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Mar 28, 2009 06:43 AM

Franco Agostino, where are you?

Has anyone heard of him surfacing yet? After the odd, quick ending of Franco's I haven't been able to get wind of him. You can't run/own Il Posto, Caffe Doria, and Imperia and then just disappear can you?

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  1. Franco's on Yonge, just south of St. Clair. I think he might actually be in the kitchen, too. The chef from Imperia has been cooking at Lolo for some time.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Snarf

      Someone here posted that Frank sold the place. You mean you've seen him? He's really there and I've been missing out for an entire year? Last time I use anything other than my eyes and feet to figure things out. Thank you Snarf. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

      1. re: Googs

        Franco wasn't in the kitchen when I had brunch at Franco's last fall. I got the impression that he was no longer involved with Franco's.

        The brunch is fine if you want a basic breakfast and you're near Yonge & St. Clair, but it isn't worth a detour. I haven't been back for lunch.

        If you do go at brunch time, I'd recommend that you stick with the standard offerings- the breakfast burrito is not one of the strengths at the current Franco's. That being said, I should have known better, breakfast burritos are usually a disappointing choice in TO. The cappucino was good.

        AFAIK, Franco's sister currently owns Caffe Doria.

        1. re: phoenikia

          Franco's an old friend. He's had a rough year & is lying low, out of the biz for now. He's relaxing, travelling & regrouping. He has no plans, for the moment, of getting back into the resto biz.

          1. re: Prok

            Saw Franco at the opera recently nuzzled up to a gorgeous blondeā€¦ he didn't look like he was having a "rough" anything to me... I heard him talking to some people at intermission about opening up somewhere around Centro. I didn't catch the details, but I noticed it last week whilst in my car and it's already buzzing... The first thing I thought of was cheap Green P parking across the street. Yey! Also saw a piece by Joanne Kates in the North Toronto Post mentioning his new place... I'm checking it out next week... Looking forward to finding out what he's got up his sleeve this time. We need something cool like this uptown. Have you checked it out yet?

    2. He's opening a new restaurant Agostino's at 2497 Yonge St.

      4 Replies
        1. re: Googs

          Agostino's has been open for about 2 weeks now. Was there last weekend. Food was fantastic! Pricing is good as well. This will likely become a frequented spot for us.

          1. re: ckg

            What did you eat? Which dishes were fantastic? What's on the menu?

            1. re: phoenikia

              We stopped in for a quick meal before heading to a movie. I had the Spaghetti and meatballs...it wasn't very heavy and a smaller portion so next time I will try an app as well. My husband had the ravioli (ricotta and asparagus). He said it was delicious. The menu isn't large, which is nice. Frank spent most of last year in Italy gathering new recipes....the food is light and not heavy italian.

      1. Okay, somebody make with the website already.

        1. Now that Franco's place has been open for a bit, I was wondering if anyone has been recently and what their experience was like. I hope to check it out in the next week or 2.

          3 Replies
          1. re: north_yorker

            The real one you're searching for is Agostino's, 2497 Yonge St abut 4 blocks north of Eglinton. He is not at Franco's.

            1. re: Googs

              Sorry Googs. I meant Agostino's as in Franco's new place, Agostino's. I can see the confusion I caused. Have you been?

              1. re: north_yorker

                Not yet. Big time on the 'to-do' list. Will post when I do. Panache and pasta is a great combo.

          2. my friends checked out Agostino's and they loved the food. I was told to try the octopus for an appetizer and then move on to the gnocchi oxtail or fettucine bolognaise for a main and then try the berries for dessert

            13 Replies
            1. re: melvynflynt

              Hubby and I were there about a month ago. I wanted to wait until after a 2nd visit to post, but since cat and bag have been officially separated here's what I recall:

              The menu features both traditional and modern dishes. The wine list is fairly short, well chosen, and quite reasonably priced. (I wish I could be more specific, but as I said this was about a month ago and I'm only on my first coffee.) I guess Agostino learned a few more lessons about Torontonians from his Imperia experience. I was always disappointed that there was ever a need to print "20 minute wait" on that menu next to the risotto. Dishes seem focused on what can be delivered swiftly. And deliver he does. Hubby & I enjoyed our meals immensely. We will definitely return soon. Next time I promise to write things down. Honest.

