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Looking for quaint, rustic Italian

wolfdiablo Nov 5, 2007 06:24 AM

My boyfriend and I are heading to Toronto for the weekend and are looking for good Italian food in a quaint, rustic, cozy atmosphere. Suggestions?

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    Yum2MyTum RE: wolfdiablo Nov 5, 2007 07:06 AM

    Try Terroni on West Queen West. I don't know if I'd call it quaint - but it's rustic and cozy. Plus it has great pizzas (best thin crust in T.O. according to this board) and lovely salads.

    720 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J1E8, CA

    1. h
      hungry_pangolin RE: wolfdiablo Nov 5, 2007 07:36 AM

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/425211 for a family-run place, Quattro Regazze.

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/101326 for a more wide-ranging discussion. More of it will probably tell you where you don't want to go.

      Happy hunting.

      1. s
        Snarf RE: wolfdiablo Nov 5, 2007 07:42 AM

        Grano on Yonge might work for you. Very rustic room, good food, wide selection of antipasti you can choose from as well.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Snarf
          Full tummy RE: Snarf Nov 6, 2007 10:40 AM

          I second the Grano recommendation. I have been to Quattro 4 Raggazze, and while it is good in many respects, it just doesn't have the same atmosphere. Grano has an excellent antipasti bar, it feels more Italian, and I highly recommend the white chocolate, raspberry tart for dessert. Also, Terroni can be excellent, but it strikes as a little too bustling and edgy.

          1. re: Full tummy
            Fwagra RE: Full tummy Nov 6, 2007 12:26 PM

            Agree with Grano. Great spot.

            1. re: Fwagra
              Full tummy RE: Fwagra Nov 6, 2007 06:30 PM

              Plus, it's in a fun area, with lots of little shops, if that's worth anything...

        2. JamieK RE: wolfdiablo Nov 5, 2007 08:11 AM

          How about the Kit Kat Italian Bar & Grill?

          Kit Kat
          297 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1J5, CA

          9 Replies
          1. re: JamieK
            wolfdiablo RE: JamieK Nov 5, 2007 08:17 AM

            I've heard mixed reviews about the food - your opinion?

            1. re: wolfdiablo
              Mila RE: wolfdiablo Nov 5, 2007 09:19 AM

              Kit Kat atmosphere is fun, fun fun. Food is middling to dire.

              1. re: Mila
                tartetatin RE: Mila Nov 5, 2007 09:29 AM

                What about Marcello's on St. Clair West at Dufferin. Good pizza and pasta selection, cozy atmosphere (depending where you sit - there is a wood-fired oven in the back) and you can order most dishes as half orders and split things, as I recall. Not downtown though.

                1. re: tartetatin
                  foodiemommy RE: tartetatin Nov 5, 2007 09:31 AM

                  Anybody been to Marcello's who can give a recent review? I haven't been in several years...

                  1. re: foodiemommy
                    icey RE: foodiemommy Nov 5, 2007 12:11 PM

                    I have been only to Marcellos new location outside of Vaughan Mills, and have been many times in the last several months. The food is very fresh, I have always had great food. Soups are good, specials are interesting. It is simple Italian food, made to order, pretty quickly so there are no risottos on the menu. There are antipasti, pizza, pasta, and some mains. They make a WONDERFUL and light homemade tiramisu; all their other desserts they buy (such as LaRocca cakes, etc). In the many times that I have eaten there, I have had just one underwhelming meal which was a seafood pasta; the pasta was too aldente, not well seasoned, and the sauce was a bit liquid, fish was not bad but not great. That seems to be a one off because I have had it after that and it was very good.

                    1. re: icey
                      pescatarian RE: icey Nov 5, 2007 12:48 PM

                      I used to eat at the Marcellos on St. Clair regularly many years ago. I was at the Marcellos at Vaughan Mills once last year and the pizza was not nearly as good as it was at the original location. Now I haven't been to the original location in years, so I don't know if it is still good. However, it used to be great. The pizza at the new location wasn't bad, just not great.
                      The best part of the meal at the new Marcello's was the salad - I think it's called the Marcello house salad. Simple but good.
                      Also, both locations don't strike me as cozy. The old location could be considered quaint, I suppose. Busy and noisy in it's heyday. The new location is very big and bright, if I remember correctly and not "romantic" in my opinion (if you need atmosphere to create romance.

                      1. re: pescatarian
                        mikeb RE: pescatarian Nov 6, 2007 06:33 AM

                        I agree with your sentiment. I go to the St Clair Marcellos five or six times a year. I really like their pizza and their pasta is pretty good. Their wine list is basic. If anything it's more of a downscale trat.

                        I would not describe Marcellos as rustic, quaint, cozy or romantic--especially on a weekend night, when it's full. The tables are close together. Some are too close to the line of people waiting to sit down. On weekends it's a great place to go and chit chat with a few friends or with your family. They handle small children well. There are always some in the restaurant for the early dinner rush. During the weekend it is a little quieter.

              2. re: wolfdiablo
                JamieK RE: wolfdiablo Nov 5, 2007 12:05 PM

                It's been a while. I don't remember the food being awful. But it was more the atmosphere that stuck in my mind.

