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Aug 10, 2003 06:28 PM

Where is the best Italian food in Toronto?

  • c

I want to see what everyone recommends. It's been a long time since I've gone out for great Italian (and I don't mean good, I mean great). I don't have anything to recommend first-hand except maybe California sandwiches for their meatball sandwiches. Gimme your best!

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  1. Are we talking gourmet level? Family-style? Northern? Southern?
    Low, medium or high price? Sandwiches? Pizzas? Pasta? Fish?
    Seriously, there's a different answer for every category!

    12 Replies
    1. re: Richard

      Actually I'd like to hear about the assortment of excellent Italian restaurants in Toronto.

      1. re: cardmom

        You can find out more about all of these by searching on

        A lot depends on location, or what mood you're in.

        Family style dining:
        Five Doors North, 7 Numbers, and (my fave) Gio Rana's Really Really Nice Restaurant

        Il Posto Nuovo, Prego Della Piazza, Sotto Sotto,Splendido, Zucca.
        Romagna Mia


        Veal or Eggplant or Veal/eggplant sandwiches:
        Mustachio (St. Lawrence Market)

        1. re: Richard

          I would add La Bruschetta on St.Clair even if just for their excellent complimentary bruschetta, hot peppers and a chance to meet the owner. Although they also make good home made pasta, which has much different texture than in most restaurants - for example, capollini is thicker and more substantial than the packaged kind, and their pasta in general is less al dante but more dough-y. It's a fun place, with tasty hearty food. I will plug once more the veal sandwiches and other lunchables at Centro Di Fromaggio, and of course La Paloma for gelato (even though the prices keep on going up and portions down!), both on St.Clair west of Dufferin.

          1. re: Kasia

            Oh, no kidding about the Paloma prices, eh? I went there the other week and ordered one baby-size and one small, and the total was over $7!

            Yes, the melone gelato was beyond amazing, but still...

            1. re: louise

              as an aside, Le Gourmand (just south of Queen on Spadina) carries gelato made at La Paloma..they've got a limited selection of flavours and just one size of cone or cup, but it's within walking distance (for me at least) so I'm certainly not complaining..

              - sef

              1. re: sef

                Trattoria de Gianne e Maria, a new place on St. Claire near Bathurst. Wonderful. Puts La Bruschetta to the shame it deserves. Does the basics beautifully, and also has plenty of interesting dishes for adventurous eaters--I've travelled a fair bit through Italy and this place is the real deal.

          2. re: Richard

            I'd like to offer Via Allegro to this rather well thought out list.

            1. re: Richard

              I would like to add Via Allegro (I believe it's the best of the best), and Terroni and Banfi for casual pizzas and pastas.

              1. re: Fwagra

                Is Via Allegro the pizza place near Ossington and College?

                1. re: cardmom

                  I believe Via Allegro is the lovely italian restaurant on the Queensway, just north of Sherway Gardens shopping centre. I took a friend there and she said she thought it had a 'downtown' feel (being a downtown girl I think this was meant to be a compliment)even though its on the Etobicoke/Mississauga border.

                  Try it its wonderful!

            2. re: cardmom

              In addition to Paloma and 7 Numbers, I'd add Marcello's at St Clair/Dufferin and the best authentic Italian style pizza this side of the Atlantic is actually Terroni's, despite the fact that it's a chain

              1. re: DAN

                As far as pizza is concerned, a not so well known fact is that via Allegro makes a better pizza than Terroni. They have a simple one called Sophia with just tomato sauce, mozarella and oregano...da best.

          3. I'm going to assume that it's ok to include restaurants outside the City proper. My two favorites are:

            Mastro Roberto
            7887 Weston Road

            This trattoria is not fancy but has outstanding ambience and great food. We go there often because it feels so much like home. Don't like anything on the menu or want to add or delete something from one of their dishes? They are happy to oblige. And on Friday and Saturday nights they have live entertainment. In my books this is definitely a two thumbs up. I recommend calling for reservations because they have a very large and loyal following. And since they were written up in Toronto Life a few months ago, Roberto tells us he is thinking of taking over the adjacent store (if Moores moves out).

            Alta Rossa
            539 Jevlan Drive, Unit C
            (905) 850-2832

            A lovely trattoria type restaurant run and staffed by "the family"....two sisters (one is the chef) and one of the sister's daughters. I love this place. The food is always fresh and delicious. The menu, as above, runs the gamut from antipasto, through pastas, veal, chicken and seafood. Better call in advance though. We've found a few times that they had closed for family functions.

            Both of these restaurants are located in strip plazas.

            My two cents worth on the matter of La's the next best thing to getting gelato in Italy, even if it is pricey.

            Many thanks to previous posters for the heads up on other great Italian restaurants. I *love* Italian food!!!!!

            1. w
              Whose Hungry?

              Zucca on Yonge St a few minutes south of Eglinton on the East side is awesome! The chef is actually from New Zealand, but his wife is from Italy and the man has studied his southern Italian food very carefully. All of the pastas are hand made, and if you like fresh grilled mediterranean fish, you should certainly give it a try...and its not very expensive!

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