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Best place for Piedmont region Italian food?

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Preferably one with a great wine list. Am entertaining somebody from Piedmont who is a wine buff and I'd like the dinner to be very good in al respects - hospitality, food, wine selection, nice room, patio would be a huge plus, and preferably not too far from downtown - but will travel if it's good enough.

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  1. My suggestion is don't even try. I've never met an Italian that wasn't disappointed by Ontario produce, meats, cheeses, seafood, the whole shooting match.

    Instead, try showing off places you think make Toronto great.

    George and Opus hit your other other marks precisely.

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    George
    111 Queen Street East, Toronto, ON M5C 1S2, CA

    Opus
    37 Prince Arthur Ave, Toronto, ON M5R1B2, CA

    4 Replies
    1. re: Googs

      Great idea! Dim Sum and Vietnamese food would be things he is unused to. Any other ideas would be very welcome.

      1. re: KitchenVoodoo

        Googs is right. You will never be able to please an Italian on food outside of Italy! I know....I have Italian relatives!
        On the off chance, try Tutti Matti or somewhere with an Italian born or trained chef. Woodbridge maybe? College Street perhaps?
        The idea of trying some ethnic food is a good one. Korean, Indian or something like that. Just don't take an Italian anywhere too "grunge" if you know what I mean.
        Good luck.

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        Tutti Matti
        364 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V1R7, CA

        College Street Bar
        574 College St, Toronto, ON M6G1B3, CA

        1. re: froglegs

          Froglegs- Ah! Caplansky's!

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          Caplansky's
          356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

          1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

            No! Not Caplansky's!

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            Caplansky's
            356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

    2. I think that Gianni, from Gianni an dMaria on St. Clair west of Bathurst , is from Piedmont. Talk to him.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

        He is but unfortunately no longer works at the restaurant. Gianni & Maria left to Bermuda last fall. Restaurant is still open, operated by landlord with much of the same staff I understand.
        Too bad was a favourite.

        1. re: Machiavelli

          Do you by any chance know if they are cooking in Bermuda? I used to live there, and have many friends there who would faint if they knew they could get that kind of food!! There are many "Italian" restuarants in Bermuda, but nothing as special as Gianni & Maria was on St. Claire. I'm so sad that they are gone. Big mourning for Chow hounds. Please give me any details you can if you know.

          1. re: KitchenVoodoo

            Gianni is working at the Crane resort. He is their new chef for the Italian restaurant.

            1. re: icey

              The Crane is in Barbados, not Bermuda. The location is really lovely, great beach, great views, very luxe indeed. If someone offered me a job there (or anywhere in Bim), I'd be there like a shot. Best of luck to Gianni and Maria!

      2. If you must go Italian, try Mistura or Romagna Mia.

        -----
        Mistura
        265 Davenport Rd, Toronto, ON M5R1J9, CA

        12 Replies
        1. re: Dean Tudor

          Good choices. Mistura is best!

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          Mistura
          265 Davenport Rd, Toronto, ON M5R1J9, CA

          1. re: Dean Tudor

            By Toronto standards these rank. By Italian standards they're not even close.

            1. re: Googs

              I brought my Italian in laws (from Northern Italy) to Romagna Mia and they were really happy about the food there. My father in law is a notoriously picky eater but was happy with the home made pastas. My mother in law loved the squid ink pasta. This was a few years back but I think they would still be happy about it.

              I would definitely stay away from Woodbridge as they would not be happy with the choices there.

              But how about Via Allergro; it doesn't focus on Piedmont cuisine but has great food, and I am sure your friend would be impressed with the wine list.

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

              1. re: icey

                A few years ago I used to like Romagna Mia as well.

                1. re: Googs

                  Really? I was disappointed with the potato leek soup that I had there a few months ago because it was way over salted, but I was incredibly impressed with the various salumi dishes that we had. The guanciale that was served with a touch of honey and crushed pistachios was sublime, and melted in your mouth. The other salumi were all really great as well. My dining companions that had the risotti said that they were cooked to perfection and have great flavour.

              2. re: Googs

                I disagree somewhat. The chefs from Mistura and Romagnia Mia are both Italian, from the north. They may have tweaked their menus and recipes to suit Canadians but it is still very good Italian food. You can 't get a bad meal in Italy but you often get bad Italian food here. These two restaurants would be my choices to take an Italian to for dinner. ( although Romagnis Mia may have gone downhill in the last few years.... I was not impressed last time) They are better than most .However, there are some Italians though, who just can't be pleased outside Italy!

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                Mistura
                265 Davenport Rd, Toronto, ON M5R1J9, CA

                1. re: froglegs

                  "You can 't get a bad meal in Italy but you often get bad Italian food here. "

                  Of course you can get a bad meal in Italy. If you think you can't get a bad meal in Italy, you should visit more restaurants in Italy. There are plenty of restaurants serving bad food in Italy.

