Journalist Sarah Efron explores strip malls and hole-in-the-wall restaurants in search of the city's best ethnic food

Saturday, March 19, 2011

East end pizza, Turkish-style

A tip from a Spice City reader led me down to Pizza Pide, a Turkish joint. It's located near Gerrard Square, at 949 Gerrard Street at Pape (see map below).

The place serves pizza, but 90% of the customers come in for the pides. Pronounced "peeday," this is a sort of Turkish thin-crust pizza that comes in many variations.

Owner Mustafa Ozkan, who is from the Black Sea region of Turkey, opened up this restaurant in 2003. He says that originally 80% of his customers were Turkish, but now it's about 50% because much of the Turkish community has moved outside of Toronto.

He explains that unlike pizza, pide has no sauce. He walks us through the menu, telling us the regions of Turkey that each pide comes from. There are so many kinds of pide available here that it's difficult to prepare them all, says Mustafa, who muses about of giving up his restaurant and returning to his previous job as a dump truck driver.

Mustafa says that #1 on the menu, lahmacun, is popular throughout the Middle East and is also a hit with his customers. It's a thin crust topped with spiced ground beef, peppers, onions, tomatoes and parsley.

#1 Lahmacun
For first time visitors, he recommends #18, Karsik. It consists of slices of all his most popular pides.

#18 Karsik
The lahmacun is a tasty treat, like a thin-crust pizza but with spicy meat. The karsik is quite the adventure: one part is has grilled chicken breast in a sea of mozzarella; another has roasted lamb and mozzarella; another has turkish (beef) sausage. My favourite was the spinach and feta, a sort of doughy spanakopita.

It's certainly not a light meal—grease drips down your hands as you eat—but it's tasty. Each pide costs $6.99 to $9.99 and is enough for a meal and possibly leftovers.

You can wash it down with aryan, yogurt drink, although I'd recommend a cherry juice if you're not accustomed to salted yogurt.

Pizza Pide is open 11am to 10pm Monday to Saturday; Sunday 11:30 to 9pm.

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  1. Great find Sarah!
    The Lahmacun looks pretty tasty, but the egg one looks fairly strange...

  2. I've eaten here several times even though I live on the west end. It's amazing.

  3. i been there many times , its in one of the best 100 restaurants in toronto . Its been in alot of magazines and websites . I think everyone should go and try it out. #1 Pizza maker out there. I have never had anything like this anywhere . Its WOOOOOOOONNNNNNDERRRRRFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUULLLLLL.