In 1957 when frozen foods became part of grocery store chains and a new house cost roughly 12K, Toronto’s oldest pizzeria was born in the west end. Still owned by the Pugliese family, using the same seasoned recipes, Vesuvio’s has set the pizza standard high for the rest of the city. In fact, they say about half the pizza joints in Toronto learned from them or were influenced by them, which is a bold statement, but sounds about right since they’ve been around for over 60 years.
Pizzeria Via Mercanti
Pizzeria Via Mercanti has been running strong for over 40 years and currently has 5 locations across the GTA. They are best known for their authentic Neapolitan pizza, but their signature double layer Via Mercanti pizza that could easily double as one of the over-the-top food finds featured at the CNE. Picture a full pie with ricotta, mozzarella, prosciutto, soppressata, and mushrooms, layered with a margherita pizza on top.
Danforth Pizza House
This joint has been serving up classic Toronto-style pizza since ’64. What is Toronto-style pizza though? Some say we have no style, others say it’s simply a multicultural fusion to reflect Toronto’s diversity, (a.k.a. experimenting with various toppings). Danforth Pizza calls it the 100 per cent uncut pepperoni and mushroom pizza. Or try the Greek-style pizza The Pinerli, dressed in mozzarella, kasseri cheese, smoked bacon and topped with an egg.
This tiny, worn-down pizza parlour is best suited for takeout, since there’s very limited seating. No seating, no patio, no website, no problem. This is as old school as it gets, and it has been this way for over 50 years. Bitondo’s is best known for their classic pepperoni pizza , with its chewy crust, gooey cheese and salty pepperoni. They’ve earned their title as Toronto’s greasiest, cheesiest guilty pleasure.
Frank’s Pizza House
Frank’s Pizza has been a staple of Corso Italia since 1965. If you’re looking to get adventurous with your toppings, but craving that authentic, Italian, handmade dough, this is the spot. The restaurant has stepped out of the classic Italian pizza box by topping their Marisol pizza with smoked salmon and their Albano Martins pizza with unpitted prune black olives. Owner Giorgio Taverniti even helped developed the “Pizza 101” course at George Brown College and has been a long-time instructor ever since.
For 45 years, Big Slice was Toronto's go-to spot for late-night pizza on Yonge and Gerrard. But sadly, the joint was forced to relocate to make way for more downtown condos. Now, they're dishing out their usual massive slices of pizza to the Corso Italia crowd. The restaurant has been run by the same family since 1981 and they still serve slices for $3.50. Sadly, the red and white sign that hung over the original didn't make the move, but it will be missed.