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Alternative to Terroni?

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Any ideas as to where I could find an experience similar to Terroni? Casual atmosphere, homemade pastas and excellent pizzas. I have family driving in from out of town next month and the only time I could get a reservation at Terroni was 6pm, which may be too early given that they're driving from Chicago.

I'm thinking maybe the Big Ragu or Quattro Ragazze? How about the multitude of Italian spots on Yonge, north of Lawrence -- any gems there?

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  1. If you're looking for homemade pasta and delicious thin-crust pizzas, look no further than Imperia at 17 Yorkville Ave. Although it doesn't look casual to the, ahem, casual observer, the owner and his staff make each and every patron feel relaxed and comfortable. Frank Agostino, the owner, has a habit of greeting people at the door, hanging coats, making brief visits to all of the tables, and helping out his staff when they need it. Outstanding. I've dined in dresses and in jeans and never been treated any differently. Love it. One particular server, Don, has been just terrific at making suggestions that hit the mark of each diner at my table.

    No website (grrrr), but here's just one of the good reviews they've received. One inaccuracy I should point out is that this restaurant is in no way wheelchair accessible. There are 2-3 steps in and the washrooms are downstairs.
    http://www.eyeweekly.com/food/review/...

    1. I liked the Big Ragu, but can't recall whether they do pizzas. Same goes for Five Doors North, but I love their food and the atmosphere is really fun. There's always the Terroni south of St. Clair (I actually like that branch) if you want another Terroni option.

      1. If you're looking farther north, your best bets would be Five Doors North (s. of Yonge and Eglinton) or 7 Numbers (Avenue and Eglinton). Can't go wrong with either of those.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mackinni

          I don't think that either Five Doors North or Seven Numbers has pizza (but I stand to be corrected). Also, I wasn't too impressed with the new incarnation of Seven Numbers. In that same area, Autogrill has great pizzas (though far fewer options than Terroni) but I find the atmosphere to be somewhat lacking. Ferraro has pretty good pizza and a lot of options, but it's not Terroni quality IMO -- plus the restaurant is usually packed to the gills with kids (not that I dislike kids, but I prefer a slightly more subdued dining experience).

        2. There's a great pizza place in the same neighbourhood as the Big Ragu -- Marcello's. It's more casual than Terroni, but the pizza is comparable. Delicious! 1163 St. Clair West.

          2 Replies
          1. re: klawless

            I absolutely agree, but bear in mind that Marcello's does not take reservations - it might not be an issue on a Monday night, but it sounds like you're looking for some certainty. The pizzas we had were fantastic (Pizza alla Compagniola with spicy sausage, eggplant and peppers - and another whose name I don't remember, which involved gorgonzola and zucchini). I would also say that the tiramisu is the best that I've had outside my dad's kitchen.

            1. re: wickalicious

              Yeah, I need someplace that takes reservations -- this is for a party of 6 on a Friday night.

          2. I couldn't get a table at the new Terroni (former Courthouse) last Sat night. So we went one block south west to MERCATO. The food was surprisingly good! Interesting bruscetta samplers and good pizza.
            It was cheap and the waiter/sommelier was pouring very large testing glasses. Lots of food and wine was $90 all included.

            2 Replies
            1. re: ajf

              Glad you liked it!
              Mercatto never disappoints!
              I'll also add they make a true authenticate delicious Italian Cappuccino.

              1. re: ajf

                I only really enjoyed the pizzas at Terroni's and the pizzas at Mercatto are as good if not better. The sandwiches at Mercatto are also tasty. I have not tried their pastas. The service at Mercatto is so much better than Terroni's that I am amazed that I ever tolerated the snotty service at Terroni's. On my last visit to Mercatto, the server offered to substitute an item on a pizza! Mercatto cuts their pizzas! The servers are efficient and yet still friendly. I have never experienced any attitude even when there has been a full house.

              2. Marcello's or L'Unita, althought the latter is red hot right now, so it is constantly full. Great food though.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ilpalazo

                  I had thought of L'Unita as well, but I find the atmosphere less casual than Imperia. The friendly, good-natured Imperia staff really makes a difference. Just making a reservation is a pleasure.

                2. For excellent pizza and good Italian food (including lots of pasta) uptown, I recommend Camarra on Dufferin St. (south of Lawrence Ave.). Their thin-crust pizzas are AMAZING. The atmosphere is casual but nice and they have a patio in warmer weather.

                  http://www.camarra.com/

                  -----
                  Camarra
                  2899 Dufferin St, Toronto, ON M6B3S7, CA

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: toveggiegirl

                    I second the above recommendation. It's a little off the beaten path but Camarra's fits all the criteria you listed and the quality is definitely there to justify the minor trek to Dufferin/Lawrence. I've been there a few times since last fall and I'm always quite satisfied. Great value too.

                  2. Thanks, everybody!

                    Unfortunately, Seven Numbers on Eg doesn't take reservations on Fridays.

                    Regardless of where I end up with my family, I'm looking forward to trying many of these places out on my own!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: TorontoJo

                      What about Lil' Baci. The menu isn't as big as Terroni, but the pizza is fantastic. Great casual atmosphere, nice little place. Not sure if they take reservations or not.

                      1. re: kmoore

                        I second the Lil' Baci recommendation. I believe they take reservations, but perhaps only for groups. Your party of six may be large enough to justify a reservation.

                        I also like Grazie on Yonge north of Eglinton but I'm not sure if they take reseravations.

                        1. re: foxymoron

                          I agree with Grazie. I've got some family visiting from another country, and I'm thinking of taking them there. Pasta was al dente, tomato sauces excellent. I dont know how homemade it is .. but it was just excellent, the 2 times I've gone. Terroni's, I've been once. I think they're the ones that do better in the pizza department. Grazie, better with the pasta department.

                           
                           
                    2. Hope this isnt too late, but I think that Mangia & Bevi fits the bill pretty well. The pizzas are outstanding, they have very few pastas but what they have, they make well. Salads are large and tasty. The atmosphere is awesome! I love it. Its a casual, neighbourhood type place.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: icey

                        I second Mercatto on Toronto street! It's our favourite restaurant in the city. Tried Quattro Ragazze the other day and was really disappointed. The pasta was tasteless and soggy. I'm not sure why it has such great reviews - it's mediocre at best.

                        1. re: Popdoggy

                          QR gets positive reviews because it offers a good experience in a neighbourhood where there isn't much choice. It's not a destination spot.

                          I didn't find the pasta tasteless and soggy but in fact found the pasta tasty and the sauces and bread and appetizers very good. And in this neighbourhood, that's good enough.