HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >


Quiet, old-school Italian in GTA?

We are searching for a quiet spot (he has a hearing issue) that serves good, genuine Italian. We have faith there are old-school spots with low lighting and decent wine and that timeless feeling. Can you recommend any neighborhood gems? Thanks for your help.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Altho its relatively new, Black Skirt on College fits the bill.

    Black Skirt
    974 College Street, Toronto, ON M4Y, CA

    1 Reply
    1. re: iMarilyn

      Thanks iMarilyn, we'll try them out.

    2. Paganelli's might work.

      1. Camarras on Dufferin seems to be exactly what you are looking for - truly timeless

        2899 Dufferin St, Toronto, ON M6B3S7, CA

        3 Replies
        1. re: glickjor

          How about Pinnochio's in the west end?

          1. re: Mitzimouse

            Another vote for Pinocchios, Dundas and Islington. We've been going there for more than 25 years and it never changes. Always a good meal served by professional waiters. Also very accomodating--a while back we wanted a quiet place near the airport to meet up with someone passing through town. They let us sit for a couple of hours chatting before we ordered dinner.

          2. re: glickjor

            Agreed. Try the fresh chitarra with seafood. Delicious! Pretty good gnocchi bolognese, too.

          3. Spiga Ristorante and Pizzeria at Yonge and St. Clair. Love the classic place that serves wine in a water glass. Very understated but yummy.

            Spiga Ristorante
            1378 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4T1Y5, CA

            1. Ristorante Boccaccio in the Columbus Centre definitely fits the bill. Love it.

              In Yorkville, there is the slightly pricier but very quiet and calming Bellini's Ristorante.

              Both good choices for what you seem to be looking for....

              9 Replies
              1. re: magic

                Any other opinions on Boccaccio or Columbus Centre for private functions? Has anyone been to a shower or wedding there recently? How's the food taste and quality?

                      1. re: ingloriouseater

                        Is your info accurate??

                        Seems like some people on the thread posted below think it's shut down. Also, their phone number is not in service and their web site seems to be down.


                        1. re: magic

                          unless the owner was lying to me when i spoke with him 2 weeks ago...my concern was if he'd be open for the pre holiday season lunch and dinners-he said that he would...but given how close we are-who knows-maybe he was just embarrased.

                          1. re: ingloriouseater

                            I dunno. These kinds of situations are always iffy. I don't know. But thanks for the info.

                            I actually have a group deal voucher with them so I'm concerned.

                            1. re: magic

                              I was trying to use my Dealfind voucher when I found out. I'm getting a refund in DF dollars.

                              1. re: Teep

                                Wow, thanks for the heads up.

                                Man, this is surprising. They were around for YEARS. And they were good, too.

                  1. Thanks to everyone for the suggestions, we will try them all over the weeks ahead.

                    1. I haven't been in a while but Noce always had those qualities for me. Zucca is also lovely - not so much a timeless "old world" ambiance but lovely food, gracious service and a very subdued room.

                      875 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J1G5, CA

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: peppermint pate

                        I dined at Zucca very recently and it was a very lively room by about 7 pm. I should mention it was a Saturday night. By the time we left (around 8-ish), it was a full house and not quiet by any stretch, though it was not a raucous crowd. The food was very good and the service excellent. I'd recommend it, but not on a Friday or Saturday night, if one is seeking a quiet restaurant.

                        2150 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M4S 2A8, CA

                        1. re: 1sweetpea

                          Interesting - and good to know. I sometimes don't go to Zucca because the atmosphere can be so hushed and I generally prefer a livelier room. I'm glad to hear that it's busier sometimes - and that the food and service are still great. I'm overdue for a visit.

                          2150 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M4S 2A8, CA

                          1. re: peppermint pate

                            I found Zucca bustling and energetic on my last (midweek) visit in the spring. There was a table of 8 behind us, which might have made the room louder than usual, but it was definitely on the lively side. All the tables were full.

                            Haven't been to Coppi since the revamp. Wondering if the refurbished Coppi will be livelier than the previous relatively reserved Coppi.

