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Dec 1, 2009 02:42 PM

Romagna Mia - a quick review

We were surprised by the quality of our meal at Romagna Mia last night.
Located just east of Jarvis on Front, the restaurant does not have the look of a great eatery, more like a cavernous Pizza joint and the fact that there were very few people there on the Monday evening that we went didn't help.
The "Gran Fritto dell Adriatico con Verdure Croccanti, $14" we had to start was crisp, hot , not over-battered and accompanied by a decent picante sauce. Our pheasant rissotto with freshly shaved black truffles ($25?) was excellent, and the truffles truely made the dish sing.
We rounded the meal off with Bison ribs accompanied by spaghetti carbonara, both of which were a delight to eat. The wine list was almost exclusively Italian and with a large selection from all the main regions, averagely priced. Service was fast, very polite and knowledgable. Total cost excluding wine but including tip etc. was just over $100 for the two of us.
Web site I'm guessing that the target market would be tourists but for us locals, it was a pleasant surprise.

Romagna Mia
106 Front Street East, Toronto, ON M5A 1E1, CA

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  1. I agree! My husband and I love Romagna Mia. I checked out your link to their website and it seems that they have lowered there prices! Also, they now offer a Sunday Brunch menu with quite a number of offerings for only $5.95. We haven't been there for a while because we live up in Richmond Hill, but we will definitely have to go for another visit soon. Thanks for the reminder!

    1. We went back there again last Monday, Jan. 18, 2010, four of us this time and all had a similarly surprisingly good experience.

      1. I work in the neighbourhood and have been eating at Romagna-Mia (RM)since it opened. I'm also in the wine business and eat out a bit more than would be considered 'normal'.

        RM's food is "on" 95% of the time and very it's affordable. Chef Gabriele Paganelli's frequent trips back to Italy keep him inspired and grounded. His Strozzapreti is generous and comfortable and the daily specials always deliver (last week I had bison stuffed tortellini that my lunch guest said was 'the best' pasta they had ever eaten). I make a habit of taking my family (wife and girls 12&15) there once in a while (we live in Etobicoke) so they can experience honest and wholesome food. The menu changes to reflect seasonal ingredients and cooking methods - including black truffles when available. RM is the one of the few restaurants that I trust enough to order their risotto. The only time that our food was poor, was a burnt pizza from the long-retired wood burning oven that used to take up space at the 'front-of-house' - all was not lost as they substituted the offending pizza with some fresh pasta.

        A few weeks ago I took a guest there for lunch and we arrived about ten minutes before they were going to open. They let us in and gave us a table - with bread and water and told us they would take our order after they finished their lunch. There, at the table in front of the open kitchen the staff sat 'family' style around the table while Gabriele served them steaming dishes of fresh pasta. He sat with them and talked about the day's specials. What else could you want?

        Why not a fifth star? The service can be a bit off some days when (for whatever reason) the place fills up unexpectedly and they are short-staffed. This is a chronic problem because of the location and the amount of walk-in (no reservation) business that they get. I've learned to live with 'the attitude' because the food is so fantastic and because I know that Gabriele's soul is in each dish. I've noticed that there is a new 'kid' in training who has served us the last few times -he's from Italy and hopefully he will stay around for a while. The wine list is a bit shallow and a heavy with consignment wines that you might not be familiar with - still, there are a few well-thought out choices that will complement anything on the menu - just ask the new Italian kid for help.

        1. Does anyone know if a reservation is a must on Saturdays? The reason I ask is because I am planning a visit this Sat, but have a bunch of errands to run and don't want to rush to make a reservation time - just drop in some time between 6:30 and 8PM. TIA

          1. sshhhhh...this was my little secret...