...On some random night in February I went through a wood oven pizza obsession, not that I've tasted it before. I searched in blogs and search engines to find some awesome authentic Neapolitan pizza porn. While searching for a favourite pizzeria in Toronto, I paused to think if there was a place that served authentic Neapolitan pizza, or at least good thin crust pizzas cooked in a wood burning oven.
I paused my Toronto search and started looking for a place in Ottawa. I came up with a couple of places but none of them stood out to me. I contacted the gentlemen at Pizza Ottawa to see if they came across a place that served wood oven baked pizzas, and they kindly adviced me that they reviewed a place called Forno Antico a while back (click here to read their review) and that it was by no means the best place for pizza.
Fast forward a couple of months later, after my palate altering experience at Libretto...
Some friends and I have been talking about getting together during the summer, and I suggested we go have some pizza. Since I had Forno Antico in my mind, I recommended that we go there and try it out one night. But while planning this outing, I read that Forno Antico wasn't worth it and that I should venture out to Gatineau for some better pizza. I started reading similar comments like that in a handful of restaurant review sites and then saw a picture that someone uploaded of their square pizza. The picture put me off the restaurant, so I started looking for other pizza places. In the end, the restaurant called La Favourita (located in Little Italy) was my decision.
At first, we sat outside in their little patio (which was in front of their entrance) and snacked on the rolls they gave us while waiting for another friend. The warm weather started to cool off, so we moved inside the restaurant. The "romantically lit" restaurant looked pretty cute and comfortable. The lighting kind of bugged me though, cause you don't need a dimly lit restaurant to be a good restaurant.
Anywho, we decided to order our own personal pizzas and then share; Margherita, Polio, Bella, and a La Favourita Special.
The 'Margherita' pizza was very dissapointing. When it arrived, I felt insulted. < rant >
How can you call that a Margherita pizza? How? First off, there's too much cheese. Secondly, where's the fresh basil leaf/leaves? That's right, now I'm a pizza snob! It tasted like a plain cheese pizza. The sauce was boring and didn't even taste like much; the mozzerella cheese, it tasted like any other block of processed mozzerella. I was not happy with what I was served. Can you tell?
Moving on. According to my friend, the pizza Polio was alright. I didn't want to call it the Polio pizza, cause it sounds like the pizza has polio. Yikes! It had marinated chicken, sun-dried tomato, black olives and feta cheese.
I was told the Bella pizza was bland. Now that I think about the toppings (pesto sauce, chicken breast, brie cheese and almonds), it makes sense that it fell flat in the tasty category. In terms of flavour, nothing is really carrying that pizza.
The last pizza that was ordered was La Favourita Special. What I think they meant was that it was a typical Ottawa pizza that was loaded with toppings. This one had pepperoni, mushrooms, bacon, ham, green peppers, olives and anchovies. My friend had actually asked that they leave the anchovies off, but I guess our waiter or the pizziaolo wasn't paying attention. My poor friend struggled to eat half of it, as it was loaded with concentrated sodium bits of protein. The only pictures I took of that pizza was extremely blurry. < / rant >
There was a glimmer of hope, though. After some of us had our pizzas wrapped up and ready to go, we looked at their dessert menu and agreed upon splitting a serving of tiramisu. I had taken a photo of it, but it looked like one of the ugly child of the family, of tiramisus, out there. The tiramisu, that was unappealing to the eye, was actually very tasty. This teaches you that you really can't judge something by it's looks. I'm still not uploading the picture of it though.
None of us were impressed by the pizzas, but we were all wanting more of the tiramisu. I feel terrible about the whole experience, because not only did I choose the place, but I kept on gushing about how awesome the pizza I had in Toronto was. I really, really tried to like this place but it just didn't happen. My expectations were too high and ridiculous. I couldn't get Libretto out of my mind and had unfairly compared La Favourita to, what I believe, the best pizza place in Ontario.
To my friends that joined me on this failed culinary adventure: I'm really sorry. I'll make you a promise though, if you come to Toronto, I'll bring you to Pizzeria Libretto!
Thinking back, to my research that led me to picking this restaurant, I should've known that this was not the place I was looking for. There are so many signs that I should've picked up on - most of them can be found at La Favourita's website. Let's see how many strikes against this place that I can find. < rant >
- According to the article written on the home page, the restaurant moved to a larger location and then moved back to the small restaurant.
- The photo of some of the staff members and some of their dishes (located after the article on the home page) is poorly made.
- There are too many stock images used throughout their website.
- If you go to the "Main Menu" link on the left side of their site, scroll down to the pizzas and read what's on the 'Margherita' pizza. What's missing? The word 'basil', perhaps? I just assumed that it was on the pizza. Boy was I wrong to do so.
- If you go to the "Chef's Special" link on the left side, there's a slideshow. Watch the whole slideshow. Did you see the pizziaolo use a rolling pin to roll out the dough? What? But to be fair, you can't tell if it was used to make a pizza or something else.
In my mind, La Favourita was trying to serve authentic Neapolitan pizzas, even though they don't claim it anywhere. In my mind, their pizza was going to be similar to Libretto's pizza. In my mind. < / rant >
I'm just starting to hear and understand what I want to. I'm going crazy. It seems as though I despise this place, but I actually don't. I'm just upset at myself for comparing the two. It went downhill from that point.
Their pizza wasn't what I was looking for. Not even close.
356 Preston Street