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Negroni

Negroni has been alluded to a few times here (mostly by Rabbit), but I figured maybe it deserves a thread all its own.

I went there for dinner a couple of nights ago when I needed to kill time between work and a show down the street. I sat at the bar, ordered the "house cured tuna plate" and a glass of wine, and just had a very nice light dinner. It was just a simple salad of oil-packed tuna, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, green beans, basil, capers, and dressed very lightly. And honestly, it was far more satisfying than I expected it to be. Clean flavors that complimented each other well without being too salty, too oily, too cloying, too whatever. There was only one occupied table while I was there, and their sandwiches at least smelled amazing when they hit the panini press - no idea how they tasted because I'm not THAT nosy. I'm just happy to have found a place close to work where I can have a nice lunch and maybe a glass of wine at a reasonable price and leave happy - I'll probably be there a fair amount before the summer's over. It's a shame that the back patio isn't licensed, because it looked cozier for lingering with a book than the bar was. Didn't get a chance to try the ice cream yet, but got a prime view of the staff snitching it - might have to try it next time. I'm hoping they do most of their business at lunchtime, because I was in the neighborhood again last night and it was similarly deserted.

All I could think of while I was there was, "wow, this is such a...ME kind of place." :) Solid, simple, tasty...not pretentious, not trying too hard.

Specifics: menu includes a variety of panini and a few salads and other plates. Drinks available are a handful of whites, a larger handful (mittful?) of reds (all Italian) and one cocktail: the namesake. Most things around 10 bucks. Owned by the Sidecar folks.

http://www.negronipanini.com/

-----
Negroni
492 College Street, Toronto, ON M6G 1A4, CA

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  1. I do think Negroni is really great... in just the sort of comfortable, warm, and non-pretentious way you describe.

    The panini are very tasty with nice quality ciabatta, authentic Italian cheeses and meat (prosciutto, soppressata, fontina, provolone) and special extras like homemade pestos and mayos. The bufula and sundried tomato salad is a really tasty plate, and they do a nice cured meat platter too. The peanut butter ice cream is fab. And you can get a $20 bottle of wine!!!

    I'm sorry to hear that it wasn't that busy, and especially since it was the same way on our last visit. I really do hope that people give this place a shot because it really is a delightful cheap-and-cheerful addition to the neighbourhood.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Rabbit

      Peanut butter ice cream? $20 wine? I wasn't interested in checking it out because I'm not a big sandwich fan, but the salads sound great and if they have good value wine and home made ice cream, I may just have to!

    2. Thanks for posting about this place- will have to give it a try next time I'm in the area!

      2 Replies
      1. re: phoenikia

        And every sandwich comes with an arugula and shaved fennel salad...two birds, one stone for you! ;)

        1. re: Wahooty

          Perfetto! Thanks for letting me know, Wahooty;)

      2. We tried to go this past Sunday night (around 6:30 pm), but despite the website saying that they would be open, they were closed.

        1 Reply
        1. re: CarNut

          from www.negronipanini.com

          Tuesday to Saturday
          11:30am ▪ 9pm
          Sunday ▪ Open for Lunch

        2. We went there tonight after the Little Italy festival and had a wonderful time! A bottle of wine cost us $20. We were full but split the Segovia sausage panini. It was the perfect balance of flavors. The panini bread was light, airy, and crisp. The sausage had just the right amount of spice. It convinced us to stay for dessert and coffee. We ordered the homemade peanut butter ice cream, which was creamy and a peanut butter lover's dream. J thought it was one of the best ice creams he has had while in Toronto this year. I ordered a decaf cappucino, which was also delicious. The service was above average. We will definitely go back!

          2 Replies
          1. re: jjmuggs

            Yay! Please do! The last time I was there it was as vacant as ever. Really hoping they do a brisk lunch business, because otherwise I don't see them surviving.

            (This post brought to you by Wahooty and her selfish interests, because she will be working nearby for at least the next few months and needs more places like this handy.)

            1. re: Wahooty

              Don't say I don't do my part to help your cause. Negroni has a FB fan page.
              http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/pa...

