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Homestyle Italian in TO ? looking for new ideas

We are big fans of Camarra, Big Ragu and Da Gianni et Momma. So, to have some variety, we are wondering about other homestyle Italian joints in Toronto which hounds may know.

By homestyle, we mean - reasonably priced, lack of pretentions, warm service, everything made in-house, menus with lots of fave items such as chicken parm, lasagne, canneloni etc, and an imaginative wine list.

Thanks !

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  1. When I first ate at Big Ragu I was in love. Both with the dinner and the weekend brunch. I found after a while their quality slipped a bit. The only other place that springs to mind is Fusilli on Queen Street East. Very old style.

    1. I really like Marinela's on Widmer Street in the Theatre district (which I first learned about from this Board about 3 years ago). It is family run and has a wonderful atmosphere. The food has always been very good with fresh ingredients and great sauces. I recently had a chance to take an Italian client there and he was very impressed. I have also suggested it as a locale for a group of business partners that I regularly dine with, and who have varied but exacting standards, and everyone enjoyed it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: nosher66

        Gotta agree Marinela's is fantastic try the Lasanga, little pricey though ordered the Buffalo Mozzeralla Salad $15.00 kinda of shocked me

        1. re: mummy2Luna

          vesuvios do a solid pizza, but I was not impressed with their pasta-too soggy

          1. re: mummy2Luna

            have you bought buffalo mozarela lately? That may expalin the price.

          2. I'd suggest Camerini. We had a wonderful meal there--it was a flashback to our Italy trip a couple of years ago. I've included a link to my posting, which includes other Italian suggestions:
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/329928

            1. I'll second Fusilli on Queen East at River. It's a small, old-fashioned Italian restaurant complete with checkered tablecloths. Giuseppe cooks and his wife makes the desserts including a delightful Tiramisu. Typically we order the specials instead of off the menu. He will prepare anything you like, mind you, if you don't see something that suits your fancy that night. The printed wine list is not the most extensive you'll see, but the man knows his wine. Hubby & I tend to figure out what we want to eat and let Giuseppe bring us one of his latest finds that matches. He never disappoints us.

              1. Try "da Maria"....close to Vaughn Road and St. Clair West...has been there forever, family run, cheap, will deliver....been there at least 25 years. Also, close by is the wonderful "Rushton", about 2 blocks west of Christie and ST. Clair, n. side....new, same owners as Ferro, a touch further west........decor and quality of food at both superb! Ferro is mostly Italian, Rushton branches out , but Incredible Food!!!!!.....both are owned by 2 Italian Brothers. At the Rushton I had the most delicious tuna steak that I ever ate in my life!.....you cannot reserve, at either....I recommend that you go from Mon to Thurs, or try lunch at the Rushton first....the night of the immortal Tuna steak, it was Friday....we walked over....no room at the inn yet, but they took our names and gave a rough time frame (45 min)....we came back to my place (close) for some wine, trotted back at the suggested time and were seated..........Wonderful.

                1. No mention of Mamma Martino's on the Queensway?

                  Vincent's Spot is off the track on Kingston Rd. Cute and cozy a diamond in the rough. Guaranteed to be a fantastic dining experience. 35 years family run husband in the back wife waiting tables. A great experience

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Connoisseur

                    Probably because Mamma Martino's is terrible. If you like cheap, crappy food, then by all means, GO!

                    1. re: redearth

                      My husband and I love going to ROMA (Gladstone & Bloor). It's very down home Italian food...their Roma salad is terrific(except for the canned black olives!!), pizza's are thin crust with many toppings to choose . Pasta's are good as well..can't really speak for the rest of the menu because we normally go for Salad & Pizza...I have 'gnocchi' many times and the 'red' sauce is very tasty. The Patio is very busy in the summer, lot of smokers, neighbourhood folks with kids in tow...not too costly..all in all a good neighbourhood place without pretense ...quick service and no attitude.

                    2. re: Connoisseur

                      Actually, the original Vincent's Spot was owned by Vincent. He sold a place he had on Bayview called Vincent's Place to open Vincent's Spot on Kingston Road. Vincent did the waiting while his wife did the cooking. Vincent also did a lot of the artwork, some of which may still be there, but much of which has been removed by the current owners. I can't remember how long Vincent was there, but the current owners have been there a long time. The original Vincent sold out to the current owners and moved to San Francisco to open a restaurant there. Vincent's Spot has remained largely the same and still a great place for a meal!