Baldini on Queen St. E.
I went to Baldini yesterday with my girlfriend. We enjoyed the experience. Luckily we made reservation because the place was fully booked (weekend night). The owner had to turn away some walk-in customers.
The setting and atmostphere was nice and soothing: They dim the lights, lit a candle, played some michael bubble music. It's a small and cozy restaurant with about 38 seats and ~11 small tables. Good for small groups of 2 or 4. They can also stick some table together for a party of 10.
The service is good and bad. When we arrived at 7pm, it was about 20% full. There was the owner and another waiter who served us. The owner greeted us, listed today's special and took our order which we found very personal. However, by 8pm when all the guest arrived and it was operating at full capacity, they just didn't have enough people to serve us all so the service quality dropped significantly.
Food quality: varied but general good. First off, the bread is very good: fresh, good crust, whole grain, soft inside. We ordered grilled calamari, caprese salad, seafood linguini, and beef medallion with eggplant and pasta(special). The calamari was amazing, very fresh and very well grilled with flavour and served on greens. The caprese is just normal, so was the seafood linguini. But the beef tenderloin was very well made: juicy, flavourful, tender. That was a nice surprise. the pasta is good in Toronto standard (I have yet to find a pasta place as good as Italy standard in this city). We were served a lot of food that we could not finish it and didn't order dessert even though we wanted to.
Price: very reasonable for the amount and quality of food served. 2 appetizers, 2 main course, 1 soft drink and 1 glass of wine totaled to $79 incl tax excluding tip.
In sum (relative to cost):
Other notes and observations: Many of the customers are regulars, as the owner knew the guests by name, even the ones he turned away. they serve take-out and many people ordered pizza for take-out. Free parking on Queen after 6pm.
I hope this helps.
Baldini is okay, but we've never found it special. Early on they had a problem with recipes that just didn't come together despite decent ingredients. They've improved somewhat, but some of their specials are really weird. The pizzas and pastas should satisfy, but don't expect a life changing experience. The owner, who serves, tries hard to please, but can become extremely hyper when stressed.