16 rue Maguire/ St. Laurent Blvd.
Tel : 514-507-2900
Cost: $43.98 before tip for 2 people
Chef Hats: 3.5
It’s another Friday night again after a long hard week and I don’t feel like cooking, dead to the world I can only muster up enough energy to sit in the car and get driven to a good pizzeria. It is Friday after all so it has to be pizza and nothing else. I had heard about Magpie from Mr. Malibu, who had gone there with his film cronies and suggested I try it. ‘’Magpie’s is a no-nonsense type of place and but the pizza’s are good’’.
So we headed to the Mile End, found parking right in front across the street. It was late, too late for dinner, the place looked dark inside. For a moment I thought they were closed, but as we approached the door was open and we stepped inside. The place was empty, except for a few patrons at a table facing the bar. We got a seat in front of the window on a tall bar type table. This was simple, easy and no-nonsense I thought, just the way I like it when I am very tired.
Rachel our waitress came out from behind the bar and gave us two menus, which consisted of a few items, like oysters, salads, one pasta dish of ravioli, Beef tartar, nine types’ pizza, desserts, beers, cocktails and various beverages. They had the Foo foodie’s favorite pizza with arugula, prosciutto and bocconcini and Frenchie’s classic Pizza Margherita. I did not see any wine on the menu and I couldn’t see the blackboard sitting as far back as we were in the dark. Our waitress who at this point looked very tired and did not mention they had wine on the menu, she left us to our own demise so we ordered St Ambroise Beer and a coke. No alcohol for tonight, but never any shortage cause we had plenty at home and knew that we could always finish off the night with a nightcap at home later.
We ordered quickly and as we waited I took a look around and noticed the wood burning oven in the back corner of the restaurant, how stylish I thought, first time I see a black one, they are usually red, this one was covered in small black mosaic tiles and even had on the side a picture of a knight on a horse…how regal I thought. I mentioned this to Rachel who began to tell us the story of the famous wood burning oven and its journey. Apparently it was the old oven from the now closed Tutto Bene restaurant on St Viateur. They had fork lifted it from the windows because it wouldn’t fit through the door and they rolled it down the street to its present location at Magpie. We would have liked to know more about this infamous oven, but she got called away because our food was ready.
Magpie was opened by Popovic brothers, Boris, and Peter, Nicky, a friend and investor in late summer of 2010. They were inspired by the New York style pizzeria’s joints and wanted to replicate this in their restaurant in the Mile End. The decor is reminiscent of this with the painted wood panels, dark wood bar and artifacts from a bygone era. The décor is almost kitsch, but not exactly, it feels like Magpie has been here as long as Wilensky’s, yet it still feels kind of cool hipster’s hangout. Do not expect ultra chic, it is a just a comfortable place with no frills. It truly is a no nonsense type of neighborhood joint to hang out in with friends for a simple bite and or just a few drinks at the bar. It can be said the place was a little dark, but perfect to for those late incognito nights, romantic late night escapades where you just want to be alone and have a tète a tète.
The pizza arrived, it looked delicious. The taste was a pleasant surprise, the ingredients were fresh and of top quality. In speaking with Rachel we found out they use only the best finest powder and imported San Marzano tomatoes. the menu lists the cheese as bocconcini but they actually use mozzarella di buffala. The crust is light and fluffy, perfectly moist and springy, and crispy on the edges. It had just the right amount of toppings and not overpowering in any way.
The Margherita pizza was simple but still held its own, with extra-large basil leaves, delicate and creamy Mozzarella and that tangy tomato sauce. The Arugula & Prosciutto pizza was rich, set off with spicy oil on top of the roquette salad.
We came, we conquered and ate and left…as the clock was about to strike midnight. It reminded me of the good old days, were you can sneak out late at night , get a real good pizza at no-nonsense prices and feel comfortable even wearing your pyjama bottoms. The heart and effort at Magpie’s is in the right place and so is that pizza oven.