              Service was quick and professional. While our server wasn't particularly knowledgeable about the wine list, he made a good effort to get answers for us.

              The room is deep with plenty of comfortable banquettes. At the midway point of the room, there's a service table as one might see in many restaurants in Italy. He could have stuffed another table there easily. Instead he added a functional decor piece. Tall mirrors line the walls with the interesting side effect that, at least where we were seated, we could see what everyone else was eating.

              I understand that Agostino will be making use of the basement by turning that into a pizza grotto with a more casual vibe, menu, and drinks list. Given his talent, it will be really troublesome for me to decide to dine upscale upstairs or downscale downstairs. Hmmmmm.

              Note to Mr Agostino: Get a website.

              1. re: Googs

                Quite the review there Googs! Food, wine service, decor and even what is to come! Thanks for all that!
                Franco knows food & the restaurant business too.
                I think I will have to give it a try!

                1. re: Googs

                  Yes..He needs a web site and needs to come up with better management strategies. My friend went by a week ago and told me how the place was packed and it seemed like Mr Agostino was under staffed. There were only 2 servers and no bartender but they pulled through. Apparently tuesday was never a busy night until he posted an ad somewhere. My friend was disappointed in having to wait 20mins for an appetizer. He walked by the kitchen and noticed how the garde manger was trying his best to wash pans and get appetizers ready because the dishwaher was stuck washing plates down stairs and Franco was still giving the poor gentleman a hard time instead of jumping in to help the kitchen.

                  He has been talking about using his basement for the past 4 months once business picks up. I hope he suceeds because he seems like a sincere guy though I've heard people describe him someone that's cheap and likes to cut corners

                  1. re: melvynflynt

                    A posted menu might also help. I've walked by (not easy with all the construction) and didn't enter as I didn't know what was offered nor the prices. It was closed at the time, so I couldn't even go in and ask to see a menu.
                    Not posting a menu is one of my biggest bugbears - what are they afraid of?

                    1. re: estufarian

                      There is a menu by the entrance.....the construction going on by yonge and eg has hurt a lot of restaurants....I went to Centro last week and there was only 8 people

                      1. re: estufarian

                        So, we went for dinner this weekend. The menu is very small. Reminds me of Imperia. To my taste there was not a lot of option, especially among the appetizers. I had the ricotta and asparagus ravioli, it was ok, however bland. The place was not very busy. They have whole fish, which we tried, and some veal dishes.

                        1. re: ddelicious

                          I went last night. I don't mind menu being small, but the food was just bad. Bland dishes all around. Portions weren't too small, but the pasta dishes are just that, pasta and nothing else. My gnocchi with oxtail came with 3 finger tip sized pieces of oxtail total, and the gnocchi was completely overcooked to the point that it was pure mush and it was hard to even pick it up with a fork. The most disgusting gnocchi I have ever had. Shocking since I have read so many good reviews from other visitors. Maybe no chefs work on Thursdays. The free bread is fantastic though. None of my other 3 friends liked their dishes either.

                      2. re: melvynflynt

                        That's an odd experience. I've personally witnessed Agostino rolling up his sleeves and pitching in on the floor serving and clearing tables. He had a very good rapport with his employees at Imperia. Being good to his staff is one of the reasons I dine at his restos. I love supporting the nice guys.

                        1. re: Googs

                          Franco is most certaily old-school - he's in the business because it's in his blood. Rolling up his sleeves and doing what needs to be done is what he does. While everyone knows that a website is a must, sometimes the small guys just can't get it together. A small-scale, hands-on resto, with the owner doing front & back, often they can't find the time to get the whole website thing happeneing. There is great food a-foot at many places that don't have the infrastructure available to have fancy websites built. Yea, I know, websites are cheap these days, but if your passion is food, websites go by the wayside.
                          What has happened to the concept of great food, beautifully presented & not a lot of bull&^(*. What about trying to give a leg up to great restauranteurs with a new project?? Word of mouth people! Are we so computer dependant that we can't swear by a restaurant that doesn't have a great website? Isn't that what we're trying to do with CH?

                          1. re: Prok

                            Ironic given that you're using your computer to post this. Nobody requires bull. Just an address, phone number, and hours.

                            1. re: Googs

                              I didn't say I had any problem with computers. Was simply defending Franco and the fact he doesn't have a website.