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Best Family Run Italian Resto?

My pic is Marinela's on Widmer just off of Adelaide in the Entertainment District. Calamari is the best in the city and the dipping sauce is homemade, as is their meatballs and gnocci. Anyone else have any more suggestions?

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  1. Camerini on Mt. Pleasant is amazing. They have a grilled calamari appetizer that is the best I've ever had. The complimentary bruschetta takes this simple dish to a new level.

    The long pastas are all homemade and the mushroom cream sauce is superb.

    This is a family restaurant in operation for over 25 years. Dad is the chef and Mom and the kids run the front of the house

    1. Da Gianni and Maria Trattoria
      796 St. Clair Ave. W.
      Toronto, ON
      M6C 1B6

      One of my personal faves in the City. Joanne Kates went crazy for it a while back, but it's now back to normal.


      2 Replies
      1. re: Cereal Killer

        I definitely want to try it next, I looked at their menu during Salsa on St. Clair and was very impressed.

        Has anyone been to a small Mom & Pop Italian restaurant on the west side of Avenue, just north of Eglington?

        I forget the name of it and can't find reference to it anywhere.

        1. re: Cereal Killer


          I checked out the web site for this place and the menu looks great but they don't list any prices. Could you give an idea of what the apps and mains run approximately?


        2. Big Ragu on Lansdowne at St Clair....Miranda

          1. I like Vesuvio in the Junction.

            1. Coincidentally, I was on Corso Italia 3 times in the same week in July and had the chance to try a couple of spots that are often mentioned on this board. First up, we were celebrating the World Cup victory. Around 11:00 that night, feeling peckish, we happened into The Big Ragu - I recognized the name from this board. By that point, not surprisingly, they were out of beer and half the stuff on the menu - they told us this as soon as we walked in. The room is really small and cute with checkered red and white tablecloths, VERY friendly and personable service in spite of the fact that everyone was visibly exhausted from the day's and week's festivities. We ordered a couple of salads and a pizza - the pizza called for "mozzarella" and we were pleasantly surpised to see buffalo mozzarella (not sure if that's standard or if they had run out of ordinary mozzarella!). Anyway, everything was good - not stellar but quite good. All in all, a great experience - it had a nice "family" feel to it.

              By contrast, we went to Da Gianni e Maria the following Friday -it was the first night of the Salsa on St. Clair and so the streets were packed. The patio was full and so we sat inside. There was no a/c on when we got there and it was sweltering - customers were fanning themselves, dripping sweat and finally, after everyone complained, they turned the a/c but it never really cooled off. The service was s-l-o-w, practically absent. In fairness, it was a crazy night (though no more than the night of the World Cup win) but still, they knew the festival was on and I would think they could have staffed for it. And the food was just okay - other than one creamy pasta with salmon which was delicious, the other salads, pasta and other mains (can't recall what they were) were underflavoured and underwhelming. Unfortunately, nobody ordered the gnocchi which is meant to be one of their signature dishes but for a place I had heard so many good things about, I was really disappointed.

              1. I was at Da Gianni e Maria quite a while ago. I would echo PP's comments based on my experience at the time. The place was crowded and noisy, service was ok and the food was nothing special.

                1. Bar Merucio - hands down. Two spots - both around Bloor & St. George. The original in the Medical Arts building is a classic trattoria - serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner - can't go wrong at any meal.

                  Friendly service; neighborhood atmosphere; food is very good.

                  1. One of my favourite family-run Italian places is "Standard" on College at Beatrice (SW corner). The wood-oven pizza is the best in the city and the penne al vodka is probably my favourite meal in town, hands down. The atmosphere is not great though (kinda depressing vibe I think, can't quite pin it down) and the service is hit and miss. So I actually don't go there much because of this. Oh yeah, avoid the house wine.

                    By contrast, went to Seven Numbers (also family ital place) on Danforth tonight. The food was just pretty good (proscuitto and fig salad - one peanut-sized fig? WTF?). But the service was amazing even though it was packed (also - handsome toronto waiters who were all friendly & fast - perhaps an alternate universe). It was incredibly loud which I usually find annoying but everyone seemed to be having such a happy time that it was ok. Pasta was cooked perfectly which can not be said for most italian places in TO. But only 2 pasta choices. Had a couple tumbler glasses of Bianco Puglia - cheap!! and considered primitive but delishly fresh and smooth finish.

                    1. I would say my fave family run italian rest. is Tre Fontane which is in the Annex on bloor street.