RESTAURANT REVIEW |180 SECONDI |Midtown

The approach at 180 Secondi at 21 St. Clair Ave W. hints at a funky urban pizzeria with its partly
covered patio and bright modern entrance. That feeling however changes almost immediately
upon sighting the order desk. The welcoming smiles although very nice did little to change the
decidedly fast food feel.

As our party was ushered toward our reserved table in the rear, my mind changed yet again for
the better, the atmosphere much more in line with what one expects of a midtown restaurant;
modern, urban, clean and simplistically chic. Truly a peculiar and rather dizzying blend of vibes.
We were presented with three order pads; one for pizza, one for salad and one for sandwiches
and an explanation of how their system worked… head back to the order desk to place and pay
for our orders. It was unclear how we should order and pay for our drinks, so we took the lead
and placed our drinks orders directly with the waiter, seemingly to his pleasant but confused
dismay.

The salads and sandwiches all looked tempting, but we were here to test their mettle as a true
Neapolitan pizzeria. The available selections and ability to customize made a few in our party
downright gleeful yet the strangely organized order sheet made the process unwieldy. There is
no doubt in my mind that this ordering system will cause much confusion during busier times.
Our server was evidently not experienced and again the pleasantness with which he
miscommunicated and misheard orders became more of an amusement than a true
aggravation.

An explanation of the name 180 Secondi (the pizzas are cooked at a temperature which allows
them to be complete in 180 seconds) was delivered with pride and enthusiasm. The pizzas took
a solid 15 minutes to arrive, still fast by any standards and I wouldn’t have mentioned the 15
minutes in anything but a positive light had the server not given us his 180 second sales pitch.
Although the wine arrived in quite nice (& pleasantly large) stemless wine glasses, only straws
accompanied the tinned soft drinks ordered by some in our party. It’s all paper napkins and
plastic plates and so the inclusion of real cutlery added to the original assessment of worlds
colliding.

collage180secondi2

Here’s where 180 Secondi saved themselves… the pizzas were excellent. Thicker crust than a
true Neapolitan style pizza but with only the slightest doughy hint of excess. The red sauce,
which is in this reviewers mind the very best way to judge a pizza joint, hit the spot perfectly…
not too sweet, not too spicy. Each of the toppings was added in the best measure for maximum
flavour and enjoyment.

Our order consisted of one glass of each the red and white locally produced wines (the
chardonnay was a little cloying, but the pinot noir was good and at $6.50 a glass you’re ahead
of the game) and a wide array of pizzas; two customized for the carnivores at the table and two
specialities. The North Beach was a gorgeous white pizza with gorgonzola, figs and arugula…
hands down the winner of the lot. The classic Bianca was also excellent with the inspired
addition of the slightest drizzle of honey.

None in our party was able to finish the entire personal sized pizza but it should be noted that
the taste kept us all eating a little longer than truly healthy or potentially polite.
Bottom line 180 Secondi rates a 2.25. The pizza is good, very good in fact, and the atmosphere
while peculiar is not terrible. It will be perfect for those in a hurry, want separate cheques and
don’t mind the whole self serve aspect.

180 SECONDI, 21B St Clair Ave W, Toronto


The overall average rating was [yasr_overall_rating size=”medium”]


This is how they ranked:
atmosphere – 2 /5
service –
2 /5
food source –
3 /5 (given for their local wines and beers)
taste –
3.75 /5
cost –
3.5 /5


The Vibe:
Almost, but not quite, upscale fast food


Stacia_Carlton_HeadShot

Stacia Carlton is a culinary school graduate and food writer. She shares her love of food with a
weekly column and recipe at www.bestillandeat.com.

3 comments

  1. Stacia,
    Thanks for the generally fair and thorough review, which highlighted some of the challenges we are encountering in introducing this unique pizzeria concept (fast-paced, casual, assembly line, self-service) and pizza style (‘Neo-Neopolitan’) to mid-town Toronto (and Canada…). Hopefully Customers will get more comfortable with the concept and patronize us for the high quality of pizzas and food/drink which we will strive to maintain.

    1. I wish you all the luck in the world and let me state again that the pizza’s are really REALLY good… and that is after all what you’re trying to do!

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