Pizza and Gelato at Eataly

EatalyLocation: 55 Bloor Street West, Toronto (inside the Manulife Centre)
Website: https://www.eataly.ca/

After years and years of speculation and hype, Eataly finally opened in Toronto last month; judging by the intense crowds, it’s a hit.  Apparently there were lines just to get in for the first few weeks, and on a recent visit on Saturday, the place was absolutely packed.

Eataly

So was it worth the wait?  It’s hard to say based on one relatively brief visit, but I’m gonna say yeah, it was.  It’s basically an enormous, high-end Italian grocery store crossed with a food hall.  They sell all kinds of really interesting looking stuff, and all the food I tried was tasty.  It’s delightful.

I tried a couple of things.  First up was a pizza at La Pizza & La Pasta, a sit-down restaurant with a wood-burning oven that pumps out authentic Neapolitan pizzas.

Eataly

The meal started with some seriously good-quality bread, which came with a bowl of intensely nutty olive oil for dipping.

As for the pizza, I had to try the margherita.  As I’ve said before, I think it’s one of the world’s few perfect foods.  It’s also a great way to judge the quality of a pizza joint; its simplicity puts the technique of the kitchen in full display.  There’s no fancy ingredients to hide behind.

Eataly

The version they serve here didn’t blow me away — the crust was slightly lacking in substance and flavour — but it was a solid B+.  In particular, the pizza had a perfect amount of char from the blazing hot oven.   The person manning the oven clearly knows what he’s doing.

Eataly

Just around the corner from the restaurant is Il Gelato Artigianale, which has a whole bunch of tasty-looking flavours of gelato on offer.  I went with stracciatella, and I quite enjoyed it.

Eataly

I found it a bit overly sweet at first, but the combo of the sweet ice cream and the very bitter chocolate (they’re definitely using a darker chocolate than the norm) won me over.  And the gelato itself is nice and creamy, even if it was slightly on the thin side.

Old School Gelato at La Paloma

La PalomaLocation: 1357 St Clair Avenue West, Toronto
Website: http://lapaloma.ca/

La Paloma has been around since 1967, so it’s pretty much the OG gelateria in the GTA.  You can’t argue with that type of history; they’re obviously doing something right (though I recently panned Johnny’s Hamburgers, which has also been around since 1967, so I guess you can argue with that type of history).

Anyway, it’s good.  It might not be the best gelato in the city, but it’s definitely not the Johnny’s of ice cream.

La Paloma

On my most recent visit I had the Sicilian pistachio.  It tasted like they were using pistachio flavouring or even other nuts in there (something about the flavour was a bit off), and it was a bit too sweet, but it’s still quite satisfying.

It helps that the texture is great, with a nice creamy richness.  It’s definitely above average.

A Tasty Snack at Futura Granita + Gelato

Futura Granita + GelatoLocation: 964 Saint Clair Avenue West, Toronto
Website: https://www.facebook.com/futuragraniteria/

The smallest size of gelato at Futura Granita + Gelato is basically the size of a Dixie cup; all ice cream places should offer this.  Sometimes, a bit of ice cream would hit the spot, but you’re not necessarily hungry enough for a full-blown dessert.  A size like this is perfect.

And the gelato itself is quite good.  I’ll have to come back at some point to try the granita, which is essentially an Italian version of sorbet.

Futura Granita + Gelato

I tried the stracciatella, which is a classic gelato flavour in which crunchy chocolate is mixed into a sweet cream base.

The gelato itself was definitely above average, with a nice creamy consistency and a satisfying flavour.  The tasty dark chocolate complements it quite well.  It’s a quality scoop.

Solid Ice Cream at 00 Gelato

00 GelatoLocation: 370 King Street West, Toronto
Website: https://www.instagram.com/00gelato/

Not everything needs to be (or can be) a home run.  Sometimes it’s fine for a dish to be solid — perfectly tasty, but nothing too mind-blowing.

That’s 00 Gelato in a nutshell.  I don’t think anyone’s going to call it the best gelato in the city, but it’s quite satisfying.

00 Gelato

The place is a bit odd.  It’s in a closet-sized spot on King, and it’s basically just a gelato counter in a doorway.  It seems super makeshift, but it’s been popping up for the last few summers, so it’s permanent enough.

I had a scoop of the Ferrero Rocher, and it’s good.  The gelato itself is rich and creamy, and the flavour is quite nice.  It’s a bit too sweet, but it otherwise does a great job of capturing the Ferrero Rocher flavour, right down to the crispy wafer bits.

A Couple More Delicious Flavours at Nani’s Gelato

Nani's GelatoLocation: It’s a truck; check Instagram to see where they’re parked
Websitehttps://www.nanisgelato.com

Did I go right back to Nani’s Gelato after trying it for the first time the other day?  Why yes, yes I did.  What can I say; it’s really good.

This time I was able to try two flavours — pistachio, and tahini and black sesame.  Both were absolutely outstanding.

Nani's Gelato

Pistachio is a classic gelato flavour, and Nani’s knocks it out of the park.  It has a vibrant pistachio flavour that, unlike so many other places, actually tastes like real pistachio — not pistachio flavouring.

The tahini and black sesame is just as good, with a toasty, intense tahini flavour, and a restrained amount of sweetness that lets the nutty sesame flavour shine through.

I really hope this place opens a permanent location soon, because I think it’s easily a contender for the best gelato in the city.