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Jul 28, 2010 10:03 AM

John's Italian Cafe - A Little Gem of a Place

Sometimes restaurants have opulent and sophisticated exteriors, but end up being disappoinments in the food department. And sometimes modest-looking little places blow your socks off with their quality, creativity, and service.

John's definitely falls into the latter category. This little place, located on an otherwise relatively deserted stretch of Bathurst St. just a few blocks south of Dupont St. is unassuming enough. But order a nice selection off the ever-changing menu and prepare to be amazed. While it calls itself an Italian restaurant, the few times that I have been there it featured a selection of Latin American-inspired dishes in addition to some quality Italian mainstays, and also some creative combinations of the two. The food is incredibly good quality, fresh, and cooked in an open-concept kitchen that you can see from the dining area. The service has been accommodating and friendly every time I have walked through the door.

Between that and their decent selection of wines, John's has fulfilled as promised on three lovely occassions so far. I look forward to my next visit.

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  1. Unless it's changed ownership, I'm surprised about this. Last year, I had the worst possible lunch -- terrible food, worse service. Total travesty. Vowed never to go back.

    2 Replies
    1. re: carrot stick

      Agreed. I work in the area and I have been under duress a few times and its awful. I can usually get bad food but this was inedible.

      1. re: paper_bag_princess

        I have always loved the one in Baldwin Village (same owners right?) for it's no-nonsense classic decor and very basic and yummy pizzas. Haven't been in ages - I was hoping this post was about that one.

    2. When I moved to Toronto 15 years ago I fell in love with John's Classic... both on College and delivery from Baldwin...

      But perhaps 12 years ago it all went seriously downhill... SERIOUSLY DOWNHILL.

      In an attempt to recapture past gastronomic experiences I gave them another two chances:

      Baldwin: utter rubbish... bland and truly awful service.

      College: sub Pizza Pizza... I mean that... I was embarrassed taking my UK friends there.

      So bad.

      So very, very bad.

      Dried out and wholly lacking flavour.

      I swore "never again"

      Are these folks the same owners???

      I hope not.

      1. I think there may be some confusion going on here. There are three "John" locations and I think the original post on this thread was about the one on Bathurst, in which case it is not called John's Italian cafe. It is the one discussed in this thread

        This location ( Bathurst south of Dupont) appears to be autonomously managed.
        It would also appear that neither of the other locations garner rapturous praise!

        1 Reply
        1. re: AzulH

          John's on word....yuck