              But don't do anything like copy & paste that link to your Status. I hear viral marketing doesn't work. ;-)

          2. Went here last night - would hate to see this place not survive.

            We had a fantastic meal at a great price. These are some of the best panini I've had in Toronto, if not THE best. And when it comes down to it, it's all about the quality of ingredients they are using.

            I had the segovia sausage panino, and the SO had the mozzarella/tomato/pesto. We both noted next time we come here we would probably get each other's instead. I really enjoyed the bread and the sundried tomato pesto on mine, but his blew me away. Very simple ingredients, but it's freshness and flavour pleased my discriminating Italian tastebuds. SO also had the peanut butter ice cream (I had a tiny bite, not a fan of peanut butter), and he loved it.

            Friendly service, and I also loved the interior - the pews and school chairs are great. Unfortunately we were the only ones for most of the time there. Only one other man came by himself while we were there. Lots of people looked at the menu and walked away, which I might have done too if I hadn't read such great things. I think they will get lots of repeat customers though - I know I am going back!

            1. Just had the nicest lunch at Negroni. Sat on the tiny patio (2 tables in front, though there is a pretty little patio out back, too) and watched College St. go by. I had the Segovia sausage, carmelized onions and sundried tomato pesto panino, hubby had the sausage and egg brunch panino. Real, fresh squeezed OJ for me and a damn fine Americano for him. The panini were wonderful -- crisp, savory, cheesy. The service was friendly and attentive. Add in the Saturday paper, and I couldn't have asked for a nicer way to spend a couple of hours on a beautiful Sunday. Oh, and I finally got to try the peanut butter ice cream. Yummy!!

              Thanks, Wahooty, for letting us know about this place! I never would have gone if not for all the great reviews in this thread.

              4 Replies
              1. re: TorontoJo

                And I would never have known about it if it hadn't been for Rabbit. :) I was last there on Thursday for a quick dinner after a VERY long day and had the Milano salami, goat cheese, black olive tapenade sandwich, along with a glass of wine and panna cotta for dessert. Everything was delicious - I like that they keep things simple, using very good ingredients. The place just relaxes me...probably at least partly because there were only three other tables in use, but also because the staff take good care of me while letting me have enough space to sink into my chair with my wine and my thoughts.

                1. re: Wahooty

                  Then a big "yay!" for Rabbit!

                  I should mention that they seem to do a solid lunch business on Sunday. While the place wasn't full, there was a regular stream of people in and out.

                  1. re: TorontoJo

                    I went for a brunch-time meal last Saturday, with my girlfriend. We split two paninis. Both were excellent. We had the segovia sausage (is that the brand?--it was a tasty and spicy sausage, sliced thick enough that it didn't disappear), roasted onion, red-pepper and fontina and a mushroom, sheep's milk, and arugula pesto. The side arugula salads could have used a bit more dressing, but otherwise everything was very simple and very wonderful. They use excellent bread and the tops of the sandwiches (cheese sides in both cases) managed to achieve that marvelous alchemy of crispy, (a tiny bit) greasy, and light all at the same time. I also had a negroni and---with no real basis for comparison--thought it was delicious. I will return with more friends for lunch/brunch and maybe go back for dinner to get some of that $20 wine. It feels like you are getting real food (i.e. ingredients and combinations that someone has put care into) at a very reasonable price. If this place closes I will be very sad. Skip Kalender; Negroni!

                    1. re: mstacey42

                      Segovia Meats is the local butcher shop that makes the sausage. I agree, it's yummy and just the right spice kick to make it interesting.

                      My arugula salad, which I thought was a perfect side to the panino, was dressed just right for me, but I could see how you might want a bit more dressing.

                      Good stuff all around -- I'm looking forward to going back soon.

              2. Any spot that can put two house wines on offer at $20 a bottle has my vote, and if the panini are good as well, so much the better.. Agreed, the wines, an Italian white and red, are not ethereal experiences, but they're drinkable enough to go with the mainly panini menu. Many other joints around town have them at $30 (and more) per bottle, which is pushing it for wines whose LCBO price is about $7.50 a bottle (deposit included). This place is a good backup plan in case Caplansky's Deli, several blocks east along College St., runs out (again) of its signature smoked meat sandwich, leaving Caplansky afficionados bereft. A slight mental readjustment - from smoked meat to panini, substituting one sandwich for another - a brisk walk or short drive west, and you're in the land of Negroni.

