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Mar 29, 2007 10:47 AM

Little Italy

Hey All!

What's the best restaurant to go to in Little Italy?

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  1. Need more info? Are you going to "Little Italy" because you want Italian? If so, Toronto's best is probably not found on College Street (does that matter to you)?

    If not, there are plenty of other options, but what type of food, price range, atmosphere are you seeking?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Rabbit

      I like cafe diplomatico for pasta. Yummy and unpretentious. But if you're looking for atmosphere, or something besides pasta, you could do better.

      1. re: oralfixation

        I've never understood the draw to Diplomatico, except maybe for drinks on a warm summer night... maybe I just haven't ordered the right thing.

        If you're looking for Italian, I used really like Regina Trattoria (1 block west of Ossington)... haven't been there since I moved last year. It's not one of those trendy College St. places... . A few of the other places I used to frequent on that strip are gone unfortunately.

        Oh, and Utopia is quite good too, but not Italian.

        1. re: littlegreenpea

          We are looking for more italian...I guess we're looking for something with a good atmosphere and pretty good food. I don't expect the food to be as good as other italian places outside of little italy. We're just taking another couple there who have never been there.

    2. We were recently impressed by Bella Vista (west of Grace). I had great lemony carpaccio and delicious squash ravioli with gorganzola sauce. In the past I've enjoyed Giovanna's (Just east of Grace), but haven't been there recently. I've also heard good things about Trattoria Giancarlo (south of College, on Clinton) and Grappa (West of Shaw) - but can't confirm either first hand.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Delish

        I second Grappa and I have been there several's good!
        My husband and I frequently go to Roma (Bloor & Gladstone)'s a typical neighbourhood Italian eatery..nice patio on a summer night...the food is more than adequate (certainly not 'high end' style or price) It's pleasant and very homey...a good place when you want Italian food without spending a ton /dressed to the nines!

        1. re: pearlD

          Giancarlo is truly the ONLY place which comes half way close.

        2. re: Delish

          what are the prices like at Grappa? I see their menu online but there arent any prices with it..

        3. I agree that Giancarlo is probably the "best" on that strip, but it can feel a little stuffy compared to other neighbourhood offerings.

          Bar Italia is inexpensive with decent food and a lively atmosphere. It's a little less casual than the Dip but more "hip" than Giancarlo's.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Rabbit

            I am always amazed that so few people mention Sotte Voce on College at Clinton. It is not the best place in Little Italy by any stretch of the imagination but easily has the best food for the money. The combination of a patio, cool (slightly prententious) crowd and great wines make it a good choice..I don't believe anything on the menu is much over $10..

            1. re: tasoid

              You're right. I forgot about Sotte Voce - I've been a few times over the last couple years and one time was amazing, and the second time while still good, didn't quite live up to the time before. It is a very good option. Another good option that comes to mind is Teatro. It's closer to Bathurst with a pretty cool vibe and good affordable food. If I recall corectly - the menu isn't strictly Italian.

            2. re: Rabbit

              I totally agree with Trattoria Giancarlo. I've had the best beef carpacio there. Service, food ad wine are all excellent.

              1. re: TOfoodie

                Regina Trattoria is good and inexpensive. Il Gatto Nero has a limited menu but what they have is good.

            3. Best bet? Park the car if you're driving and walk along the street, most places post a menu in the window or out front, so you can do some window shopping as it were. It's a fun area to stroll through, there's more than just restos there...

              I'd start at College and Euclid and go west. There's a few places to the east, but the majority are in the other direction.

              4 Replies
              1. re: escoffier

                I've heard Cucina is good. Anybody been there?

                1. re: crawfish

                  consistent quality, but nothing special.
                  i find it a little over price for the food they serve.
                  stay with the basic soup and pizza
                  very hip clientele though, even for little italy!

                  1. re: crawfish

                    I was just at Cucina the other night. I guess this will save me from posting a new topic.

                    Overall, I agree that it's nothing special. The mare seafood antipasti plate ($17 for two) consisted of excellent spicy jumbo shrimp, lovely gravlax, nicely tender octopus, absolutely tasteless grilled calamari, and a couple of small pieces of forgettable grilled sardine.

                    Among the four of us, we had three pastas ($16 each) and the salmon-three-ways special ($22). No one was especially unhappy, but not thrilled either. The papardelle with wild mushrooms and sausage was... I forget already. It was OK, but It didn't leave me with a desire to ask for more bread to sop up the broth. The veal canneloni was better -- rich veal, you just don't get a meatier pasta dish -- but not worth coming back for. I didn't try the spaghetti with mozzarella-filled meatballs, but the person who ordered it also pronounced it just OK. And the salmon? The piece of ceviche I tried tasted overly acidic to me, but apparently the gravlax and seared filet were good.

                    Dessert: wonderfully decadent flowerless chocolate cake with melted chocolate on top, and a slightly too-sweet berry crumble.

                    Service? Disorganized and overworked. Nice enough, but clueless. Lots of running, bumping into customers, when the mains came out neither server had any idea who was having what, etc.

                    Overall? A nice place to sit during the day, but not worth coming back for dinner. Will probably try the brunch.

                    1. re: crawfish

                      We went to Cucina after reading the Toronto Life review that said it was good, I have to agree with the others on this board who say it's not that great. I had the veal canneloni that Toronto Life mentioned in the article as being flavourful...I have to say the dish was very bland in my opinion. With all the great Italian restaurants in the area and city, I don't think this place warrants a second visit.