Puttanesca vs. Puttanesca

Puttanesca is one of our favourite pastas to eat, despite the origins of its name.

Photo by Door Belle
Photo by Door Belle

Equally delicious is pizza done in a similar style, and we have two options in the Ossington area.

Pizzeria Libretto has a puttanesca-style pizza called the “Napoletana” though it’s a red pizza with no cheese. I learned from a helpful server, Dexter, who suggested adding buffalo mozzarella, and for the extra $3, it’s worth every bite.

Photo by Door Belle

North of Brooklyn (with a former Libretto connection), opened its third location in the Get Well (1181 Dundas Street W), right around the corner, within the past year. While the wait times for pick-up are unpredictable (it’s inside a bar, after all), it’s the original go-to putta pie, and large enough that you may have leftovers.

Here’s how they compare:

Pizza libretto
Libretto’s Napoletana with cheese added | Photo Instagram @doorbelleblog

Pizzeria Libretto
Location: 221 Ossington
Pizza: Napoletana
Toppings: Tomato, dried oregano, infornata olives, capers, anchovy, fried garlic, chili oil
Price: $14 + tax (add $3 to include buffalo mozzarella)
Taste? At first I was sad when Libretto stopped making its white anchovy pizza… but this is excellent and I would never go without adding the cheese, even though it ups the price. It’s a softer crust and VPN certified (Heritage Grade Pizza Napoletana); blessed (so-to-speak) by the Italian government and EU. One reason it’s not so big; it’s not meant to be. According to their website, it’s not allowed to exceed 35 cm in diameter.
Scale rating (1 = poor, 5 = perfect): 4.7
Atmosphere: The restaurant is always busy and you can expect line-ups at peak times. I find the take-out counter staff friendly and prompt, though sometimes I’ve been left on holding on the phone, way too long, only to have the same person pick-up again. If you like it spicy, always ask for extra chilli oil.
Hours? Open for lunch at 11:30 a.m., closing at 11 p.m.
Delivery? No. Call for take-out.

Left side: North of Brooklyn’s much larger Puttanesca. Simple, delicious pepperoni on the right. From my personal Instagram.

North of Brooklyn
11181 Dundas Street West (inside Get Well bar)
Pizza: Puttanesca
Toppings: Hand-crushed sauce, mozzarella, olives, scallions, capers, anchovies
Price: $22 + tax
Taste? This pizza has its own pizzaz. It’s got a thin crust, but is denser for a thin crust with crunch. It also reheats well and is a preferred choice when ordering for larger groups. Size matters. Sometimes our orders have come without a key ingredient, like the olives or onions, and we’ve not been told, so be sure to check in advance they have all the toppings at hand.
Scale rating (1 = poor, 5 = perfect): 4.5
Atmosphere: Expect a line-up outside and a packed house as the bar gets full late into the evening. I’ve usually breezed by the security staff, saying I’m just there to pick-up a pizza… Around the dinner hour, there’s a quieter scene. Typical 20-something “hipsters” sitting at the bar, playing video games, or lounging around in groups, on the sofas, right in front of the tiny take-out area.
Hours: 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily (so you know where to get your late-night snack as they also serve by the slice; though I’ve been told puttanesca is only available for take-out.
Delivery? Yes. Sunday to Wednesday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Thursday to Saturday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Have you tried either pizza? Which do you like best?