                1. Hiya hounds,
                  As a recent import to your fair city I am simply gobsmacked at how y'all are treating one of the best new restos around. I've been frequenting Negroni's for a few weeks now and am always surprised that it is never more than half full. Excellent, inventive paninis (for vegetarians too) served with a great, addictive arugula and shaved parm salad for 10 bucks? In a beautiful location? With great espresso (not microfoamed or anything but rock solid Italian style)? Not to mention lovely wines by the glass (again for a steal)....so what's the problem? I really don't understand why there aren't line ups at the door. Service is great too and no...I don't own the place but having driven ALL over Toronto for the past few months and explored all kinds of neighborhoods I've found this the best taste/value/atmosphere for both morning paper reading brunches and late night drinks dining. I'll be back in Montreal in a few months so it's naught to me but c'mon Toronto hounds.....if you let a place like this go under then you deserve to lose all chowhound cred.

                  -----
                  Negroni
                  492 College Street, Toronto, ON M6G 1A4, CA

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: daimon4

                    Yes, it's too bad they aren't busier, as it really is a great spot. Was there last weekend and chatted with our server, who I think may also be the manager as well. He tells me that they do good business mid-week and at lunch and weekend brunch, but are slow on Fridays and Saturdays. I'm guessing the neighbourhood locals like it for an inexpensive, casual dinner during the week. But I can certainly see how people would want something "fancier" than sandwiches for a weekend dinner out, no matter how good the sandwiches are (and they are really, really good). They are going to be on Open Table soon (may be on already), which they are hoping will help increase traffic.

                    I agree that the salad is addictive. My husband also had a fantastic puree of cauliflower soup last weekend. It is definitely shaping up to be one of my favorite read-the-weekend-paper spots. I still need to make it there for dinner.

                    Edited to add: I forgot to mention that I am absolutely obsessed with their peanut butter ice cream. It's a good thing that Negroni is not closer to where I live. I could eat it every day. Now if they came up with a cinnamon ice cream, I would be utterly screwed.

                    1. re: TorontoJo

                      The last time I was there, they had pumpkin pie ice cream. It was fabulous. The waitress told me that even if I didn't order it, I had to at least have a sample because it was THAT good. :)

                      They are officially on Open Table now, maybe that'll drum up more dinner business for them. I can't imagine making a reservation for a sandwich (and hope I never have to, as much as I want them to succeed), but hopefully it will get the dinner hour moving for them. Personally, I think it would be a great place for a first or second date - casual, candle-lit, not trying too hard.

                      1. re: Wahooty

                        Pumpkin pie ice cream sounds amazing!!

                        Thanks to daimon4 for reminding me that I haven't visited in a while and since I too really want to see this place succeed I'll try to have a wine-y lunch sometime this week.

                        Also, agree with Wahooty that this would be a great spot for a casual date (with a bit of romance).

                        1. re: Rabbit

                          I have to agree with all the posts above - I am truly shocked this place was empty on Saturday night when I went. Needless to say, this made for an amazing dinner for my table with extra attention from our server.
                          We were greeted nicely by the manager/server with a plate of delicious pate and panini pressed bread. Delicious :)
                          We had the cheese platter with fig spread, olives, 2 of the panini's and shared that with two bottles of wine (at 20 bucks a pop we could not resist). We were more there to chat and nibble, and hands down all of us agreed we would be coming back soon. Price point is awesome, food is not pretentious and delicious. I would recommend this place to anyone!

                  2. Just want to add my comment as well... we were there for lunch about a month ago and I ordered the Segovia Sausage Panini sans onions - but when it came, there were onions. We commented to the waitress at the end of the meal that they forgot to leave out the onions (she probably saw that I had pulled out all the onions too) she took it off the bill. Considering we only ordered 2 paninis, we thought that was too much so we gave extra tip. The gesture was much appreciated though.

                    About the food, both paninis were excellent and we definitely recommend this place.

                    PS: Like others, we too didn't see many customers there as the whole restaurant was almost empty that Saturday morning. Hopefully they'll stay in business because the food was very good.

                    1. And I would like to add that the paninis are fantastic the next day also. I had half a pancetta one and half a nutella/strawberry dessert one left over from an outing the previous evening and they were still delicious the next day. It's definitely a place worth returning to.

