Meet the owner

Growing up in Salerno, Italy, Romolo Salvati had everything he could want: the sun, the beach and the best Italian food in the world. But he was always on the move. "In 1986, I came to Toronto to play soccer," Romolo recalls. "The team owner liked me and my pizza and my soccer ball, and I signed a contract to play here."

For years, Romolo had no real roots. He travelled back and forth from Toronto to New York, to Vancouver, to Italy. In 2006, he met his wife and that's when he realized he felt that Toronto's Italian food scene had gone downhill. "Everywhere we went, I found the Italian food tasted more like American food – not good enough, not special."

So he took a job at a restaurant making pizza from scratch and  pretty soon he was getting noticed. After a glowing review was written about his pizza, he got a call from the owner of a pizza parlour in Kensington Market. "He was a Chinese guy running a pizza place," Romolo remembers. "He wanted more authentic food and he wanted me to cook it."

Read the story of Pizzeria Via Mercanti

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Appears in 2 Smart Lists

Editor’s Pick
The best under-the-radar romantic restaurants in Toronto

The best under-the-radar romantic restaurants in Toronto

With fresh ingredients, great service, a casual atmosphere and a wood burning stove, you’ll leave little to chance at this Kensington Market pizzeria. Rumoured to have the best margherita pizza around, Via Mercanti is a quaint little slice of Italy with a street view of eclectic Augusta Avenue. Bonus: It won’t be too hard on the buyer’s wallet.

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Where to grab lunch in Toronto's Kensington Market

Where to grab lunch in Toronto's Kensington Market

This is your go-to spot for wood-oven pizza in the Market. The space is large (there’s an extra room in the basement) which is a good thing because this place often has a wait. The pizzas are traditional thin-crust and there’s always some soccer game on in the background. A true neighbourhood spot.

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