                  To the OP, if your friend is a wine buff, you might want to bring your friend to Local Kitchen and Wine Bar http://www.localkitchen.ca/wine-list.php , Trattoria Giancarlo's Wine Bar (probably the most sedate of these 3 wine bars), or the brand new Enoteca Sociale http://sociale.ca/. None of these places focus on Piedmontese food, but each have a wine programme.

                  Enoteca Sociale offers Ontario wines, which might be interesting for a visitor to try. Enoteca Sociale just opened. Apparently half the room will be reservable starting next week, but they aren't currently taking reservations. I'm guessing it will be a place with a lot of "scene", due to it's location and ownership. http://twitter.com/EnoSociale

                  Piedmontese-style food in Toronto would probably be disappointing to anyone from the region. Somewhat Italian food with a Canadian spin, like the food at Buca which often features seasonal Ontarian produce (ramps and fiddleheads in May, other local/Cdn foods like arugula and BC spot prawns right now) might be more novel for a visitor from Italy. Although there's no menu on the website, Buca often mentions some of their specials in their twitter feed: http://twitter.com/bucatoronto

                  This is a complete generalization, and it would certainly vary from person to person, but the Italians I know who were raised in Italy, especially those who are over the age of 50, tend to have fairly conservative palates. They like Italian food, French food and steak. I'd check with your friend before deciding to take him out for Vietnamese, Korean, Indian or dim sum.

                  -----
                  Giancarlo Trattoria
                  41 Clinton St, Toronto, ON M6J2N9, CA

                  Buca
                  604 King St. West, Toronto, ON M5V 1M6, CA

                  1. re: phoenikia

                    As you say , it was a generalization..... my comment on bad food in Italy. You'd certainly be hard pressed to find it.
                    FYI, I have travelled to Italy more times than I can remember. Having spent many holidays, there in my youth and more extensive travels from the top of the boot to the bottom as an adult. I've sampled street food, tourist food, Michelin rated restaurants, village cafes and plenty of home cooked meals in between.
                    Never have I had a bad meal!
                    I'd still say go to Mistura.
                    Marecello's on St Clair is comfortable.
                    I 'll have to look into Massimo Bruno's place. Sounds promising.
                    Kvoodoo there is plenty of good food in Toronto ( despite what food snobs say). I am sure your Italian friend will love the diversity of our city. Good bottle of wine, some cheese, bread and a good friend.... that's what it's about!
                    Salute!
                    .

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                    Mistura
                    265 Davenport Rd, Toronto, ON M5R1J9, CA

                    St Clair Restaurant
                    69 St Clair St, Chatham, ON N7L3H8, CA

                2. re: Googs

                  Okay now you're pushing it Googs! Seriously though, although I've never been to Italy I must disagree with your comment. The joint (Mistura) is packed every night and many of his clientele are italian. That alone says a lot.

                  Someone earlier mentioned Tutti Matti. Please don't go there. It gets a lot of mixed reviews on this board. At least do a search beforehand. The service is horrible, and the food not much better.

                  Mistura is a great pick.

                  1. re: millygirl

                    Totally agree with you on the service at Tutti Matti. While the food has always been pretty good on my two recent visits (both in the last 6 months), the service is absolutely the slowest I've ever experienced - and it was also distracted to the point that it detracted significantly from the overall experience and I probably wouldn't go back.

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                    Tutti Matti
                    364 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V1R7, CA

                  2. re: Googs

                    Googs, what are some of the Italian standards that are not met by Mistura or Romagna Mia? Is the problem mainly with our ingredients? I've shopped at Italian food markets in Liguria and I know that the quality is stunning. Something as simple as a local canteloupe and proscuitto have a depth of flavour that I suspect would be impossible to duplicate elsewhere. I felt that I could pick any one item and it could be an entire meal, the flavours were so intense.

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

                    Mistura
                    265 Davenport Rd, Toronto, ON M5R1J9, CA

                    1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                      So noted, Millygirl. I was brandishing the Louisville Slugger that day instead of the #2.

                      KitchenVoodoo & Ms Millygirl, I do mean the ingredients, not necessarily the chef.

                      Millygirl, make the trip and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. This is why I'm suggesting to the OP to take their guest somewhere they feel defines Toronto rather than Italy. I wouldn't want to be the one sitting across the table from a person who came directly from Piedmont staring at me as though their dinner came out of a replicator.

                3. When are you entertaining your friend?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: FrenchSoda

                    He arrives very soon, and I intend to ask him if he'd like to sample something not readily available in Piedmont, such as good Chinese food, or if he'd like to try the Toronto take on Italian food. If Italian is the choice - which I suspect it may be, because he's on a mission to market wines from some Piedmont vinyards, and would probably want to speak to Italian restauranteurs - I will be guided by the advice I'm seeing posted here.

                  2. I have seen groups from the Italian consulate in Toronto severl times at Romagna Mia - so the food must pass muster with Italians.

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

                    1. If the timing works - Massimo Bruno does a wonderful Italian experience. I've been to Italy several times and have an Italian background. I've been to Massimo's 3 times and he will not disappoint.

                      http://www.spotlighttoronto.com/site/...

                      http://www.meetup.com/Massimo-Brunos-...