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Help me pick; have list whittled

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itryalot Mar 10, 2011 06:50 AM

I have only been to one or two. Have a girls shopping day and then we want to go for some great food, traditional but delicious. We will have been shopping all day so we don't want shishi,but casual and nice atmosphere (not bright and cafeteria). Seems all of these get mixed reviews.
Food is our priority (red wine is a close second)
We want to eat (not pizza) fish, antipastos, grilled octopus or calamari, and perhaps a pasta dish. We plan on ordering lots of different things and sharing. (4 of us)

Atlantic Restaurant
Enoteca Sociale
Mercatto
Local Kitchen and Wine Bar
Osteria Ciceri e Tria
Terroni
Buca

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

Osteria
106 Victoria St, Toronto, ON M5C, CA

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

Enoteca Sociale
1288 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

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  1. jlunar RE: itryalot Mar 10, 2011 07:02 AM

    Been to half your list. I like Enoteca, but it's more pastas and mains. I don't recall seafood so much. Great on a Monday or Tuesday with their half-price Enomatic wines though!

    Buca I think is your best bet. Trendy and noisy though - which may suit. Not sure. Get those pig's ears!

    I haven't been to: Atlantic and Local.

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

    2 Replies
    1. re: jlunar
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      itryalot RE: jlunar Mar 10, 2011 02:25 PM

      Malena looks great, but I want to check out Salt. Can't find a website. Can anyone help?

      1. re: itryalot
        jlunar RE: itryalot Mar 10, 2011 04:21 PM

        http://saltrestaurant.ca/

    2. TorontoJo RE: itryalot Mar 10, 2011 07:40 AM

      Not to throw a kink into your plans, but have you been to Malena? The menu sounds like a perfect fit for what you are looking for.

      1 Reply
      1. re: TorontoJo
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        itryalot RE: TorontoJo Mar 10, 2011 02:05 PM

        I am going to google it now!

      2. pinstripeprincess RE: itryalot Mar 10, 2011 08:21 AM

        i've been to about half perhaps more on your list as well and from what i can tell so far, i would say most do not fit what you want besides ital leanings that could have what you want.

        atlantic is a struggle for me, i thought the concepts were better than the execution and portions a little anemic, even for smaller sharing plates. i did not like that i was served raw tilapia in a carpaccio esque course. i've only been once so perhaps he's refined the dishes more.

        i've only been once as well and we only really had two apps, two pastas and a dessert, but those sections were a fail for me for the most part. the octopus was a bit mushy and the potatoes were off, the bacalau fritters with tripe were great individually but didn't add to each other, the pastas were a leaden heap by the end of it because they seem to lack saucing and oil... along with tough meat and rather one note flavours. the zeppole are baked, dense, bland and ridiculously oversalted. more salty than all the other dishes combined... i know it's salt caramel but really... caramel first.

        i've loved terroni less and less the more i tried anything beyond basic meaty combinations.

        don't recall mercatto being that seafood heavy though there were options. did have a special pickeral recently that was very very enjoyable. a touch overcooked for me but perfectly fine, if it meant the diff between that shatteringly crispy skin then i'll take it.

        i think buca is the best fit on your list though. i only eat the sides/small plates which are all antipastos though i don't think they list it as such, their carpaccios, their salads but i haven't done any seafood mains.

        but would nominate malena as well, though i haven't been, because it definitely has exactly the dishes you're looking for. my understanding though is that it is quite basic.

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          bytepusher RE: itryalot Mar 10, 2011 10:02 AM

          I've been everywhere on this list except Local

          I like Atlantic on Dundas a lot and the menu style suits your dining style but since you ask for traditional I think it's probably a little out there for what you are after, traditional is not a word I would use to describe it.

          I also like Osteria but I don't think the way they structure the menu will suit your preferred style either, possibly the Bettolla wine bar in the same building that shares a kitchen would work better although I have never been there.

          Another place to consider that ought to work perfectly for what you are after is Salt Wine Bar.

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          Osteria
          106 Victoria St, Toronto, ON M5C, CA

          1 Reply
          1. re: bytepusher
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            The Macallan 18 RE: bytepusher Mar 10, 2011 03:14 PM

            If you're shopping in the Yorkville area, I would definitely look at Malena. Great wine list too. If you're downtown, I would go to Buca. Both are fun, lively cool vibe places.

          2. i
            itryalot RE: itryalot Mar 11, 2011 04:27 PM

            Thanks everyone; have reservation at Malena. Will post once we go!

            1 Reply
            1. re: itryalot
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              fickle RE: itryalot Mar 12, 2011 04:17 AM

              The fritto misto and grilled octopus are very good at Malena.

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