“ Ferrovia, Thornhill “ - Bravo!.....for managing to stay afloat, through rain or shine, for over 2 decades and for keeping up with the same high food standard!

To some of you long standing Toronto

foodie members, myself included. The mentioning of the names like Galileo, Herbs, JOV Bistro, JK Wine bar, Perigee, Truffles….etc will for sure bring back some culinary nostalgia and fond memories. At that time, their talented chefs and kitchen created some of the most memorable and delicious food in town, which in turn created some of the hottest and hard-to-come-by tables. Sadly, none of these ‘Culinary Superstars’ managed to survive!

Roughly around the same period, ’Ferrovia‘, a small cosy Italian Trattoria, opened its doors to some lucky residents in Thornhill. Tucked inside an obscure strip plaza along Bayview and Steeles, this neighborhood gem was packed almost nightly……. offering some of the tastiest and ‘best value’ Italian comfort food in the area, if not the GTA! In particular, their ‘loaded with flavor, fork tender Lamb Shank’ paired with some perfectly cooked and wonderfully tasting…….’lentils and beans’! A ‘talk-of-the-town’ dish that was even mentioned and raved by Joanne Kates!

Whilst shopping at Longo’s next door, I noticed and was surprised to see they are still in business after all these years! Out of curiosity, I decided to take a gamble and take a trip down memory lane by paying this ‘ageless ex-canteen’ a long overdue re-visit!! If my recollection is correct, most of the house-specialties and iconic dishes, featured way back when, still occupied a space in the current menu! A good sign and testament that indicates “ If the formula works, stick and don’t mess with it “!!

For tonight’s dinner, without hesitation, the first thing I ordered was the Lamb Shank. Not only was it super-delish based on my recollection, I also recalled they were always in heavy demand but the kitchen somehow only made a small limited batch nightly!! To that, we ordered a grilled calamari and a spicy tomato based Penne pasta with Italian sausages and olives and finished off their ‘hard-to-find’, warm banana bread-pudding with caramel sauce and custard.

First off, our appetiser of nicely charred and perfectly timed squid morsels were tender, juicy and engulfed with enticing char-broiled aroma! The slightly spicy and tangy dressing, an impeccable compliment.

Next comes the star of the evening! Without doubt, the first thing that immediately stood out was the size of the lamb shank……it was humongous! Without missing a beat, the current kitchen managed to reproduce that wonderfully caramelized and off-the-bone tender characteristic, pairing this hunk of protein with a delightful, slightly sweet, savory jus. The creamy polenta, a perfect match to soak up the liquid!
Whilst others in town, featuring lamb shank, charge over $40+ for this dish, Ferrovia’s $32 was more than reasonable and in fact, unbelievable in this day and age!

My daughter’s Penne dish was flavourful and full of depth with the right amount of spiciness. The pasta cooked perfectly al-dente.

Saving room for dessert, I brown-bagged half of my lamb shank entree. The Banana Bread Pudding was as good as before though the amount of custard sauce was a bit on the stingy side, rendering the final few bites a touch dry. Otherwise, it would have become another perfect addition to our list of marvellous and enjoyable dishes.

For well executed, homey, comfort rustic Italian fare at a great price point, Ferrovia will for sure become my go-to place from now on! Michelin Bib Gourmand!..Are you listening?!