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Review: Bay Street’s Via Vai is the most gorgeous space to enjoy a slice (and the pizza’s pretty great, too)

Review: Bay Street's Via Vai is the most gorgeous space to enjoy a slice (and the pizza's pretty great, too)
(Image: Jackie Pal)

Via Vai ★★ 832 Bay St., 416-362-0123

As Toronto’s artisanal pizza craze enters its second decade, the debate over which of the many brick-oven contenders makes the best thin-crust pie has only intensified. But let’s be clear: there is no more beautiful a space in which to enjoy a slice than this Bay Street pizza palace. Sheathed in four storeys of glass, the dining room features massive marble tile walls and hanging glass panels splashed with streaks of Pollock-esque colour. At opposite ends of the room stands a pizza oven shaped like a geodesic dome and a vertebral floor-to-ceiling tower of vino. The overall effect is nothing less than breathtaking. And how’s the pizza? Pretty great: the Diavola—topped with ribbons of spicy sopressata, gooey fior di latte and a mess of mushrooms—features a yeasty, delicate crust that’s thin yet pliable. The tortellini—chewy husks of undercooked pasta flanking bland braised beef and crunchy baby onion—are skippable. The amazingly attentive service is worthy of Via Vai’s splendorous surroundings, as is the short, predominantly Italian and somewhat pricy wine list.

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