                      1. Wow, thanks to all you posters above.

                        I will definitely try this place out. Very exciting.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: mikefly

                          Please do go and go soon -- I want to see this place stay in business! But please also keep your expectations in check. Nothing worse than a hyped up restaurant to disappoint. :)

                          1. re: TorontoJo

                            Thanks for that.. it is still a sandwich I guess.

                            Best sandwich I've had in TO was at JUMP.. holy deliciousness.

                            -----
                            Best Sandwich
                            , London, ON N6B, CA

                        2. Made my second lunch visit in two weeks at Negroni yesterday. Yet another solid, enjoyable lunch. I tried the pancetta panino this time and it was yummy. The roasted tomatoes add so much flavour.

                          On my last visit, we received a small sampling of the mushroom, leek and kale soup, which was outstanding. On this visit, I didn't have room for dessert and told our server that I had been disappointed in the peanut butter ice cream on my last two visits (too much peanut butter). He brought out a spoonful of their current flavour -- chocolate gelato. OMG -- it was wonderful. Rich chocolate flavour, wonderful creaminess, but with the lightness of a gelato instead of the heavy density of an ice cream. They are constantly experimenting with their ice cream recipes, so consistency may vary until they find the perfect technique. But I will enjoy trying the results until they do! Now a peanut butter ice cream swirl in that chocolate gelato would be heaven for me...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: TorontoJo

                            Forgot to mention that I got a nutella, mascarpone cheese and strawberry panino to go yesterday and just ate it today. Heats up really nicely in the toaster oven.

                          2. On a seperate thread, Rabbit recommended this place. Finally tried it and I agree with everyone, its very good. Thank you Rabbit. There seems to be a strange math with restaurants, B+ + B+ = A, and B- + B- = C. Everything at Negroni is very simple: but the salad is very good; the panini is very good; service is professional, far better then one would expect at this price point; the ice cream is made in house; and espressos are very good. It adds up to a solid A.

                            1. Just had dinner here. STUPENDOUS.

                              Server was awesome and friendly - if it were busy, this may be less true, but I doubt it.

                              Potato and pancetta soup - holy toledo. Super filling, actually cancelled my panini.

                              Tried a couple bites of the buffalo mozz + pesto + tomato panini (something I'd never choose) and it was also amazing.

                              $5 wine = not mind blowing, but pretty good - and $5! (i.e. great value)

                              Choco ice cream = tasty

                              I'll be back soon to actually eat a panini.

                              As predicted, it was virtually empty. No idea why. Delish.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: mikefly

                                Whew -- glad you didn't have an "overhyped restaurant" experience. :)

                                BTW, I tried the two $5 wines (which are only $20 by the bottle -- where else can you find that?!), but I really don't care for them. They are very, very light reds (one is a sangiovese) and I want my reds to have body. For $2 more, get the chianti.

                                And @auberginegal, I think it's the type of place where if you ask, you will receive. I've been there 5 times in the last couple of months and, as you have probably figured out at the chowmeets by now, I'm very chatty with servers. So my samples have always come after I've asked about something or given an opinion.

                                And good god, I'm sorry if I'm starting to sound like a broken record about this place. It's just that it's my favourite lunch spot right now and I would be so bummed if they went under.

                                1. re: TorontoJo

                                  I got the impression they know it will take a while to get more regular business going - I've never even heard of Sidecar, but apparently it's mad popular, and also took a while to get going.

                                  Either way, I will go back for the segovia panini... and am now a negroni champion - I may make the office take me there for my birthday!

                                2. re: mikefly

                                  mikefly, I was there last night too. I thought I heard someone mention CH. :)

                                  And agreed with Jo about asking if you want to sample something. I've been offered samples a couple of times (once of a test batch of sorbet when I wasn't sure if I wanted dessert - the chef effectively talked me out of a dessert sale by giving me just the size taste I wanted) but always from different people - I don't think they see me as a regular yet, because I think I've had a different server just about every time I'm there. But if you ask for a taste before you order, I'm pretty sure they'd oblige.

