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College St. Eats

I haven't been to College St. in ages and would like some up-to-date recs for decent priced, yummy food on that strip. Entrees in the $15-$20 range, and a fun atmosphere for people in their mid-30's. It may be a Sunday or Monday night when we go.
Definitely looking for Italian or Portuguese food, or even fusion. Tapas or share plates are fine as well. I was thinking Senhor Antonio, but it was dead the last time I was there.

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  1. I hate to say it, but College Street is pretty dead these days. I don't think it ever actually recovered from the construction of the new streetcar tracks a couple of summers ago. The beautiful people have generally moved south to King Street, and nothing really good has opened up in quite a while. I do think Sushi Island is very good. I miss the old Tempo terribly. Cafe Margaux is long gone. 65 degrees steakhouse, one of the "newest" places is deplorable, and Vivoli isn't much better. The old standards still serve up the same sometimes good (College Street Bar, Coco Lezzone) and sometimes awful (Cafe Diplomatico) food. I don't know if Olivia's survived (just north of The Dip on Clinton).

    For inexpensive Porguguese on College, I would go to Sintra, but I don't think they are open Sundays in the winter.


    1 Reply
    1. re: Cereal Killer

      Cafe Margaux was great and I miss it. In my opinion Utopia serves great food (non italian) consistently. As well I happen to like Coco Lezzone.

    2. While not Portuguese or Italian, I recommend El Bodegon, which is Peruvian. It's a great, family run restaurant with simple, but delicious food. The prices are reasonable and the portions are generous. It's a good place to try anticuchos (skewered, grilled beef hearts) if you've never had them before. My personal favourite there is the beef lomo saltado -- it's probably my favourite comfort food in the city. It's char-grilled strips of beef which are then sauteed with onions, tomatoes and fried potatoes. The whole thing is served on a large plate with plain rice. Mix it all together and you have happiness on a plate. I'm not actually sure why I love the stuff so much -- it's just tasty.

      Plenty of fish on the menu, and as I've mentioned before -- one of the best won ton soups I've found in the city.

      I think they are closed on Mondays.

      1 Reply
      1. re: TorontoJo

        Definately El Bodegon!

        I love this place...not pretentious, nice atmosphere and the food is great!

        I also love the anticuchos! The mixed ceviche is great and more than enough for three to share as an appetizer.


      2. I still like Bar Italia.

        My favourite restaurant on College is Gamelle (French), but it's slightly above your price point on average (most plats principaux are in above $20, but if you select carefully you can order things under $20, not including appetizer/entrees, wine or dessert). http://www.gamelle.com

        6 Replies
        1. re: balthazar

          I have found that Bar Italia's attention to detail has fallen off dramatically. Very inconsistent service and food quality.

          1. re: deelicious

            Could be true. I only go there once every few months and may have been lucky - I thought I noticed some decline last fall but thought it was an off night. Perhaps not.

            1. re: deelicious

              what have you noticed change foodwise with Bar Italia?

              Their breakfast foods always seem to be consistent - including their brunch salads. I've had some terrific pasta dishes there, though the last time I had a soup is was very bland and I too attributed it to an off night. Would like to know what to avoid in the future

              btw, have they ever had great service? I do like their lattes though A LOT!

              1. re: orangewasabi

                It's been my experience lately that perhaps Bar Italia has their eye off the ball. Cold food, poor service and wrong ingredients the last 2 visits.

                Believe it or not the waffles I returned to the kitchen at brunch were hard and room temperature because they say they like to pre-make all the waffles first thing in the morning. They were so gross! Bar Italia isn't cheap. Serve fresh-made waffles.

                The omelette that I switched to came with feta cheese when it was supposed to be asiago. And these problems came with so much bad attitude. The server's attitude was like why the hell don't you want cold waffles for brunch, it's how we do it? I didn't dare mention the cheese, and she never asked me how the omelette was.

                The next visit brought cold coffee and a chicken sandwich that barely had any chicken in it. My friend ordered roast beef and after 20 minutes they told her there was no roast beef left. She opted for pizza which was as great as ever...

                There are just too many choices in the city. I can't imagine accepting pre-made waffles. I still enjoy their Bar One location.

                1. re: deelicious

                  wow, that's really really not good!

                  I'm used to the service level there so I don't expect much.

                  So far, I have had consistent quality with the following:
                  - the Steak & Eggs
                  - the lemon riccotta fruit salad (which changes seasonally anyway)
                  - the bresola salad (one of my favourites)
                  - the gorgonzola toast
                  - the mild sausage side (which I often order with the lemon riccotta) so I have room for extra LATTES (which are always good there)

                  1. re: orangewasabi

                    I too LOVE that lemon riccotta!

