Neighbourhood: South Osbourne
Address: 670 Osbourne St
For a slice of Naples, head to South Osborne spot Vera Pizzeria. Stepping inside this pocket-sized place feels like walking into a friend’s home. The smell of roasted tomatoes and mozzarella greets diners, as the chatter from hip scenesters takes over the room. With line ups often spilling out the door, this pizzeria proves that the best pizza comes down to the basics.
This friendly, no-frills eatery is part of flourishing South Osborne, with new addition Blind Tiger just down the block. The casual interior holds just 20 seats. White-walled and warmly lit, the dining room is cozy and contemporary, sometimes featuring local art. Easygoing but knowledgeable service creates an omnipresent effect. Window seats are ace, providing a street side view to people watch.
Owner Terek Cabildo’s Nea-politan pies favour fresh ingredients sourced from DeLuca’s. The menu is straightforward, listing only nine pizzas. Scratch-made dough provides crispy nooks and chewy crusts, topped with classics like cherry tomatoes and prosciutto as well as specialty items like housemade fennel sausage. Watch as dough is kneaded, punched and stretched before your eyes in the open kitchen. Seeing a meal prepped, cooked and served in less than 15 minutes is a comforting, and refreshing redefinition of fast food.
Pizzas are about 12 inches and fall in the wallet-friendly range of $11-$16, featuring a rotation of marinara sauce, creamy fior di latte and basil frequently rejigged. Traditionalists will love filetti, a dolled up version of the margherita, with generous pieces of roasted garlic and olive oil. Calabrese piccante adds heat with spicy calabrian salami sliced and layered with tomato and parmesan. Aromatic salsiccia is dotted with house made fennel sausage and dried chile, balancing spice and smoke. Pair your pie with leafy greens under a drizzle of tart balsamic and olive oil, and dotted with large chunks of tomato and black olives. In classic Italian style, it sounds basic, but tastes elegant. Top off dinner with a nice vino (bianco or rosso), or bubbly and bittersweet soda Brio Chinotto.
With a focused simplicity on pizza made in true southern Italian style, Vera Pizzeria’s loyal following continues to grow with no sign of slowing down.