The derogatory term terroni has acquired a different sense in Toronto, which comparing numbers is the seventh largest Italian city for population density. Over 400 thousand Toronto citizens boast Italian heritage, and the number of Italian businesses is uncountable. Here are the top Italian restaurants.
Among zillions of bad imitations, there are sublime, hard-working restaurants in Toronto, one of the cities with the largest number of Italians. Also, we can find some of the best and most delightful Italian wine collections around. Here are the best food spots in Toronto where you can try the real Italian cuisine.
Sotto Sotto 3 gamberi
This is the most solid Italian restaurant in Toronto. From the olive oil to the espressp, from the texture of the risotto to the creamy and tangy character of the Carbonara: everything tastes like Italy. Traditional and regional recipes make it to a menu that transfer you into the heart of Rome, home of Marisa Rocca and her family. Ask chef Massimo Renzi for his cacio e pepe pasta or go for some memorable homemade gnocchi with wild pork ragù. During our last visit, we also had a perfect grilled octopus and a delicate and tasty seabass. The wine list is constantly updated with new additions carefully selected by Marisa’s young brother Fabio, and it lists classics Italian wines together with international labels. Since 1993 a true Italian restaurant for Torontonians doc.
Pizzeria Defina 1 spicchio
Defina displays a very warm and friendly atmosphere. Located in the colorful quarter of Roncesvalles Village, Defina offers both Roman style pizza, fragrant and thin, and Neapolitan , fluffy with a thicker crust. Gluten free and kamut doughs are also available on request. Selecting prime quality ingredients, like San Marzano Tomatoes and proper mozzarella, Defina delivers solid and consistent pies, well cooked in the wood fired oven. Our favorites? We go for the Pompei (tomato, fior di late, olives, anchovies, oregano and basil) and the classic Rapini Sausage match, topped also with fior di latte and caramelized shallots: rich and tasty. The second location is located on Dupont Street.
Toca 2 forchette
Located inside The Ritz - Carlton Hotel, in the prestigious Performing Arts & Theater district, this place is in the true heart of the city. The collaboration with talented chef Oliver Glowig ensures a fine menu, made up of refined products and classic recipes that respect seasonality and an all-Italian taste. The offer is divided into brunch on Saturdays and Sundays at fixed price with two or three courses ranging from the Roman tradition to tother domestic classics, such as Roman style salad, frittata and tiramisu. We highly recommend the homemade Ravioli Capresi stuffed with caciotta cheese, marten, tomato sauce, or the fagottelli, spiced duck, rapi. Simplicity and taste equally feature in the lunch and dinner menus where the amatriciana or the risotto alla pescatora shine. A successful outcome.
Ardo Restaurant 2 gamberi
Ardo smells of Sicily and Mediterranean scrub. This is the realm of chef Roberto Marotta a native of Milazzo now Canada resident. The recipes belong to his family and the main product is fresh fish declined in typical Sicilian manner, such as pasta with sardines, pasta alla Norma. But the must is the seafood couscous that recalls continental stories with the variety of spices. Strong of his ability in the kitchen, Roberto manages to tie the best proteins (meat and fish) available in Canada with the best Sicilian products, shipped directly from the island, thus offering Roberto culinary success that translates into his Ardo restaurant, named after Roberto's son, Leonardo.
L’Unità 2 bottiglie
There is a lively atmosphere in this Toronto wine bar, located in an area featuring several quality Italian restaurants. There is good music; the service is friendly and laid back. Bottles are well chosen and hailing from lesser known Italian areas, such as the Oltrepò Pavese and from the smaller Italian islands. There are also virtuoso New World producers chosen among small winegrowers and sustainable businesses. Pairing the wines is a classic and à la carte cuisine, without too many frills but solid and in tune with the wine offer.
Speducci Mercatto 1 gambero
It’s worth going out of your way, leaving the center of Toronto, to visit Gabriele Paganelli’s second location. He also owns Romagna Mia. You can buy excellent salumi and meat to take home or eat on the spot such dishes as hand-sliced prosciutto and housemade pasta like thick strozzapreti with wild boar sauce. Grilled meat is the featured performer, to pair with a glass (or a bottle) of sangiovese.