                    And I always found that you had to order an espresso style coffee to get a good hot one. The brewed, although good quality is not always as fresh as it should be.

                    Its a shame to not know exactly what the deal is. Just because the waitress told me its "how they do the waffles" on the weekend, you dont know if it is really true. She may have just been making it up to give me an answer and show that she did nothing wrong. Who knows but I am not an investor in their place, so I move along.

            1. the good: Pony, Gamelle, Langolino, College St. Bar, Sushi Island

              the bad: The Dip, Bar Italia

              the ugly: Bar Burrito

              1. I've had good experiences at Flight 55, and the last person I sent there said it's their new favourite in the 'hood. It's French-Latin fusion, with a louney feel. It hasn't been particularly hopping when I've been there, but the last time was months ago after it first opened.


                5 Replies
                1. re: Delish

                  my neighbour loves this place as well, he's been raving about it for months and says the food is incredible and very very good value

                  1. re: Delish

                    the menu sounds tasty, could you tell me what the portions are like? it's a very reasonable price regards the ingredients.


                    1. re: pinstripeprincess

                      I think the portions are a fair size for the price. I'm pretty picky about value, and I seem to recall feeling what we got was well worth what we paid. Hope that helps!

                      1. re: Delish

                        alright, so i checked it out tonight because i was at a movie nearby and doubt i will head back.

                        we were the only table in there save for some friends playing on a laptop watching things off of the internet. the service was fairly attentive but didn't quite hit the mark when we ran into problems.

                        ordering squash dumplings and the short rib with foie gras ravioli to start.... the squash dumplings were fantastic with a fluffy texture and rich creamy sauce. the ravioli on the otherhand was completely undercooked, short rib filling was very dry, no foie gras to be tasted. we returned it on the basis of being undercooked, was asked what we wanted to do... reordered to try them again, but received the squash dumplings!

                        creme brulee was cooked custard like with a chunky texture and flourless chocolate cake was among the worst i've had with an inconsistent chocolate flavour and odd texture.

                        1. re: pinstripeprincess

                          Sad! Sorry it didn't go well. I had such high hopes for this place.

                  2. Cafe Diplomatico for calzone, Massimo's for pizza and Phil's BBQ for relief of Italian food overload.

                    For better pasta and mains, go to St. Clair West. Big Ragu and La Bruschetta are faves.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: bogie

                      IMO avoid massimo's at all costs. If the calzone is fried at the dip, i highly reco a short walk down clinton to Bitondo - awesome!

                      1. re: deelicious

                        Isn't it amazing how many people wouldn't even know that Bitondo or California Sandiches are just steps away?!


                        1. re: Cereal Killer

                          YES. I think San Fran deserves a mention too then. A veal from there can hit the spot!

                        2. re: deelicious

                          Bitondo is great calzone, too. What I enjoy about the Dip calzone is the cheese melted on the outside, too. I don't know what you don't like about Massimo's, though. Granted, it's not the very best pizza, but I like their Arrabiata slice with fresh jalapenos and crushed chiles.

                          1. re: bogie

                            Massimo lacks flavour and the crust is SO tough at times. I had my last bad slice there 2 months ago - I just wont go back given that I drive and I much prefer Coras Margherita, Johns Pesto, most of mammas, love the sicillian square at La Pizza when its fresh, and today out of convenience I went back to Amato on Queen W (original) after a long time of ruling it out. I had the primavera - it was fantastic. I mean it was the best. The dough was back to the original texture with a chew, awesome flavours of olive oil, parmesan, you could taste the eggplant, the juicy zucchini, the garlic. I could not believe it. The veggies were not dried out and tasteless. There is no tomato sauce on this slice. Personally I have never liked their tomato based slices even back when their food was tops. It has too much thyme in the sauce and is off-putting to me. Anyway, I swore off Massimo after many sad slices. I would rather go to the big slice on yonge for their "interesting" veggie slice then eat massimo. Some Pizzalio styles can be very good when fresh too.

                      2. Has anyone tried the new Ethiopian place called Sheba at College & Bathurst? (not to be confused with the Queen of Sheba on Bloor St.)

                        1. I ate at this place called Giovanni's (SP?) once. I had the gnocchi fromaggio and it was delish!!!! my date had the lasagna and he was impressed as well. In my opinion there was nothing special about the place but i was impressed with the food and they had a resonable wine list; price and selection wise. The only thing is, i havent been back.....im have a feeling that they may be inconsistant, but its just a feeling, i have nothing to back it up...i guess i just liked the food so much that i dont want to be disappointed if my return visit is not as good. Has anyone else been there?

                          1. I always find Xaccutii and Utopia good places to go in the price point mentioned. Food is always good, and there is always a great vibe in both locations.