                                3. based on such positive reviews from this thread, i checked out negroni for dinner the other night and really enjoyed it. the segovia sausage panini was tasty, i'd love to go back and try the other varieties. tried the nutella panini for dessert as well as peanut butter ice cream (though i wish i had tried the chocolate one, but the peanut butter just sounded so intriguing). i never asked for a sample of the ice cream to help me decide, but i was pretty conflicted about it and since there were no other diners in the restaurant, it would have been nice if that was offered to me (maybe this is only for 'regulars'?)

                                  in general, i found the salad that came with the panini a great side, the bread for the panini was fantastic, just the way i like it, crispy but light, and the interior had a bit of chew but not too much, and it held up really well for both sweet and savoury paninis. also tried the tomato-mozzerella-basil pesto dish which wasn't bad, the cheese was very creamy and there was good flavour in the pesto. i felt it lacked just a bit of 'something' to make it a really amazing dish, but no complaints.

                                  the place was really quite empty when i was there (sunday evening) and there were still moments when the service was spotty (i think friends of the people working stopped by so they were in conversation a lot),. with all that being said, i'd still go back and try other items.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: auberginegal

                                    Our lovely server gave us a scoop of both the chocolate and peanut butter ice cream tonight instead of making my dinner companion choose. Our paninis were delicious and I can't wait to eat my remaining halves (dinner & dessert ones) for breakfast tomorrow!

                                  2. Negroni is my new favourite place! Tonight we had dinner at 8:30 and the place was only half full. The inside is casual and cosy with old posters lining the walls and pew bench/banquets. It would be a great date place too, as the lighting is dim and it's not noisy or uncomfortably quiet. Oh, and the smell, it smells soo good - like butter and sizzling cheese!

                                    Our table of four started with a bowl of olives - tasty olive oil marinade, and plump excellent quality mixed olives.

                                    We ordered the tuna, the brasoala, the proscuitto and the mozza pannini and we all couldn't stop commented on how surprisingly tasty our "sandwich" meals were. The portions were generous and the accompanying salads were fresh and well dressed. The bread, as mentioned above, is wonderfully crunchy crisp without being greasy or tear-the-roof-of-your-mouth hard. The bread is also the perfect thickness and satisfyingly chewy, not at all heavy or doughy. We all agreed we'd like to come back and try the others on the menu.

                                    For dessert, we had the famous peanut butter ice cream which was not too sweet. I love it so much I'd buy it by the tub if it was available! One of my friends had the panna cotta which I tried and found quite small in portion and bland.

                                    The service was terrific. The water was always full, our meals all came quickly enough and we never felt rushed. My friend asked the waiter about the music and he not only found the song name and album title, he offered to burn the whole CD to USB for her. She thanked him and said she'd be back for sure but later he gave her a CD copy!

                                    I've been wanting to try this restaurant for the longest time as I'm relatively near by often enough and I'm so glad I finally did. I think it's great value (olive bowl, 4 panini, 3 desserts, a glass of wine and a beer for $90 before tip) and certainly one of the best places on the College St strip.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: chocabot

                                      Finally made it to Negroni for lunch today. All lived up to expectation per reports on this thread. We even got to eat outside in the sunshine, then had our coffees indoors. In order to taste more, my friend and I shared both the Prosciutto, taleggio, asparagus and the highly CH-touted Segovia sausage, fontina, slow roasted onions, sundried tomato pesto panini. Both were utterly delicious and served with a side of arugula salad whose dressing we both liked as well. When we asked our server what had happened to the fennel that was supposed to be in the arugula and fennel salad, he comped one dish of ice cream to compensate for the missing fennel. The chocolate ice cream was delicious and creamy, but the peanut butter was positively dreamy! Service was excellent throughout. I'll definitely be back.

                                      1. re: cuterscooter

                                        Negroni is a find.
                                        Very reasonably priced well made panini.
                                        Where else can you get a bottle of wine for $20?
                                        Lunch today was my first visit and look forward to the next and the next.
                                        Would never have visited the place without the "heads up" from much respected 'hounds, Wahooty, TorontoJo, Rabbit and Juno in this case.
                                        Thanks!

                                    2. Was there with partner last night around 830ish and there were only three other tables occupied. So much has been said about this place and all the rave reviews are dead on. It was an excellent meal.

