Who would have guessed that you would find a great Italian restaurant smack dab in the middle of Chinatown? (see poll below!) Not me, certainly, until I heard about Strada 241 on twitter! The tweet (I can’t remember who it was from now, sorry!) got my attention because they mentioned perfecting an organic, gluten-free crust for their pizza. I jumped to an immediate conclusion that they must use other great ingredients, and got on the phone to ask questions. When I spoke with them, they confirmed my theory that they use many organic ingredients and support clean food, plus could deal with a nut allergy, so, I made a reservation for my family, including my grandparents, for dinner.
When you walk in the glass front doors you go right into a very cool atmosphere. It’s very warm and cozy inside, they have used lots of wood everywhere and have the same kind of chairs as Pizzeria Libretto on the Danforth and plenty of booths (they are really cool looking but don’t seat large parties). There is a big bar, surrounding the open kitchen area and pizza oven. You can eat your meals there, it’s not just a place to drink. The staff at the open kitchen were super nice because they let my brother watch them make a pizza and explained to us how the oven worked, and how they made it. It’s always very nice when there are friendly chefs, especially if they are friendly to kids.
When we sat down at our table, our waiter came right over with our menus and I asked if their meat was organic, and he explained that not only was it organic, but it was heritage. I decided to get the meatball pizza with fresh basil on their organic, gluten-free crust. I also decided to order a Grilled Caesar Salad as an appetizer which was a real treat. The romaine was grilled to perfection, crispy and warm and not soggy at all. This dish is definitely one of my official recommendations. The rest of my family ordered various things off the menu. My sister loved the Squash Fritti, which came served on a wooden board with the squash “french fries” each on a nail with a pesto that she loved so much with mint, capers and basil that she ate it all up with a spoon! One thing to note: my mother wanted a vegan pizza, but they wouldn’t allow any substitutions at all, not even to just leave off the sausage on a pizza with onions and rapini, so she had to order a plain pizza. But she spoke with one of the owners and hopefully they will be able to do something better in the future.
It’s also very cool that they have a selection of games to play if you get bored waiting for your food. My little brother loved playing foosball at our table, and my sister and I played Operation on the way out.
We all really enjoyed our meals in this hidden, beautiful restaurant in the heart of Chinatown. I will definitely be back.