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where to eat pasta in Toronto?

I'm visiting Toronto in the next month and I would like to surprise my wife by taking her somewhere that actually specializes in pasta. We are very adventurous with our food and I'm looking for someplace unique and memorable.

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  1. A name that comes up often is Zucca Trattoria

    9 Replies
    1. re: rapsrealm

      Beware!! Zucca's been getting lousy reviews lately!!! Mistura, Rogmana Mia or Tutti Matti might be a 'safer' choice?!!

      1. re: Charles Yu

        The dreadful reviews of Zucca all came about when one poster fed up not one, but three separate postings to comment on each one how much he hated the place, and the scathing reviews began.
        We have returned since to see what has changed, and had a great meal once again.
        Love their house made Pasta, and their whole grilled fish.

        1. re: erly

          Sorry but I have to agree with some of the others here that Zuca is nothing special. Went once and couldn't see what the big fuss was about. I guess it's an okay local spot but wouldn't be going out of my way to visit. We were actually very disappointed because we had tried a nibble from them at the Brickworks picnic and thought it was excellent. So based on that we decided to go for dinner one evening. As I said, very disappointing. Service was good, but food just okay.

      2. re: rapsrealm

        I love everything about Zucca, but their fresh hand made pasta is as chewy as network cable and I simply prefer fresh pasta to be light and delicate.

        1. re: KitchenVoodoo

          Kitchen Voodoo,
          I love the thick cut noodles, and the firmness of them
          If you want a lighter homemade noodle we recently had dinner at Marinella on College which was recommended here on Chowhound.
          The homemade noodles are thin cut and very well prepared.
          We very much enjoyed our meal there as well, and will return.
          Can't remember who recommended Marinella, but want to thank them.

          1. re: erly

            I quite like the pasta at Marinella. If you like thick cut, try the spahettoni. Thick and pleasantly chewy. Great meatballs and sauce, too.

            1. re: Delish

              Thanks for the tips on Marinella, sounds like someplace I would enjoy going to.

            2. re: erly

              I've been meaning to try Marinella for ages - thanks for jogging my memory and recommending their pasta.

            3. re: KitchenVoodoo

              I'm firmly in the Zucca camp. Not always mind-blowing, but when they're good they're great.

          2. I would second Mistura or Tutti Matti. Mistura is more formal (and more $$$) while Tutti Matti has more of a neighbourhood bistro feel. I also like L'Unita, but I'm not sure that I think it's all that unique or special.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Rabbit

              Gianni Maria - on St Clair W at Arlington - amazing pasta. The Ravioli Piemontese is my single fave pasta dish ever !

              1. re: Bigtigger

                I second Da Gianni & Maria Trattoria. They have great mushroom gnocchi too.

                1. re: toveggiegirl

                  I'll third G&M, this is the place to go for fresh pasta. That being said, for something more mainstream, Terroni never fails to dissapoint either.

                  1. re: bogie

                    I'll fourth Mistura. You can't go wrong with anything there but Massimo's pasta is delicious. Even the basic spaghettini and olive oil poached tomatoes tastes like no other.

              2. re: Rabbit

                Third for Mistura. Their wild boar agnolotti is fabulous.

              3. I don't have one go-to place. But I do like the specials at 5 Doors North sometimes---and same with pasta at Sorrento, Trio and Ferraro. Unfortunately, I don't have a place where I always love the pasta---though I'd say the most consistent performer is Ferraro.

                  1. re: Negaduck

                    While I found the texture of the pasta at Buca to be pleasantly springy, the sauces and ingredients they came with left much to be desired. I would choose Mistura or Tutti Matti over Buca any day (and not just for pasta!).

                    1. re: pinkprimp

                      I prefer Buca over my recent visit to Mistura. I haven't been to Tutti Matti in ages though. More places need to add an egg to their pasta dishes.

                      1. re: Negaduck

                        The carbonara dish with the egg tossed tableside (if you like totally unintrusive service, the server didn't say a word between cracking the egg and leaving our table...) was devoid of any flavour for us. Even the bacon didn't do much...some salt might've helped.

                  2. Although we have a large Italian diaspora, getting a good pasta dish is next to impossible in the city. Splendido does a nice papardele with rabbit and truffle, but it also cost $30. All other places I've tried, from Terroni to Zucca are disappointing.

                    Haven't had the pasta at Bucca, everything else there is good. Will go try today at lunch and report back.

                    1. Not sure if it's always on the menu, but I've had the most incredible mushroom tagliatelli at Globe Bistro on a couple of occasions.

                      1. Noce is fantastic. Also has a great wine list and attentive, friendly service.

                        1. the pasta at Grazie is fantastic...all homemade...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: pastalover

                            Which pasta dish/dishes at Grazie is/are fantastic? The 2 pasta dishes I've ordered there were not memorable.

                            1. re: Boodah

                              Just a note that only some of the pastas at Positano are homemade, but they are very good. They do a really tasty antipasti plate, too -- you can see all the roasted veggies on the cart by the door as you walk in.

                            2. I've only been once, but really enjoyed Magia Beve - near King/Sherbournish - across from the SUN TV building.

                              1. Any places in Toronto that have a pasta bar like Summit circa mid to late '90s?

                                Summit, located at Yonge & Eglinton (now it's a Boston Pizza), would offer a pasta bar Sunday through Wednesday for an all-you-can-eat price. Chicken, sausage, bacon, shrimp, salmon, lots of veggies, tomato, cream, rose and several different pastas were offered. Your dish would be cooked up in front of you while you waited. Loved it and missed it for the past decade.

                                Philthy McNasty's, a few doors down, tried to replicate this a year or two later but it was a sad attempt.

                                1. What about Terroni? It is excellent! The best gnocchi I've ever had was at Terroni's. I've had their pasta too and it's absolutely to die for.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: expensivetaste_tightbelt

                                    That's funny- the best gnocchi I've had in TO was at Da Gianni e Maria. The 2nd best was at Noce ;-)

                                  2. I LOVED Local Cafe and Wine Bar! It's an Italian Cafe in Parkdale, on Queen at Roncy. The ambiance is super-cheerful and energetic and cozy, the service is friendly and attentive, and the pasta is great! I loved being there, especially on a winter's evening, looking out at Queen Street all pretty and snowy. And Jim Cuddy was even there! The sauces could have stood for a bit more flavour, but overall I had a wonderful experience there and would go back in a heartbeat. I just loved it there.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: Sarah Cat

                                      Does anyone know where Bobby Wiseman eats his pasta? ;-)

                                        1. re: millygirl

                                          The original keyboardist from Blue Rodeo who left the band in 1992...just wondering how his taste in pasta differs from Jim Cuddy's ;-)


                                    2. We like Romagna Mia...inexpensive and tasty. Try the carbonara or the Strangled Priest. As a side, we were there this week and had one of their new apps, a cuttlefish salad stack with a pea based sauce (it was exceptional).

                                      Wine can be a bit pricey there, which is my only real criticism of the place.