                                      Started with the carrot soup and it was excellent and hearty. I ordered the steak and cheese panini and partner got the rosemary chicken and we just swapped halves which was fun. Both were excellent but the rosemary chicken was better by just a bit. Our $20 bottle of red was light but went well with the paninis. Ended with the famous peanut butter ice cream and partner got creamcicle, both were outstanding.

                                      Winter is finally here and this is perfect chilly Toronto night comfort food. I hope business picks up a bit because this is really a Toronto gem. Looking forward to going back and with the quality at the price point there's no reason not to be a regular here.

                                      1. Was there this afternoon/evening. We were the only ones there for lunch - but more people showed up during the afternoon - still no more than half full at any point. Then almost empty again after 6pm. A huge shame.

                                        The food and service were fantastic. We split the Segovia and the Prosciutto, smoked mozzarella paninis. Both excellent. Grazed on the olives and had a couple americanos. They were almost out of the peanut butter ice cream - but brought us free samples from what was left - we didn't even ask.

                                        My dining companion declared it "the best panini, ever", Ice cream was fantastic.

                                        I sure hope word gets out on this place. We will certainly be back - hopefully with a group.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: kayehm

                                          A quick update -- I got the office to jump in cabs to take me here for my birthday a few weeks back - and everyone loved it.

                                          I tried the Chianti ($10) - and didn't really feel it was worth twice the $5 glass.

                                          Tried 3 different paninis, and I have to say - although I'm a meatatarian, the best one was the buffalo mozzarella, tomato and pesto - which, let me tell you - is shocking.

                                        2. I want to add to the chorus of approval for Negroni. I've never eaten a better meal at that price level. Everything about this place is right.

                                          1. Lunch again today.

                                            Sadly, I now expect my lunch to be awesome, and am no longer surprised ;)

                                            I brought my parents, in from out of town, who both made changes to their paninis (even though I said the chef probably knew what he was doing when he made them) .. and both loved them anyhow - two very picky people.

                                            Best part -- 20+ people in the place for the majority of our meal.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: mikefly

                                              Ha, I was there for lunch today just after 1pm as well and couldn't believe how packed it was! They must have burnt a panini before we got there, as it was smokey and bit hazy when we walked in. Unfortunately, things must have been a bit crazy (they told us that the computer had gone down) and our panini took quite some time. But they were as delicious as always, and our guests really loved them as well. We ordered a nutella panini to share for dessert, and the waiter comped it make up for the long wait for our lunch. It's little things like this that will keep me coming back (besides the great panini, of course). Yay for good food and good service at good prices!

                                              1. re: TorontoJo

                                                Yay for it being busy too! I'll be taking those words back if it gets hard to get a table there. But glad to see others are aware of how awesome this place is so it doesn't go away.

                                            2. Just wanted to thank everyone for the great reviews of Negroni. We ended up going there a few nights ago based on all the great reviews. They didn't disappoint! The place was pretty packed. We had the ricotta spread and some olives to start. The olives were tasty and the ricotta spread was light and delicious. We then had the prosciutto, taleggio and asparagus panini as well as the segovia sausage panini. While both were great, the segovia sausage one was the winner, with sundried tomato and caramelised onions. For dessert, I ordered the peanut butter ice cream. My fiance claims not to like peanut butter but he ate half my ice cream, so that tells you how good it was. Highly recommended for a simple, nice meal in the College area.

                                              8 Replies
                                              1. re: bunnylicious

                                                Thumbs up for Negroni! What a lovely place with super nice staff. They were kind enough to indulge my grandmother with a folded up towel to cushion her elderly buns. They even doctored a panino for her tender tummy. 5 of us shared olives, chicken liver pate and carpaccio to start. The olives were delicious, as was the pate. I enjoyed the carpaccio but found the cheese shavings and arugula underseasoned. No matter, as they weren't the stars on the plate.

                                                For mains each of us had a different panino. I chose the Segovia sausage, which was really tasty. My SO had the Italian tuna with capers and hard cooked eggs. I thought the flavours were really pleasant but subdued (meaning I'd have chosen something different for him). My father went for the 3-cheese panino, which he enjoyed. My mother picked the Milano, with salami, goat cheese and black olive tapenade and my grandmother chose the goat cheese and asparagus but subbed some thinly sliced steak for the pepperonata. We shared a cheap and cheerful bottle of red and all left stuffed ... no room for dessert. My parents vowed to return for lunch and ice cream another time. I'm looking forward to trying the bufala mozzarella, oven dried tomato and basil pesto next time.

