(Re-opened on July 18, 2014) The pizza craze continues in the Triangle with the addition of hipster pizza destination, Pizzeria Toro! Located in the Five Points area of Durham next to the Cupcake Bar, Pizzeria Toro has quite the urban feel. Large open dining space with a showcase pizza oven. Communal tables made of reclaimed wood and urban-industrial lighting piped in over the tables with large filaments glowing like fireflies. This place gets busy and as expected a bit noisy and boisterous but that's the whole urban dealio. In back Pizzeria Toro has got a medium sized bar, a couple of additional tables and a small TV as a concession to the masses. My friends and I were seated on the communal table which gave me a front and center view to all the cooking action!
Service at Pizzeria Toro is very professional, the crew was working its tail off and it's running smoothly given how new the place is which is impressive. We order up a kale salad, pumpkin appetizer along with a couple of personal pies. Pizzeria Toro has a smallish beer list both draft and bottled, prices are higher than what I expect across the board but hey, you gotta have a brewski with your pizza! Our apps come out first, a rich dark kale salad with pignoli which we share. My oven-roasted pumpkin with chestnuts and guanciale (Italian bacon) is decent. Lightly charred, soft sweet texture with a bit of salty counterpoint, I liked it but wasn't blown away. The texture was a bit too soft for me and the flavors not quite distinct enough. I'm watching pizzas come out of the oven at a furious pace and its cool to see all the variations and flavors.
Twenty minutes after we order, I get my basic Margherita: San Marzano tomato sauce with fresh mozzarella and basil. It's a good-looking pie made with great ingredients. Maybe a 14" personal pie that's good for one hungry person or shared between two for a light bite. And its a decent pie. It's got a thickish cornicione with a bit of char, they've got it cooked about right. The crust itself is stiff with some bite, maybe some corn meal on the bottom. The sauce on top is light and flavorful with the soft melted cheese and the basil pops out. What I wasn't a fan of was the flaked salt sprinkled on top, I'd prefer the crust to have a bit of salt in it instead of having hit my tongue. The pies at Pizzeria Toro are good, a bit artisan and similar in style to what I think you might get at Lilly's or Chow. Italianish but a bit less traditional than Bella Mia in Cary with the choice of toppings. Overall I like Pizzeria Toro but prefer the style at Bella Mia but it's early for Pizzeria Toro. Overall it's a good option for high-quality pizza in a hipster environment. A fun noisy spot to put down some good za and wash it down with excellent beer. With Lilly's Durham and Pop's down the street, Durham is starting to put down some serious pizza roots, eccelente!
105 E. Chapel Hill Street
Durham, NC 27701
Pizzeria Toro - Reviewer: Ron Wen - Rating: 4 out of 5 stars