It used to be that Toronto was a bit of a backwater when it came to authentic Italian cuisine – but those times have truly changed. The abundance of emigrants from the Mediterranean region – and their descendants have transformed a city once known for spaghetti and meatballs into a regional powerhouse of authentic, rustic and inventive approaches to Italian cuisine. The only challenge for the diner who is a Toronto resident – or visiting this vibrant city (which now boasts some of the best restaurants in the region) is where to go to pull up a seat at a fantastic Italian dining destination. However, as a starting point, here are some of the best Italian restaurants Toronto.
1.Bar Buca & Buca.
For those who really want to get under the skin of Italian regional cuisine (including some of the lesser known dishes), this is the place to book a table. The dining venue experiments with rustic cuisine that traditionally used some of the less ‘desirable’ cuts of meat – including offal – and the results are spectacular. Buca is the destination for higher-end dining and ‘Bar Buca’ offers a lighter choice. However, don’t be fooled by those labels. Bar Buca still offers some of the best pizzas in the city.
- Cibo Wine Bar.
Combining dishes of classic simplicity and robust flavors with a decidedly modern interpretation this is a restaurant that will reward exploration. It has fabulous offerings such as the Gorgonzola Pizza with a delightfully thin crush . Served with mozzarella, gorgonzola, fresh pears, walnuts and honey it is a treat for the senses.
- Ascari Enoteca.
A great venue, with a great menu and a wine list that matches the quality of the menu offerings. However – diners would be well advised to book in advance as there are only 32 seats available. The menu boasts dishes that cover a wide spectrum of Italian cuisine. The handcrafted ‘caramelle’ deserves special mention for a sumptuous filling of pumpkin with highlights of lemon, caper and anchovy.
- Piano Piano.
This is that rare offering. A restaurant that is as suitable for date night, special occasions and family dining alike. Here you can get it all – pizza, pasta and meat dishes (and some spectacular sides) that make every visit into a treat. The chef sticks with classical flavors – but that is no bad thing as each dish is done to perfection. Dip into the grilled octopus with highlights of grilled Dandelion, crispy potato and smoked Paprika. Or try the spectacular ‘Sweet Hornet’ pizza (with Soppressata and a dribble of hot honey).
- Sotto Sotto.
A Toronto classic dining destination. Sticking to the tried and proven – but making it so well that you’d think you were in the country itself, this dining destination simply shines. Try the risotto and seafood that will take your breath away in terms of both freshness and flavor.
Toronto is not the sleepy backwater it once was when it comes to Italian cuisine. If you have hankering for cuisine that will warm your heart and tease your tastebuds set aside some time to explore the best Italian restaurants Toronto.