Culinary Explorer: Pizzeria via Mercanti, Toronto

“Don’t judge a book by it’s cover!” Actually… “don’t judge at all…

Pizzeria via Mercanti, 188 Augusta Av, Toronto

I’ve finally made it to Pizzeria via Mercanti, in Kensington Market, Toronto. Afterwards, I read the numerous
reviews on BLOG TO (see link below). Know this before you go…. the focus is on the food… not the decor. Not the sign. The. Food. As it should be. As you’ll find in many places in Italy… this is usually the case.

When you’re heading in to try the pizza Margherita – think like an Italian. You want a place that has pizzeria in the title. This is why….


Some of the best foods I’ve found in Italy, are in places so quirky that when they’re closed – you might not even know they’re there. Am thinking right now of a rosticceria in Trastevere, Rome, with still, the best arancini I’ve had. Anywhere. How I found it… by happening by when it was open. I had walked down this street many times, eventually passing by to the intoxicating aromas of roasting meats. Che fortuna per me!! If you’re in Rome.. you MUST go here, perfect for al fresco dining in the closest park or piazza. It’s a place so nondescript, I can neither remember the name nor find it online. I can however, tell you where it is – most conveniently it’s on the same street that has what many consider the best pizza in Rome: Pizzeria Ivo, on Via di San Francesco a Ripa:,or.r_cp.r_qf.&bvm=bv.43287494,d.dmQ&fp=e6daecf0b4de2d2e&biw=1138&bih=498

 Pizza @Pizzeria via Mercanti, Toronto


The rosticceria will be south of Pizzeria Ivo, on the same side of the street heading south and about a block before you get to the main street of viale de trastevere. Don’t pass by in the morning  – you won’t find it. I suspect it opens mid afternoon-ish…. your nose will tell you where it is! While a rosticceria is a take out and not a restaurant, the same
principles apply. Me….? I’d rather eat where the focus is on the food. When
you’re heading out for some special occasion fine dining, you should
expect decor to match. Especially since, you’ll be paying for it.

I’m also thinking a tiny shop in Florence, called I Due Fratellini. They throw up the rolling door and serve some of the best panini in the city. Office workers, locals and tourists stand in the street, happily munching away and sipping wine. They’ve been doing it since 1875.

I found my wait to get to the Pizzeria via Mercanti well worth it: I do prefer to check out a new place once they’ve been at it for awhile. From the fresh out of the oven crusty, chewy and warm Italian style flat bread and house-made chili paste to the star attraction of the Margherita – they did not disappoint!  When asked “how is everything ….” I honestly replied… “when I close my eyes, I’m in Italy!”


Pizza @Pizzeria Ivo, Rome

There are as many reviews as there are people who have eaten here….

Let me just say, if you’ve experienced the wonder of eating pizza anywhere in Italy – you’ll appreciate the low key-ness of the decor. Compliments too, on the service…. efficient, knowledgeable and just friendly enough. I’ve been a waiter. Trust me, this is good. If like me, you’re jones-ing to get back to Italy, this will help – albeit deliciously, temporarily. This defo my new go to, whether alone or to impress anyone who wants to experience what proper Italian pizza is.

devouring the Margherita @Pizzeria Via Mercanti


ps The knife…? Is only for separating the slices of the pie. To really experience the texture of the chewy, blistered and perfectly tasting crust – you really should bite through it.