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Feb 27, 2011 12:15 AM

HELP! Suggestions of awesome Italian or French restaurants in North York, Ontario, near Florence Street, please?

I need suggestions for romantic restaurants in North York near Florence Ave, Italian or French, serving late. Preferably with great red wines. Thank you! I'm flying in to meet my boyfriend from Holland for four days and we get into town kind of late but want us to have a great meal the first night :-)

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  1. Can you let us know what night you're coming in and what time you expect to be in the area? Sadly it's a bit of a wasteland around there and there isn't a lot of late night eating.

    Having said that, I would go South of the 401 to the Yonge/Lawrence area, where you can't spit without hitting an Italian restaurant. My personal recs for the area are Trio and Osteria, which are sister restaurants. Trio is more casual, with a great wood burning oven (yes, imported from Napoli, blah blah blah) for their pizzas and some nice pastas (the orrechiette with rapini and Italian sausage is my favourite). Osteria is 3 doors North of Trio and a little more upscale. The focus is on seafood pastas and an excellent oven-roasted whole fish. Both have very good Italian red wine lists. If you are looking to splurge on a wine, ask them about their amarones, which don't always show up on the regular wine list.

    Trio is at 3239 YONGE ST. Osteria is 3 doors North of that. Neither has a website.

    If you want French, there is Steak Frites Bistro, which looks super cute, but I haven't eaten there yet.

    All of these are within a 5 minute drive of Yonge and Florence.

    1. What time do you plan to dine and what day of the week? A Sunday or Monday might be difficult as many restaurants are closed that night.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Herb

        Last time I peeked inside, the aforementioned Osteria seemed to be out of business - despite an OPEN sign in its front window. Trio is open for action, though, and it's a good choice - though somewhat more casual than you might care for. Closed Mondays (and maybe Sundays as well). Good selection of red wines, some of which are frightfully priced, others more manageable.

        The also-aforementioned Steak Frites is a solid French bistro choice, a block or two south of Trio. I've been many times, and like it a lot. More romantic atmosphere than Trio, with soft lighting and good, unobtrusive service. Large wine list. Careful cooking.

        Those are probably your two best choices, within a 5-10-minute drive of Florence Ave. and Yonge St., on that strip of Yonge St. between Lawrence Ave. and York Mills Rd. - unless you opt to blow your brains out at Auberge du Pommier, one of the city's top (and most expensive) restaurants. It's just off Yonge St. a little north of York Mills Rd. And when the French-style kitchen is at its best, it merits your word "awesome". The bill, however, could easily be $250 a couple, even more if you go crazy with their wine list. Free parking for Auberge customers, though, in the nearby underground lot.

        1. re: juno

          Oh no, that's sad news about Osteria! I always wonder how these Italian spots stay in business, given the competition. Trio manages well for its price point -- I'm sure the excellent pizzas are a draw.

          juno, have you tried Sorrento down the street? I haven't yet, mostly because when I want an Italian fix, I usually go to Trio. But I am curious, as it's such a large space and the previous restaurant there closed pretty quickly.

          1. re: TorontoJo

            Sorrento? An attractive joint on the same block as Trio and the presumably deceased Osteria. Haven't tried it, and doubt I will so long as Trio continues to deliver the goods. It sometimes seems as if there are a thousand Italian restos, pizza joints and snack bars in the GTA, most of them crowded into that stretch of Yonge St. between Lawrence Ave. and York Mills Rd. And I'm reluctant to give a workout to any such mid-priced spot that doesn't come with a recommend from someone whose tastes I share. I've been to too many with copycat menus that are acceptable, but not much more than that. If ever there should be triage for Italian restos, they could start with the Little Italy in the Yonge St. Lawrence-to-York-Mills corridor. I can think of a half dozen and more in the $100-$150 per couple category that should be put out of their misery.

            Perhaps the OP would be foolishly adventurous enough to give a shot to Sorrento and report back. Though with Trio, and Steak Frites (and Auberge du Pommier) nearby, I don't see why she would want to.

      2. Steak Frites is excellent, I've enjoyed every meal I've had there and would definitely recommend it.

        1. Thank you everyone! We're both flying in to Ontario International Airport at 9:30 on Thursday, March 17 (he from Holland, I from California), so by the time we get to a restaurant it'll be around 11 pm or so.

          I was so frustrated not being able to find any cool dining options for that night but my boyfriend and I met on an online community so I thought perhaps I'd find help in one :-)

          We only have 4 days together so we want cool dining options near where we're staying on Florence Street. I'll check out the hours for all your recommendations-they sound so good that we'll fit them in on another day if they're not open late on Thursday night.

          If you have other must-do breakfast/lunch/dinner (Or delivery ;-) recommendations in North York, please let me know. We both love food and have adventurous tastes (he slathers on the wasabi on sushi :-) I'm Greek, so an awesome Greek restaurant might be cool too-especially if it offers live Greek bouzouki music.

          Thank you so much for your help!

          6 Replies
          1. re: SJHatzi

            You're best bet in the immediate area are the many Korean and Irani/Persian restaurants. Many are open late but not remotely romantic.

            There's lots of good food options within a 30 minute subway ride!

