HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >

Discussion

Terroni's for a First Date?

  • b

pretty simple question. it's gotta be casual italian and within reasonable walking distance (~20mins) from the eaton centre. budget is fairly tight since i'm a student (thinking $20-30 per person after tax and tip). good architecture and ambiance is a plus. i got a few options but Terroni's seems to be leading the pack. here's my thinking.

1) Terroni's at Adelaide
great architecture. however everyone seems to say the service is horrible, food is mediocre/overpriced, and the whole no substitution thing is a major pain. i'm concerned the service might be a major downer on an otherwise fantastic night. with that being said, there seems to be a giant divide between the haters and lovers of this place.

2) Mercatto at Bay
seems to be very similar to Terroni's, without the negative comments lol. ambiance is definitely not the same. this is the "safe bet" in my books.

3) Guu (the darkhouse)
i think this place has been discussed ad nausea. the vibe and energy is great but if u don't get there early, the wait can be pretty bad.

anyways. hopefully you chowhounders can help me out :) i appreciate any comments/suggestions u guys/gals got. btw these are just the leading candidates, i'm open to anything really but i'm restricted to a weekday (fri-sun not incl).

-----
Mercatto
15 Toronto Street, Toronto, ON M5C 2E3, CA

Guu
398 Church Street, Toronto, ON M5B 2A2, CA

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Can't stand the Terroni's on Adelaide. It has a cold, corporate feel to it. I wouldn't go there on a date unless you don't want to see the person again.

    1. I guess it all depends on how much you order, but last time I ate at Terroni I spent much more than $30. I believe my pizza alone was $17. This was the Queen St location. I had no problem with the food or service. I also recently had the doughnuts and a coffee at the Victoria St location. If memory serves, I spent $15. It's tough to eat at a sit down restaurant for $30 all in. I spent around $50 when we went to Guu. I've never been to Mercatto.

      -----
      Mercatto
      15 Toronto Street, Toronto, ON M5C 2E3, CA

      Guu
      398 Church Street, Toronto, ON M5B 2A2, CA

      1. Agree with Merlot143. Go to Terroni if you want it to be your LAST date not the first...

        1. the only place close to your price range and location would be harlem. would you be open to american south comfort food? the richmond location is very intimate and cozy which is perfect for a date. since the portions are quite hearty, if you have 2 mains and share a side dish you'll not only be satisfied, you also should be comfortably within your budget.

          for casual italian, the one place that comes to mind is negroni. the only negative is that it's a bit outside your zone at college west of bathurst. but food-wise, budget and surroundings fit the bill.

          -----
          Harlem
          67 Richmond St E, Toronto, ON M5C1N9, CA

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

          5 Replies
          1. re: num nums

            thanks for the input everyone. keep it coming! wow i didn't know Terroni's was that bad...thanks for the heads up.

            harlem is a place i've been meaning to check out. everyone here on chowhound seems to say nothing but good things about it.

            about the budget, it's not set in stone. i wouldn't mind stretching to $70-80 altogether. but then again, it's trying a bit much on a first date no? talk about setting expectations high.

            1. re: blitz

              Agree with other posters - avoid Terroni - it's incredibly loud. And the food is merely ok.
              How about someplace very old and quaint (and quiet) like Jaques Omlettes on Cumberland. You can have a giggle about how old school it is, but they will treat you well, and you won't have to scream to hear each other during dinner.
              Another extremely civilized place, very European in manners, is Chiado, on College West, delightfully calm, great food, wonderful staff. Frank's Kitchen is another place that is less formal yet delivers amazing food - also on College near Clinton.

              -----
              Chiado
              864 College Street West, Toronto, ON M6H 1A3, CA

              Frank's Kitchen
              588 College St, Toronto, ON M6G 1B2, CA

              1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                I love Chiado, but you would be hard pressed to get out of there for $75 a person, let alone a couple.

                I think the recommendation for Negroni is spot on -- the menu and wine list are inexpensive enough that you could take the $5 cab ride from the Eaton Centre and still come out within your original budget.

                -----
                Chiado
                864 College Street West, Toronto, ON M6H 1A3, CA

                  1. re: TorontoJo

                    At my advanced age, I probably shouldn't be advising ANYONE on where to go for a first date. But I can't resist also recommending Negroni, which is where I go when suffering from the shorts. Good, easy-going vibe, charming service, good background soundtrack. Share a starter plate of pickled olives, a $l2-$13 delicious pressed Italian sandwich each (with tasty accompanying salad), $5 glasses of decent red or white house wine - and you're out no more than $45-50 plus tip. Helluva deal. But forget about that $5 cab ride from the Eaton Centre. There are no $5 cab rides left in Toronto, unless you're going just around the corner. From the Eaton Centre to Negroni, on College St. just west of Bathurst, it'll be about $15 (plus tip). Live a little and take the College St. streetcar west instead - it's one of the more entertaining TTC rides in town - and use the saving for maybe a second glass of house wine, or an espresso, at Negroni. It's a great place for dawdling, and the staff seem to encourage it. If I could have a first date on a budget again, that's where I'd have it in Toronto.

                    Chiado? A wonderful spot if you've got $200-$250 per couple to spare (the attached bar is cheaper but also above your budget). The puckish Mr./Ms. KitchenVoodoo is clearly luring you into bankruptcy with that suggestion. Jacques Omelettes is also good, but - when the bill comes - you may be stunned as well, given your limited financial reserves. I don't know Frank's Kitchen. Harlem is kinda fun, good, funky atmosphere, some tasty down-home dishes, lively background music (I thought I recognized Dr. John), laid-back service - and MAYBE within your budget (note: you can bring your own wine for a corkage fee of $15).

                    I vote for Negroni, though.

            2. I agree that the Terroni location on Adelaide has a cold atmosphere. One of their spin-off restaurants nearby on Victoria (La Bettola di Terroni or Osteria Ciceri e Tria) might be better. Both are smaller and warmer while still quite trendy. However, you will be hard pressed to eat well at either for $30 per person; $40 each would be more realistic, $50 minimum if you both want to have a couple drinks.

              You mention you are looking only for casual Italian but then include Guu in your list, so I will assume that requirement is a soft one. If so, I agree with the previous recommendation for Harlem. It's not traditionally "elegant" but it's a cozy restaurant with great food, and it would probably fit in your budget. Since the sides are ordered separate from the mains you can order a few and share.

              -----
              Osteria
              106 Victoria St, Toronto, ON M5C, CA

              1 Reply
              1. re: Gary

                Totally agree, go to Bettola or Osteria before Terroni on Adelaide, and they're all in the same area. I've been to Osteria Ciceri e Tria once and it would be good for a date, not too expensive either.

                -----
                Osteria
                106 Victoria St, Toronto, ON M5C, CA