sharing items include pulled in-house Mozzarella ($16).
Everything is made in-house and all meats are from Mennonite farms and are free of all hormones, antibiotics and steroids. When it comes to fruit and vegetables, “We have the best produce people – Canada Produce.” Chetti says.
The key to QMP, according to Chetti, comes down to two things:
- Excellent, quality food
- At a price point that compares to fast food chains
Lunch pre-fixe, for example, is $22 for app, pizza and dessert. For dinner, pay $30 for the three-course meal. Which is why QMP doesn’t take part in the Summerlicious and Winterlicious programs throughout the year. “Because we do delicious all year ’round,” Chetti asserts.
And all locations offer wine, beer and spirits.
The menu changes seasonally, but one thing that will never change – The Margherita ($15). The pizza named for the restaurant continues to be their best seller across all locations. He says, “it’s the best in the city right now.”
More to Come
Chetti wants to take QMP to the next level. Over the next few months, he’ll be introducing a kamut crust that’s sure to take the city by storm, as well as many more new items and concepts.
“We want to be known as number one in Toronto and the GTA,” he says.
QMP’s just getting started.
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