Spice City Toronto: Hooray for Pide



Spice City Toronto: Hooray for Pide

Who needs sauce? Pizza Pide's signature pizza-like dish gets its rich flavours from herbs and spiced meats.

Lahmacun, a thin crust topped with spiced ground beef, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and parsley.

A tip from a Spice City Toronto reader led me down to Pizza Pide, a Turkish joint located near Gerrard Square.

The place serves pizza, but 90 per cent of the customers come in for the pides. Pronounced “pee-day,” 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 per cent of his customers were Turkish, but now it’s about 50 per cent 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 Ozkan, who muses about giving up his restaurant and returning to his previous job as a dump truck driver.

Ozkan 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.

For first-time visitors, he recommends #18, karsik. It consists of slices of all his most popular pides.

The lahmacun is a tasty treat, like a thin-crust pizza but with spicy meat. The karsik is quite the adventure: one part 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 (949 Gerrard Street East, at Pape), 416 462 9666, open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday; Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Spice City Toronto explores Toronto’s great hole-in-the-wall restaurants and strip-mall joints serving food from all corners of the world. Find more photos and details about Pizza Pide here.