Monday, December 5, 2011

Falasca SPQR

As I’ve said before: I’m an assistant audio engineer which means... I no have no monies.  For that reason I’ve not been able to visit Italy - the home of the cuisine with which I feel most connected.  Though I’m not at all because I’m Polish as far back as my family can remember, haha.  But if I had to choose one type of cuisine to eat for the rest of my life it would likely be Italian.  I dream of the day I can go and have pizza in Italy.  Maybe subconsciously that’s why I seek out authentic Italian pizza.  And I’ve found it again at Falasca SPQR.  

Hungry and looking for something to distract my semi hungover mind, Carrie and I went uptown try some slices at Falasca SPQR this past Saturday.  We hopped on the subway and headed to Davisville station and then north a few blocks to Yonge and Manor.  The place is named after it’s head chef Alfiero Falasca (a world pizza championship winner).  The initials SPQR traditionally comes from the Latin phrase meaning ‘The Senate and People of Rome’ which is used as the official emblem of Rome.  At Falasco it means ‘Specialita, Pizza, Qudrata, Rotonda’ referring to the fact that they serve both round and square pizzas.  Pizzerias like this are common in Italy and I’m super excited to have one here in Toronto.  By the slice square pies cut to order and priced by weight (they also do whole, round pies to order but we saved that for another visit).  No waiters, no bus boys, just a fast food style dining room.  Great place to get in and out quick and very unique in this city for a pizzeria of this calibre.  

Here’s some background before I go into details.  Roman style pies are actually relatively young as pizza was mostly a Naples food until WWII.  All of the troops coming through kept hearing about this pizza thing and were requesting it.  Not traditionally found in places like Rome bakery's began using leftover bread dough and making square pizzas they sold by the slice.  While Rome isn’t know as the birthplace of pizza it could be said that they birthed something closer to what we know as New York style pizza.  A thicker, crispier pizza sold by the slice.  

We must have come just after the lunch rush as there weren’t a ton of pies out.  Though, there was a constant line of 2 or 3 people the entire time we were there so stuff goes quickly.  You can see them in the back constantly pulling pies out of the oven; so new stuff comes out constantly.  We tried their ‘Margherita’.  The ‘Pizza Italia’ with arugula, cherry tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella.  The ‘Parma’ with Scarmoza, fior di latte and proscuitto.  We also had a slice which I don’t think is listed on the menu with radicchio, buffalo mozzarella, black truffle and smoked provolone.  My god I wish I worked close to this place...

The pies crumb was crispy yet had a wonderful soft chew.  Loved it.  With Roman square pies they cover the pan in olive oil so the underside partially fries.  This gives the chewy, soft dough a crispy exterior and a rigid bottom.  It had nice overall browning.  I was told they do a 24 hr minimum ferment but aim for 72.  Very well made and super tasty - I haven’t been able to keep myself from telling everyone I come into contact with about what I had for lunch on Saturday.  

The Margherita was nice and simple in the best sense of the words.  Fresh sauce that tasted of just good tomatoes.  It had the classic cheese under the sauce you find with Roman square pies.  Unfortunately there was no basil which makes it a not so classic Margherita but great nonetheless.  I think the addition of basil would have made this an amazing little slice.  The radicchio slice was really nice and Carries favourite (bitter is her JAM).  The bitter radicchio played nicely off of the creamy, rich flavour of the buffalo mozzarella and black truffles and was finished with a nice, mild provolone.  I believe what they do (for many of the other pies as well) is they add the provolone after the pie is cooked.  So when warmed just before serving the provolone is just melted.  Great idea.  The ‘Parma’ might have been my favourite of the day.  The pie featured scarmoza which is a mozzarella where the curds are left to mature for a few hours before making the cheese and then hung to dry after it’s made.  The combination of that and the fresh fior di latte set up a creamy, depthy, cheesy base.  The paper thin, salty, beautiful prosciutto was a great addition.  A very simple pie but one that allowed the great ingredients to shine.  The ‘Pizza Italia’ also battled for top spot in my heart (or stomach rather) that afternoon.  After cutting the slice the woman behind the counter asked if I’d like it warmed up (she hadn’t asked about any of the other slices).  I asked her what she thought and she suggested we didn’t warm that one up.  A beautifully made crumb topped with fresh, bright tasting arugula.  Sweet, creamy, salty buffalo mozzarella and fresh, sweet cherry tomatoes.  I.  Could.  Eat.  This.  Every.  Day.  Great quality ingredients arranged with thought and care is the theme here.  Great, great pizza.

Falasca has become a new favourite.  It’s just a shame I don’t spend any time uptown.  I’ll need to swing by to try one of their round Roman pies.  This place is a must try and is in the same league as places like Libretto, Pizza e Pazzi and Queen Margherita as far as traditional pizza in Toronto.  However, it avoids playing in the same overcrowded Neapolitan arena by doing Roman pie.  And doing it well.  DAMN well.    
Falasca S.P.Q.R. on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Carrie here...for anyone that is keen on bitter greens - Rapini, belgian endive, escarole, and in this case, radicchio, you HAVE to get the Rad pie (provolone-mozzarella-truffle-radicchio) slice at Falasca. I loved it at the time, but two days have passed since I ate it, and it has become more and more of an obsession as time goes by. Nom. Nom. NOM!