              3. re: JamieK
                hungry_pangolin RE: JamieK Nov 6, 2007 04:43 AM

                KitKat.... good atmosphere, utterly forgetable food.

              4. Rabbit RE: wolfdiablo Nov 5, 2007 09:32 AM

                - Second the Terroni rec, and Yum's description is apt. It can feel a little close and busy, but the food is great, and you won't be bankrupt.
                - I liked The Big Ragu... probably cozy-er and slightly more romantic.
                - Two others come to mind... Five Doors North used to have great food with a very fun, even kinda sexy atmosphere... and I have had good experiences at La Bruscetta, which has more of an old world feel, but still casual and cozy... however it's been a while since I've been to either of these spots, so you might want to do more investigating on these two.

                1. Googs RE: wolfdiablo Nov 6, 2007 09:20 AM

                  Were I looking for quaint, rustic, cozy, downtown, and Italian I'd probably go to Fieramosca. Just make certain to ask for a table by one of their fireplaces. The table by the fireplace upstairs in the smaller room can be quite nice for canoodling and noodling. It also leaves you in the right location for cocktails at the Park Hyatt Rooftop. Unbelievably romantic little lounge.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Googs
                    RYP RE: Googs Nov 6, 2007 10:54 AM

                    My friend and I just discovered The Big Ragu (www.thebigragu.com) on Lansdowne. Great service and food. Small, cosy restaurant.

                  2. c
                    Chicken Teriyaki Boy RE: wolfdiablo Nov 6, 2007 01:11 PM

                    Tutti Matti is pretty quaint and cozy... The food is rustic Tuscan and among the best Italian in the city.


                    Tutti Matti
                    364 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V1R7, CA

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Chicken Teriyaki Boy
                      auberginegal RE: Chicken Teriyaki Boy Nov 6, 2007 01:41 PM

                      second tutti matti. one of the servers is a really funny guy. i've always enjoyed the food there.

                      1. re: auberginegal
                        millygirl RE: auberginegal Nov 6, 2007 02:00 PM

                        What about Fusilli? It might be a good choice. It's quiet, reasonably priced, quaint and cozy, at least it was. Anybody been since the reno?

                        1. re: millygirl
                          Googs RE: millygirl Nov 6, 2007 02:06 PM

                          I have. It's still quiet & cozy. I do miss the local artists' work on the walls even if it wasn't always good and boy oh boy I miss the red & white checkered tablecloths. Still fab food. Still a very friendly Guiseppe.

                        2. re: auberginegal
                          Rabbit RE: auberginegal Nov 7, 2007 02:31 AM

                          I'd forgotten about Tutti Matti... definitely agree with this rec.

                        3. re: Chicken Teriyaki Boy
                          bigfatbroad RE: Chicken Teriyaki Boy Nov 6, 2007 06:08 PM

                          I agree with this endorsement. Tutti Matti has been very good every time I've gone... at least 10 times without a complaint.

                        4. Full tummy RE: wolfdiablo Nov 6, 2007 06:36 PM

                          Any idea where you're staying, or what area/kind of area you'd like to spend your time in, as that might help narrow things down...

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Full tummy
                            wolfdiablo RE: Full tummy Nov 7, 2007 03:15 AM

                            Staying on Richmond St. East - will mostly be around the downtown area. Lookingn for good Italian food, reasonably priced in a warm cozy atmosphere. I hate those cold posh places with no personality.

                            1. re: wolfdiablo
                              millygirl RE: wolfdiablo Nov 7, 2007 04:28 AM

                              Then definitely Fusilli would be your spot. Family run, very small and quaint. Good food too! And like Googs said, owner is a great guy.

                              1. re: millygirl
                                Googs RE: millygirl Nov 7, 2007 07:24 AM


                                1. re: millygirl
                                  Googs RE: millygirl Nov 7, 2007 07:25 AM

                                  Oh and:

                            2. t
                              torontokeywest RE: wolfdiablo Nov 7, 2007 07:12 AM

                              The Big Ragu. I havent been in years, but it was great and is still there which means something. Small, personable....http://www.thebigragu.com/

                              1. Rudiger RE: wolfdiablo Nov 7, 2007 07:41 AM

                                This is a reply from another Italian post:

                                I've always enjoyed Gamberoni (3238 Yonge St.).

                                Very nice and cousy atmosphere with your typical checker-board table cloth.

                                I've been going there for the past 6 or 7 years and I've never been disappointed. Always excellent and consistent food and service with reasonable prices.

                                I've always been a fan of their shrimp diavolo, as their tomato sauce is out of this world.

                                Also, their Ossobuco is beyond description. While it's not always on the menu, if you stumble across it, you won't regret ordering it.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Rudiger
                                  phoenikia RE: Rudiger Apr 10, 2008 07:12 PM

                                  Tried Gamberoni tonight and I really enjoyed my meal. Tasty, rustic food, generous servings and friendly service. I tried the antipasto plate (prosciutto, provolone, olives, roasted peppers, grilled zucchini and grilled eggplant), and their gnocchi gorgonzola, which were specials on their blackboard. Maybe not a destination restaurant, but certainly a good place if you're looking for homestyle Italian cooking when you're close to Yonge & Lawrence.

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