Terroni Bar Centrale – Yonge At Price 3 bottiglie
Cosimo Mammoliti and partner Paolo Scoppio started the successful project in 1992. Now the pizzerias, restaurants and bakeries between Toronto and Los Angeles are ten. Stylish design and large numbers don’t lower the quality standards of the bread and pizza and wine. The vibrant Yonge Street restaurant is unique. The clientele is young and trendy. On the upper floor is the wine bar Bar Centrale, the pizzeria occupies the third and fourth floors, and tables are also set on the airy terrace. The pizza style is Roman: thin and crisp, the fine dough is baked to perfection. Italian language lessons are streamed in the bathrooms sound system, and in the place there’s an overall sensation that anything could happen any minute. The wine list is dreamy, compiled with love and benefitting from direct imports from Italy. Think three Carema labels and producers with 1,000 bottle yields that are hard to find in the wines own hometown.
La Bettola di Terroni 2 gamberi
Terroni is considered the original Italian hangout in Toronto, with five locations around town it Cosimo Mammoliti and his family have created a choice of different food depending on the restaurant locations. It is all strictly and true Italian made with original produces that Cosimo ship from Italy regularly. We choose La Bettola because it enhances the best Italian style menu, a short version of the other restaurants that offer more variety in their menus. While maintaining the essence of Terroni, the menu at La Bettola focuses on traditional Southern Italian dishes from Puglia, made of no more than three or four ingredients. Curated by the Italian house chef and largely inspired by food seasonality, the menu has something for everyone. The wine selection offers an exclusive variety of classics and probably Toronto’s most unique selections of indigenous wines from all over Italy at a very good price point.
Mistura 1 forchetta
Since 1997 a Toronto classic for Italian restaurants. Sophisticated interpretation of classic northern Italian dishes, Massimo Capra celebrates fine Italian dining inside a handsome for the best comfort food in town. Massimo offers a traditional Italian cuisine with a contemporary twist, well paired with an intelligent and extended wine list of all prices. Signature dish? Ossobuco alla milanese. Our second choice goes to wild boar agnolotti seved with port stewed dried cherries,and wilted greens.
Cibo Wine Bar 1 bottiglia
Comments: Resto-lounge-Old school Italian food with traditional dishes carefully prepared by executive chef Saverio Marci with Made in Italy-only ingredients. 8,000-square foot space lofty and plush, but lamp lighting, exposed wood beams and rough stone archways give it a Roman-grotto feel. A floor-to-ceiling glass wine cellar doubles as décor for an extensive wine list that focused on traditional Italian wines of all prices. Three locations in Toronto for the newest Italian Canadian food spot.
Carisma 1 forchetta
Carisma is the latest of a legacy of seductive traditional Italian restaurants by Michael Pagliaro, long established restaurateur in Toronto. His is a cooking style that Toronto knows and loves, old school Italian with solid dishes for a classic dine experience for locals. Heavy on big hunks of expensive meat carefully cooked, big strong flavours and hefty portions. This is not a trendy bistro retailing tiny plates of Asian/Ital fusion, it's more like something you'd find in Florence or the Tuscan countryside. In late autumn, in Tuscany or at Carisma, try closing your eyes when the tagliolini all'anatra arrives at the table.
Buca 2 forchette
Few places encapsulate Toronto’s dining culture better than Buca, where executive chef Rob Gentile prepares some of the city’s most original and intricate plates in a bare-bones industrial room. This is the best result of a top Italian restaurant fusionized with Canadian fine food culture. Buca is not exactly an Italian restaurant but it embodies the Italian food culture with creativity and culinary expertise. At Buca Yorkville, Rob Gentile’s newest restaurant in the Four Season hotel, the focus is on top-notch fish and seafood, a serious interpretation of the best Italian fish dishes with a special twist of originality.
Pizzeria Libretto Ossington 1 spicchio
Authentic Neapolitan pizza, with a thick crust and all the rest. The secret lies in the oven - built by a Neapolitan manufacturer - along with flour, mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes and not much else. Indeed, pizza is the star of this establishment, flanked by a few tasty treats to start with and a small selection of desserts. The clientele approves and enjoys the typically happy, lively, casual pizzeria atmosphere, which is an invitation to relax and dine.