                                                Only one other table was filled at noon on Saturday, but most tables were occupied by the time our bill arrived.

                                                Has anyone tried the salt cod brandade on grilled polenta? I was hoping to try it but nobody else at my table was game. Oh well. Maybe next time.

                                                1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                  Negroni is delicious and both times I've been (weekday dinner), the restaurant has been less than half full. I feel I must extend my praise.

                                                  Simple quality ingredients at a reasonable price. I can't recall what was ordered on our first visit, but on our last visit, I ordered the mushroom/caprano panini, and my partner ordered the milano salami panini. We shared the tomato, bufala and pesto salad - it was one of our favourite 'caprese-esqe' dishes we've had in the city; considering tomatoes aren't exactly seasonal right now, that surely says a lot. Certainly recommeded to those looking for a simple, well-executed meal in the College/Bathurst area.

                                                  1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                    I've had the salt cod. I'm a fanatic and order anything salt cod on any menu I come across. I remember finding it to be very fresh and light for a dish that could end up being heavy given the ingredients.

                                                    1. re: maritimah

                                                      mmmmmmmmmm. I ♥ Negroni.

                                                      FYI sweetpea - the buffala is spectacular.

                                                      1. re: mikefly

                                                        Damn! I knew I should have had it this time (not that I was at all unhappy with my Segovia sausage). Next time = salt cod brandade on polenta and the bufala panino. Can't wait!

                                                        1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                          There's always next time :) .. I still haven't tried the steak - which would be my "go-to" option anywhere else.

                                                          1. re: mikefly

                                                            The steak is really good I had it the first time and would be glad to order it again. My only mild complaint was that on last visit there was a burned panini smell and it stayed with us for the rest of the night. I didn't notice this on first visit and may have been a fluke but it kinda hung with us when we went out for drinks after. So possibly there was a ventilation issue that night.

                                                            1. re: abigllama

                                                              I don't think this is uncommon - smoke anyhow - I have confidence either they'll find a solution, or I'll keep dealing with it. :)

                                                2. feel obliged to add to the general praise. Took some friends there for dinner, everyone loved their panini despite a small mixup which was discovered too late. the wine prices are great as everyone says. hope they get more business, which they deserve, at the time of our visit the place wasnt even half full.

                                                  1. Went for the steak panini a week or so back. Had been avoiding it as it's a no-brainer - and I didn't think it would be that special.

                                                    !!!

                                                    It was frickin' awesome. (Why did I ever doubt it)

                                                    Horseradish mayo. yum.

                                                    1. I'll add to the chorus of praise for Negroni. My husband and I got take out last Saturday and the panini were incredible. I had the segovia sausage and mr. c got the breasola. Both were accompanied by a tasty arugula/fennel salad. I'm looking forward to going back and eating in. The only problem is trying to decide what to get - everything on the menu looks so good!

                                                        1. I'm bumping this thread to ask for some recent feedback - I'm going for lunch with a dear, dear friend. Looking for a good, casual, friendly spot with tasty food and good coffee where we can relax and talk. Negroni's been on my list for a while - would this be a good choice?

                                                          10 Replies
                                                          1. re: peppermint pate

                                                            They've made a few changes to the menu since the last round of posts, but the paninis are still delicious! When I go, it's usually on a Sunday afternoon, and it tends to be pretty quiet. It's a small, casual place. The food and service has been pretty quick for me (~ in and out in 40 minutes), but I'm sure there's opportunity to linger if you'd like.

                                                            Note that by Sunday, they're usually sold out of peanut butter ice cream. I haven't had the coffee there, so can't comment.

                                                            1. re: peppermint pate

                                                              It would be a perfect choice! They make a good americano, too. :)

                                                              If you're not in the mood for their wonderful ice cream, try the nutella panini. Yummy with an americano!

