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Best Italian within 15 min drive of Yonge/Steeles

I'd prefer freshly-made pasta, but it's not a deal-breaker.

I've tried Mezza Notte, Il Fornello, Paizano's, Tutto Bene and haven't been too wowed with any of those. They're not bad, but nothing special. I've been to Italy twice in the last two years and now have higher expectations of my Italian.

So, are there any others to consider in the area? (BTW, Terra is too pricey for me!)

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Ciccio sandwiches on Yonge north of Lawrence is good, economical Italian that would be within 15 minutes of Yonge/Steeles- (but not during rush hour). Great veal and eggplant sandwiches,and they have pasta specials every day. More of a take-out atmosphere, though.

    I haven't tried Lokshen Alfredo- but it would be another option in North York.

    Terra offers a $35 prix fixe on Sundays; would that also be too pricey?

    1. Le Navi Ristorante at 4120 Steeles Ave. West is a pretty good Italian restaurant that should just fit your 15 minute limit.

      1. I haven't been in quite a while but Mazzone on Yonge north of Sheppard was fantastic when we went.


        4 Replies
        1. re: Davwud

          The difficulty with so many of the Italian joints in Toronto is that many are perfectly adequate but not particularly memorable. For example, the joints already mentioned on this thread. So let me suggest two spots, that I've noted several times before on other, similar threads, that I find to be above the usual standard for Italian cuisine in the area. I patronize them regularly and find both eminently satisfying and thoroughly enjoyable. Both are probably within the 15-minute driving range you've requested, though perhaps not during rush hours (which seem to be all the time at this time of year). The best of the two is Coppi, on Yonge St. between York Mills Rd. and Lawrence Ave. It's somewhat higher priced than many others in the area, but that's because it's better than the others. Still, with careful selection of starters and entrees, and going with the house wine (better than most of the crummy house wines in Italian joints), you can get out of there for substantially less than $100, tax and tip included. You'll find no pizza on the menu, but well-executed pastas prevail (I like the anchovy-spiked spaghetti puttanesca) and there are a number of extremely good (and unusual) entrees. A comfortable spot, nicely laid out, with large tables that are well-spaced, and professional service. Service is even better when Fausto, the owner, is in attendance, as he usually is. You can park on the nearby side streets off Yonge, though the resto also has valet service, if you trust your car to a car jockey (I never have).
          There's another Italian spot I like on Bathurst St., north of Wilson, which is a cut below Coppi in quality, but lower in price as well - especially if you take advantage of its free corkage on bring-your-own-wine most nights of the week (I think Saturday night is the only night they don't allow it, but you should check), this despite a large, fairly-priced wine list of its own. It's called Paese. Not as traditional in its cooking style as Coppi, but accomplished nonetheless. Good pizza and pastas, nicely-done soups, salads and starters, tasty entrees (I'm particularly attracted to the liver and Cornish hen). A pleasant, vaguely modern room staffed, usually, by competent, seasoned pros. If you bring your own wine, it'll cost you $50-$85 a couple, tax and tip included, depending on what you order. There's a small parking lot in front of the plaza in which Paese is located, but it's usually full, so just park on the first street north of the plaza running east off Bathurst.

          1. re: juno

            I have found Paese very overpriced since the new owners took over.

            5 years ago, I would agree with you 100%, but now...not so much.

            I do agree with you on Coppi, it is very good.

            Davwud: Unfortunately Mazzone is long gone. The owners sold the restaurant to the staff who summarily destroyed it (fired the chef, changed the menu, etc.). I had always wondered if the owners ever re-opened, but I never heard anything.

            1. re: lcohen999

              Paese has new owners? When was this? Such a change has totally escaped me. I thought it was still owned by Tony L., who - I think - also still owns the catering outfit next door. In fact, I think I saw Tony waiting tables a few months back - though I agree the room was dark and I may be mistaken. Still, I haven't noticed much upward push in prices over the past few years, certainly no more than most other joints around town. And the quality seems the same, though some recipes - like the Cornish hen - have changed slightly. The liver is still the same as it always was, and no more than a dollar or two more than it was several years ago. If you order the veal chop, however, you'll definitely notice a price differential from a few years back, but pretty much the same as other places. But then, I've never ordered the veal chop.

          2. re: Davwud

            When was that? Can you tell us a little more? Thanks!

          3. Dante's, at Yonge & Baythorn, is pretty good, though a bit pricey. I can't vouch for their pasta, but the pizza is amazing.

            1 Reply
            1. re: halcyon1234

              Dante's is the most overpriced and overrated Italian food in Toronto. I can do as well at home.

            2. Terra is good, though expensive. My picky daughter and her husband liked it.
              8199 Yonge Street, Thornhill - (905) 731-6161
              They have an Oyster Bar too.
              Menu and prices on http://www.terrarestaurant.ca/dmenu.html

              1. You can also try Alegno which just at Yonge and Avondale.

                Very good Pizza and a warm atmosphere

                1. Have you tried Ferrovia at the South end of the Longo's plaza at Bayview and Laureleaf? They have pretty decent pasta, and some other good options (pizza, fish, etc.) It is slightly better than Tutto Bene, for sure a better atmosphere, and may be worth a try for you. It is really close to Yonge and Stelees.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: mindyt

                    Agreed. They are a very nice place, if you you aren't expecting the world.

                    1. re: wordsworth

                      What are the best dishes at Ferrovia?

                      Does Ferrovia have a website? I tried googling it but couldn't find one.

                        1. re: JamieK

                          Thanks for all the replies. Juno hit it on the head when he said that the restos are good but not memorable. I've tried Coppi and while I can see why many like it, I find it overpriced and underwhelming. For those who have been, I'm looking for a restaurant that is like Yonge and Eg's Zucca but in the north end....

                          Terra's fixed price Sunday menu sounds the best--thanks for the suggestion!

                          Any other thoughts on Le Navi?

                        2. re: phoenikia

                          Tried Ferrovia tonight...gotta say I was a little disappointed. I tried the special tonight, a lamb loin chop on polenta with a fig reduction sauce. The lamb chop was cooked nicely, but the polenta was undersalted and the sauce was uninspired. A grilled shrimp starter, penne with sausage, 2 lamb specials, 1 tiramisu, 2 glasses of wine, 2 espressos and a bottle of water came to $150 before tip. Reasonably priced, but I like the food at Mezza Notte better.

                    2. Going west on steeles gets you 2 choices 1 enjoy:
                      La Risata http://www.larisatarestaurant.com/ is great for PESCE DEL GIORNO and always has a "pasta of the day".
                      Ristorante Trimonti http://www.tremontirestaurant.com/ is more upscale and always great.
                      I rate both of these above Paese & Tutto Bene.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: dancingTimmy

                        Should also add:
                        Rosa's Place: http://www.rosasplace.com/ (finch & 400) It is larger with an attached banquet hall so be prepared for some large parties.