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Jan 4, 2009 07:11 PM

Vannis : Italian, St.Clair & Christie - a quick review

I am surprised that no other Chowhounds have discovered or commented on this small but worthwhile Italian restaurant. (Open for about six months).

The ambiance is certainly not "haute cuisine" but the food certainly exceeds one's expectations from this Bar come Bistro on the North side of St.Clair just East of Christie.

Three of us ate lemon scallopini accompanied by superb sweet potato and spinach; Hawaian pizza with an appropriately crisp and thin crust; calamari and shrimp with spicey mayo; a rich risotto of Italian sausage & sun-dried tomato; plus a portion of cuban lobster tail & filet; rounded off with a soft Tiramisu to die for. Yes, we were pigs!

Total cost including tip but excluding wine less than $100!

Although it might appear that we ate everything on the menu, in fact there was plenty to choose from that we didn't manage to try. (One of the several enticing sounding fish dishes for example.)

Service was surprisingly quick given the complexity of our order and despite the fact that there were several other tables full.

Overall a very decent place to eat although not necessarily a romantic environment being busy e.g TV screens with sports on them and families.

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  1. good to know as my mom lives close by. i will give it a try and pass along my comments

    1. Is this the restaurant next door to the (recently closed) Marcket Fine Foods?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Tatai

        Yep! That's the one. 627b St. Clair Ave. West.

      2. I started a post awhile back searching for the best calamari, and when I read your post I had to go try Vanni's myself. It is spectacular! Crunchy calamari and shrimp deep fried but not at all oily, with some sort of lemon red pepper spicy aioli.
        I reccomend to all calamari fiends!

        1 Reply
        1. re: HerMajestyPrincessBaklava

          i had dinner on thursday night and was not disappionted....we started with the fried calamari which was very good and if you like a sauce to dip the calamari in, the dip they have is excellent...i had the special which was a selection of seafood (didn't like the shrimp) in a lovley sauce and with pasta. one of my fellow diners had a chicken wrap...unlike no chicken wrap i have ever had...full of flavour..sundried tomatoes, cramelized onions, was outstanding...the soup was carrot ginger and was very good..we ordered a plain pizza with feta, which stood out on its own as wonderful....but the best thing was the service...two of our diners asked to share orders so the waitress brought each order in two seperate bowls for the soup, plates for the salad and pasta...when one of our diners asked for a touch of hot water to top up her cappucino she did so with more of the hot water filler of our diners was 8 so when he ordered our first course she asked if we would like my sons dinner brought out then so he wouldn't have to wait for ours.....that is gold when dining with children...we all agreed that for the money vanni's is worth every dollar....p.s...we sat at the front by the wall of glass....very cold...those of us who had their backs to the glass were all wearing coats...

        2. I walked by this place a couple of times, but when I read how many items were on their menu, I decided to give it a miss. I have never had luck with places whose menus were more than 4 pages.

          However, judging from your comments, I may have jumped to a conclusion... I will hope to give it a try in the next few weeks.

          1. Thank you Ribboy, an enriching addition to the original review, appreciated.

            1 Reply
            1. re: AzulH

              I just tried this place a couple of weeks or so ago with a friend who's gone many times since it opened...Gosh!! It was terrific!...I had the Mushroom Risotto and a Caesar Salad...great taste (fresh, crunchy Romaine, homemade croutons and decent size shaved parmigano (sp?)in a zesty dressing. The Risotto was done perfectly and was incredibly rich (so much so, that I took some home..couldn't eat it all in one sitting!) My friend had a filet of Salmon and (can't remember if it was) cous cous and an appetiser & she said it wasreally tasty, the salmon perfectly cooked!...We didn't drink (alcohol)or have a dessert ...the Bill was very reasonable, only $42.The service was awesome , helpful and very pleasant (no pushing of the 'bar') I am so glad it's in my neighbourhood so to speak...I will return very soon and hope to make it one of my 'neighbourhood' stand by's if it is always this good.

              p.s. word to the wise..St. Clair West at Christie is still a MAJOR mess..go up Christie instead of along St.Clair (street parking on Christie).