                            2150 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M4S 2A8, CA

                            Coppi Ristorante
                            3363 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4N2M6, CA

                            1. re: prima

                              Is Zucca really serving local or sustainable ingredients? That would be a first in the Italian dining scene in the GTA, right? (I love Vertical, but it's not exactly in the same class/category of old-school Italian)

                              1. re: Food Tourist

                                Zucca uses some local/sustainable ingredients (new potatoes, Cumbrae's beef, Monforte cheese, most likely the beets and broccoli), relatively local or seasonal ingredients (BC spot prawns being more local than tiger shrimp), and some imported ingredients (octopus, norwegian salt cod, cactus pear). I find Zucca's food to more innovative/contemporary, rather than old-school. Here is the current menu: http://www.zuccatrattoria.com/Menus/F...

                                Pizzeria Libretto, Buca, Enoteca Sociale and Campagnolo certainly aren't old school (although my spaghetti alla norma at Campagnolo tasted like old school spaghetti alla norma), but they have even more of an emphasis on local ingredients than Zucca.

                                Although it may be a more formal restaurant than the OP is looking for, Carisma has a classic Italian menu. It looks like it might be a relatively quiet restaurant.

                                2150 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M4S 2A8, CA

                                Pizzeria Libretto
                                221 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

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

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

                                Carisma Restaurant
                                73 King St E, Toronto, ON M5C 2V8, CA

                                832 Dundas St. W, Toronto, ON , CA

                      2. Fusilli may fit your description, it is small, traditional and quiet. There are several posts on it if you do a search.
                        And if you are really into reading, here is a thread with149 recent posts on the subject of "The best Italian"

                        2 Replies
                          1. re: AzulH

                            Of all the amazing restaurants in my old neighbourhood, and there were many, I have to say I miss Fusilli the most. It's nearly enough reason to move back. I only wish East York or Scarborough had something even close to the feeling of dining at Fusilli.

                            531 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M5A1V1, CA

                          2. in the east-end: Paul' s Spaghetti on Cosburn, Gerrard Pizza on at Danforth West of Coxwell, plus Quattro 4 Ragazze on Danforth East of Coxwell (I like like this place but others on Chowhound don't)

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: mariecollins

                              Which dishes do you recommend the most at Paul's Spaghetti, Gerrard Pizza & Quattro 4 Ragazze?

                              I'm impressed that Quattro 4 Ragazze is serving Ontario lamb chops. http://www.europe-planet.com/

                              Paul's Spaghetti
                              488 Cosburn Ave, Toronto, ON M4J2N5, CA

                              Gerrard Spaghetti & Pizza House
                              1528 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J1N4, CA

                              1. re: prima

                                My wife and I tried two different dishes at Paul's Spaghetti around July - August and it is nothing special. I discussed this with some people who live a few streets away and they said it's not as good as it used to be. I also hear that the original owner had sold it a few years ago but have not verified that. It's not on my list for a return visit, and we only went over after a trip to Karlovo Meats which is in the plaza on the south side of Cosburn.

                                1. re: foodyDudey

                                  Thanks, foodyDudey.

                                  Think I'll try Gerrard Pizza first. Found this menu online: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gerrar...

                                2. re: prima

                                  I'm afraid that's where your good impression may end with Quazttro Ragazze. My advice is to approach with caution.

                                  Let me know how Gerrard Spaghetti & Pizza goes. I've been dying to try it, but the atmosphere is a hard sell with friends.

                                  1. re: Googs

                                    ha ha. Thanks Googs. Probably won't end up at Gerrard Spag until the New Year. Will let you know how it goes.

                                  2. re: prima

                                    I've only eaten in at Quattro 4 Ragazze a couple of times. The antipasti plate is good, so was the Linguini Carbonara, I can't remember the other dishes, but there was once an excessively salty pasta. I think my mum had the lamb chops and enjoyed them. Mostly I get a panini (eggplant or meatball) for pick-up - they are huge and delicious. Gerrard Pizza does an excellent pizza, but can get expensive.

                                    1. re: mariecollins

                                      OK, just a nitpick, it really should be just "Quattro Ragazze". Otherwise you're saying "Four 4 Girls" :-)

                                      It's their fault for making it confusing.

                                3. Very suprised that nobody has mentioned our favourite yet, Vesuvio's Pizza on Dundas West. I actually think their pasta dishes outshine the pizza. Great carbonara, lasagna, cannelloni and homemade gnocchi too.