            1. re: SJHatzi

              I'll assume you mean Florence Ave., not Florence St. Florence Ave. is indeed in North York, but Florence St. isn't even close. In which case, I suspect all our suggestions to date will do you no good your first night in town. Most restos in North York close about 10 on a week night. You two, I'm guessing, won't get into North York from the airport till about - well, more like 11:30-midnight, given my experience coming into North York after going through customs and immigration at Pearson International. Which means your best bet on the night in question is an Asian restaurant, many of which stay open till midnight and beyond, and most of which are rather utilitarian - though the food's good if you pick the right Asian joint.. Which one? Can't help you there. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable than I on North York's Asian scene can point you in the right direction. Charles Yu (and others), where are you when a couple in culinary distress need you?

              1. re: juno

                Thank you, Juno. Hmmm... trying to come up with Plan B, then. Which sounds like it may be an Asian joint. OK, North York, if there are any joints serving food late, please let us know. Thank you for your help, everyone!

                1. re: SJHatzi

                  Oh dear, this is going to be a tough one for you, I'm sorry. There really isn't much that is open past 11pm in that area. If I may ask, can you please confirm where you are staying? As far as I know, there are no hotels at Yonge and Florence.

                  Asian Legend, which is just over a kilometer North of Yonge/Florence is open until 11pm.

                  Baton Rouge, a midling chain is a couple of blocks closer and is also open until 11pm.

                  Honestly, your best bet that first night might be just to order a delivered pizza from Mamma's Pizza (just up the road) and bring a bottle of wine with you from California (packed well in your checked luggage or picked up at duty free and brought on board as carry on).

                  Mamma's Pizza
                  Tel: (416) 222 - 0122
                  4903 Yonge Street


                  But I'm not even sure what time Mamma's stops delivering, so you may want to call ahead to check.

                  1. re: TorontoJo

                    Just checked out Mamma's Pizza menu online - best delivery pizza menu I've EVER seen-thank you! I think I'll take you up on your suggestion to pack our wine too :-)

                  2. re: SJHatzi

                    I'm wondering if you may not have the name of the street correct. Florence Ave is a residential street with no hotels on it. Are you staying in a private home?

                    If that really is it there is a metro station right at the end of the street so you should probably consider looking for places that can be reached by metro.

              2. Thank you, thank you! Yes, We're staying in a private home and it it is on Florence Avenue, not Florence Street as I erroneously posted (sorry :-). Everyone has been so helpful, we deeply appreciate it & look forward to experiencing Toronto's friendliness in person!

                4 Replies
                1. re: SJHatzi

                  My, my, I do like that takeout-pizza-and-BYOW idea, perhaps because I've done it myself a few times, coming in late at night from Pearson International (though I've never tried Mamma's Pizza). Depending on how you're arriving in town - cab, bus or private car - you might order the pizza when you leave Pearson and pick it up about 20-25 minutes later on your way to your little hutch on Florence Ave. Pizza tastes pretty good that time of night. A good wine makes it taste even better.

                  I've discovered, however, that there is a Chinese joint open till 1 a.m., in the all-Asian plaza on the northeast corner of Finch and Leslie - in the same plaza as the aforementioned Asian Legend. It's about a 10-15-minute drive northeast of Yonge St. and Florence Ave. The resto is called Congee Wong, and it's at the extreme eastern end of the plaza (though it has a Ravel Rd. address). I've been a few times in the past. Mainly Cantonese menu, locally popular, pretty good overall. The menu's online. But that's only if you insist on a real resto that night. I think takeout pizza and BYOW is a much, much better suggestion.

                  1. re: juno

                    Mamma's is by far the best of the delivery pizza chains. Thin crust, tasty toppings. I love the Tuscany Tenderloin, though the beef itself is meh, but the asiago cheese, roasted red peppers and caramelized onions are a great combination. That and a nice glass of wine have made for many a lazy dinner at my home. :)

                    1. re: TorontoJo

                      Welcome to Toronto,
                      Although 11pm is getting late to have a great meal in the area there are several options.
                      If you get to THE KEG by 10:30pm they may still let you in to dine and have an average
                      steak or lobster dinner, not fancy, casual and certainly decent food. You can walk here.
                      Also there is Owl Of Minerva 5324 Yonge Street, open 24 Hours Korean,
                      not at all fancy, more a bit of hole in the wall although respectable food.
                      Pizza Takeout option is Pizza Nova(416)439-0000.
                      Almost Forgot.... , this place is at the foot of your street, literally right there, upstairs on this small little corner plaza,small casual but intimate italian type bistro with decent pasta and woodoven pizza. You would need to call and reserve a table. Tell the lady when your coming in, date and time and I'm sure this will do fine for your first evening in Toronto.
                      Do plan to go to Auberge Du Pommier another night. Fine upscale french.
                      It's a 5 minute taxi ride south of you.
                      Good Luck,

                      Auberge Du Pommier
                      4150 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M2P 2C6, CA

                      Owl Of Minerva
                      5324 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M2N5P9, CA

                      1. re: Porto

                        I would also recommend Alegno. It was a regular place for me and my husband when we lived in the area.

                        Alegno Restaurant
                        4664 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M2N5M1, CA