Enoteca Sociale1288 Dundas St. W., 416-534-1200
Its chefs may change, but at its heart, the restaurant doesn't. Between the faux-wood panelling, the genuine warmth toward returning parties by the bar and also professional staff shown ’s extraordinary variety of unique, Italian wines that are quaffable, this comfy place stays Toronto’s of dining by the Tiber, most authentic replica. Chef James Santon catches the soul of a pillowy foundation for sour tomato, chilies, the boot in his gnocchi along with a languorous puddle of smoked ricotta that reads achingly easy, but is soul-food satisfying. Dialogue resumes only after every last morsel has been scraped in the plate and licked off the spoon, and pauses for chocolate terrine, a trinity of candied hazelnuts, dense chocolate mousse and spritely olive oil.
Mistura265 Davenport Rd., 416 515 0009
The fine, grey-on-grey room is scanned from the comfort of a plush booth. Chef Klaus Rourich sends out classy interpretations of classic northern Italian dishes. For seasoning a bright salad of orange slices, shaved fennel and uses ricotta and niçoise olives, and almonds for feel. Puttanesca that is earthy, without a trace of mush, offsets octopus. Textbook bolognese, just bound with milk, is deep with flavour.
La Cascina1552 Avenue Rd., 416-590-7819
Abruzzan chef Luca Del Rosso’s menu changes daily, but his main tools are always salt, olive oil and time —each dish is cooked soft, slow and long. The antipasti course brings a number of mini-masterpieces, including creamy pan-fried potatoes paired with sour tomatoes and salty capers; slow-cooked lentils and carrots; and a downy scramble of eggs, eggplant and ricotta.
Buca Yorkville53 Scollard St., 416 962 2822
At Rob Gentile’s new Yorkville eatery, the focus is on top notch seafood and fish. The “ salami made with scallop, octopus, swordfish or tuna blood along with pork fat, are like excellent headcheese, though nowhere near as popular as deep-fried exotica like Atlantic cod tongue or puffed dumplings dyed a deep black with squid ink. The day’s catch presented just like a devotional offering and is cracked tableside. Everything is perfect, like the zeppola—an Italian doughnut— stuffed with a rich pistachio and dusted with confectioner’s sugar -mascarpone cream.
Ardo243 King St. E., 647-347-8930
Chef Roberto Marotta’s Sicilian-inspired dishes offer a degree of sophistication that sets this new St. Lawrence spot above many of the city’s trattorias. Acciughe—punchy white anchovies and roasted red peppers on crunchy herb butter–soaked crostini—are a perfect two-bite snack (or spuntini, as the Sicilians would have it), and sourdough starter makes an exceptionally bouffant pizza crust. It’s a welcome change from the Neapolitan tyranny.
Zucca2150 Yonge St., 416 488 5774
For two decades, this upscale Midtown haunt is the benchmark for exceptional food that is Italian. Chef Andrew Milne- Allan was doing local, seasonal cuisine long before it was trendy, and the eatery’s servers that are professional could instruct Parkdale’s cool youngsters a thing or two. Made in-house every morning, the ever changing pastas are an evident strength, like the hand-cut red wine tagliatelle in a duckandrabbit ragout—a delightfully pastoral dish. Complicated plates, like the seared muscovy duck breast with bitter treviso roasted figs and also a lemon risotto, showcase the kitchen’s deftness at balancing flavours. A good wine list is broken down by area of Italy, and classic desserts like affogato, panna cotta and biscotti are perfect endnotes to a romantic meal.
Campo244 Jane St., 647 346 2267
Only at that Baby Point trattoria, it, although a lot of Italian kitchens in this city seem to consider that any spaghetti with meat sauce may be passed off as bolognese. Ground beef and pork are cooked for 48 hours with milk, tomatoes along with a veggie mirepoix to make a strong-flavoured sauce that goes over pasta that is excellent. The kitchen also scores points for its handcrafted gnocchi, smaller than normal but the perfect mix of compact and airy, coated in a delicious tomato and ’ nduja sauce. The wine list is modest but features choices from some less-heralded areas of the boot, and the digestif selection contains some rare amari.
Aria Ristorante25 York St., 416 363 2742
The room is a showstopper, with tremendous starburst light fixtures and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Maple Leaf Square. Translucent pink sheets of tender veal dressed with anchovy tuna and caper sauce make for the city’s vitello tonnato that is greatest. Desserts are lusciously traditional (a pistachio tart with macerated strawberries) or brilliantly non-traditional (a creamy popcorn, pine nut and sweet corn ice cream bar). Unless there’s an event in the ACC closed Sundays.