                                                              1. re: peppermint pate

                                                                I was there last Friday for a solo dinner and really enjoyed the charcuterie plate (tasty, but not the best I've had in Toronto), the steak panini, the nutella panini and a giant scoop of chocolate ice cream (they had not run out of peanut butter that night). Not sure if these are the same menu changes to which Underdog Rally is referring below, but my server mentioned that the chef had been experimenting with new recipes. As a result, some items like soup were not on offer. She also mentioned that Negroni would be adding risotto, pastas and more to the menu as early as this week and that a prix fixe option would be available several days of the week (sorry, I forget exactly which days).

                                                                1. re: peppermint pate

                                                                  My last visit was a couple of months ago, but I can happily report nothing of note had changed. :) A very good fit for what you're looking for. I've never felt in any way rushed out of there, especially if you're still enjoying your coffee or wine.

                                                                  1. re: peppermint pate

                                                                    Definitely a good choice. Good coffee and quiet - especially during the afternoons. I honestly spent close to 6 hours there with a friend one afternoon. Apps, Panini.. then dessert and coffee. They brought us complimentary ice cream and never once did we feel as if we were being a nuisance or rushed.

                                                                    1. re: kayehm

                                                                      Thank you all for the glowing feedback - looking forward to finally trying this gem.

                                                                      1. re: peppermint pate

                                                                        Just a quick note to say that my friend and I had a lovely lunch at Negroni. We had the 2 vegetarian panini (which I think were the only 2 non-meat options available). The one with buffalo mozzarella, tomato and pesto was delicious. The one with wild mushrooms and, hmm, taleggio maybe? was pretty good but had a bit of a weird smell/taste to it. Not bad, just a bit musty-ish. Anyway, both came witha lovely, crisp arugula and shaved fennel salad on the side. After ogling the nutella panini and peanut butter ice cream at the table next to us, I was genuinely saddened by the fact that we were too full to even consider it. Drinking the tasty espresso as we lingered, and craving just a little sumpin' sumpin', though, our lovely waitress didn't hesitate to accommodate my off-menu request for a simple teaspoonful of nutella - yum! - a wonderful sweet ending to our lunch.

                                                                        1. re: peppermint pate

                                                                          I've found that a lot of taleggio sold/served in ON is a little, if not significantly, past its prime. I don't think most people realize it turns musty quickly, and tastes best when it is very fresh.

                                                                          When it's fresh, taleggio is my favourite Italian cheese.

                                                                          The couple that used to run La Salumeria sold amazingly fresh taleggio, but the taleggio I've bought elsewhere is often musty, so I rarely buy it these days. The last time I ordered a cheese plate at Caren's, the taleggio was way past its prime. Too bad that it sounds like people at Negroni also don't know their taleggio ;-)

                                                                          -----
                                                                          Salumeria
                                                                          2021 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4S, CA

                                                                          1. re: phoenikia

                                                                            Yeah, I assumed it was the taleggio (and like you, I generally love taleggio). I'm sure you're right. It wasn't awful - my friend enjoyed hers - but I have a pretty sensitive palate and for me, it was definitely a bit "off". Still enjoyed our lunch, though.

                                                                            1. re: peppermint pate

                                                                              unless the menu has changed since i was there last, it was not taleggio in the mushroom, but a goat mozzarella which may account for the slight mustyness

                                                                  2. New menu is up online now:

                                                                    http://www.negronipanini.com/panini.html

                                                                    Looks like they've scaled back the panini offerings, but can't wait to check out the new pasta and risotto. My only complaint about Negroni is that I usually come out of there smelling like burnt toast from the panini grills, possibly the new menu will tone that down a bit.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: abigllama

                                                                      Those pasta and risotto dishes are the same as the ones at sidecar, aren't they? I take it that the risotto is also not vegetarian, right? Does anyone know?

                                                                    2. First visit with new menu and Negroni knocks it out of the ballpark. The paninis have been scaled back but my faves remain so that's ok. Had the mushroom risotto and it was excellent and probably one of hte best i've had in the city. SO had the squash risotto and it was equally awesome. Friends were there for first time and both got paninis and loved them. I love the paninis but it's great to have things rounded out a bit, and perfect comfort food for the chilly weather. Excellent meal and can't wait to retun to check out he pastas.

                                                                      Also the stinky clothes issues have been fixed. They've added a seperate exhaust system over the panini grills so no more burnt toast clothes smell for the rest of the night.