This was my first coal-fired pizza experience and it certainly won't be my last.
Angelo's Coal Fired Pizza, situated at 106 Front St. E. across from the St. Lawrence Market, opened its doors on July 18th. Originated in Boston, Massachusetts, this spot is Angelo's second location, and is Ontario's first coal-fired pizza restaurant. Angelo's pride and joy is their coal-fired oven, which takes up 32 sq. ft. of cooking space and weighs approximately 10,000 lbs. Co-owner Joe Rizzo told me the oven arrived from California on a flatbed truck and was installed at the restaurant by forklift.
Co-owner Joe Rizzo
The pizzeria is very roomy at 5,000 sq. ft. and can accommodate up to 124 guests including the bar. There's also a patio out front that seats 32 people. I like the Edison light bulbs, the black herringbone patterned floor tiles, as well as the exposed brick wall, but why do they have to ruin it all with TVs? The space is casual and tastefully decorated, yet the flatscreens scream "sports bar". I'm not a fan.
Angelo's offers 50+ wines from regions of Italy, California, Australia, New Zealand, Chile and France.
This mighty TerraLuxe coal-fired oven can reach up to 900 degrees and above, and uses 150 lbs. of the highly efficient, anthracite coal a day.
Angelo's (Instagram: @angeloscoalfiredpizza, Facebook: Angelo's Coal Fired Pizza Toronto) pizzas are all 14" as opposed to 10-12" at other pizza joints.
All cocktails are reasonably priced at $12 each.
OLD FASHIONED ($12)
Bitters, bourbon whisky, simple syrup garnished with orange slice and marachino cherry
Gin, vermouth, campari
COAL FIRED CHICKEN WINGS ($12)
Charred in the coal fire oven with caramelized onions
Brined and roasted in the coal-fired oven, the wings have a subtle char flavour. They are topped with a generous amount of caramelized onions. I thought the wings were good but I'll probably skip them next time. I'd rather save my appetite for pizza.
Marinated cherry tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala, basil pesto
This was a solid salad. You can't go wrong with drizzling basil pesto and olive oil over fresh tomatoes and mozzarella.
Nothing against Neapolitan pizzas but I want something new. Most pizzerias in Toronto serve Neapolitan style pizzas and frankly, I'm sorta getting tired of it. That, and I'm seriously loving the pizzas from Angelo's.
I tried the Margherita and the Goodfella, both were fantastic. Flash-baked in the super hot coal-fired oven, the thin crust pizzas come out lightly charred on the bottom. The pizza is crisp and light with a soft centre, yet the slices still hold up extremely well (i.e they do not sag). The end crust is crunchy and flat, and the cheese seems to have infused itself into the dough, blurring where the end crust meets the toppings. Long story short, there's definitely no soggy slices here. By the way, the unique pizza dough is a secret family recipe only used at Angelo's.
Tomato sauce, fiore di latte, basil, cherry tomatoes
Tomato sauce, mozzarella, sausage, caramelized onion, roasted peppers, garlic
That hot sauce is really hot. I didn't believe it at first, but boy, that heat is real. But it's also very good and addictive.
Check out the generous portion on theses pastas; they were all served in full-sized sauté pans! All the pastas are made in-house except for the Orecchiette, Penne and Strozzapreti. I tried the Orecchiette and Strozzapreti and they were both cooked perfectly - chewy al dente - but although the ingredients in the Orecchiette were very intriguing to me, the overall pasta dish was bland and under-seasoned (the sausage was amazing, though). The Strozzapreti was simple yet very delicious (I also love all types of ragu!).
Sausage, rapini, chickpeas, chillies, grana padano
chewy al dente and then tossed with grana padano, rapini, sausage, chickpeas and chilis.
Veal ragu, pecorino romano
By now I was stuffed but the desserts were too good to pass. The pistachios lend a vibrant nuttiness to the gelato, it was a nice and refreshing dessert after all the heavy carbs. The evening ended on a high note with the bombolone. The soft ball of fried goodness was filled with Nutella mousse! 'Nuff said.
Nutella mousse, brown sugar, sweet pickled berries
I'm looking forward to my next visit at Angelo's. I already have my eye on the Carol pizza, which has figs, gorgonzola, pancetta, honey, fiore di latte, duck confit, pistachio crumble, and the Sunday Gravy, which is basically a saute pan filled with pork sausage, meatballs, and pork ribs cooked in tomato sauce (you are supposed to order pasta or bread to mop up the sauce). Sounds so scrumptious, right?
FYI: Additional Angelo's locations are planned for Toronto and Florida. A location is currently under construction in Massachusetts.
*This meal was complimentary. The opinions and views expressed on this post are my own*