It’s five days before Christmas and while many people are doing last-minute Christmas shopping, just as many are noshing as was evidenced by the full house at Il Fornello at Bayview Village during lunch today. On Tuesdays, Il Fornello offers all of their specialty pizzas, which are regularly $13 to $17, for a mere $10. This well-known discount, coupled with pre-Christmas and Hannukah celebrating, surely accounted for the crowds, yet despite the merry madness, our friendly and gracious waiter welcomed us immediately and gave us enough time to peruse the menu.
Italian favourites such as fettucini alfredo, gnocchi, lasagna, linguini and spaghettini, as well as chicken, salmon and veal entrées complete the menu, but Il Fornello has built their reputation on their authentic home-made pizzas so we decided to opt for the pizza specials including the Vegetariano Pizza, the Funghi Pizza, the Salsiccia Italiano Pizza and the Pesto and Mozzarella Pizza.
Il Fornello restaurants in Toronto vary enormously in design from the open-air Harbourfront location to the multi-level, hip hangout in the Beaches. The Bayview Village location offers a sophisticated, cozy ambiance, in a room with crystal chandeliers and classy neutral tones.
The Funghi pizza came with cremini, portobello and oyster mushrooms sitting on scamorza cheese and topped with fresh arugula. The arugula was an inspired touch, providing a zesty complement to the trio of mushrooms and the creamy-smooth scarmorza cheese. The Vegetariano pizza, which was topped with mozzarella, tomato sauce, cherry tomatoes and sundried black olives was satisfying yet the salty olives dominated the other flavours and could have been removed in favour of slivered red onion. The Pesto and Mozzarella Pizza with fresh basil and cherry tomatoes was a winning blend of classic flavours, enhanced by the multi-grain pizza crust (which costs extra). The Salsiccia Italiano Pizza scored high points with our party due to the mouthwatering mix of hot, zesty Italian sausage, grilled onion and roasted red peppers. While Il Fornello’s pizza crust is arguably one of the best in Toronto, hitting that perfect midpoint between crispy and chewy, all four of our special pizzas could have benefited from more of the pizza toppings. Whether these pizzas come a little better dressed when sold at full price is a question to be answered on another visit.
Note to management: Thank you for providing serrated knives to cut our pizzas; however, some of ours were too dull for the task at hand.