Italian restaurants, coffee shops, take-out, etc on College Street/ in Little Italy / College Promenade [Toronto]

I was curious about the Italian restaurants closer to Little Italy.

I have had some meals at Il Covo and Taverniti’s over the past 3 years.

I haven’t tried Quadro, Il Padrino, Sotto Voce or Zitto Zitto taverna.

I haven’t been to Vivoli since it opened. It’s been 10 years since my last visit to the Dip or Regina’s. Regina’s looks like the last surviving down-to-earth trattoria in the neighbourhood.

I haven’t been to that San Francesco location. I love my veal sandwiches but I avoid them due to the calorie load. :joy:

I also haven’t been to Giulietta on College Promenade further west for a few years.

Has anyone tried the takeout at Festival Fine Foods? It looks like Festival Fine Foods and Grace Meats are the only places for Italian groceries in Little Italy other than at the Metro. Kiss My Pans is also a cheese monger.
Thanks for any comments!

1 Like

We did Giulietta’s patio a few times during the pandemic. The last time seemed a slight step down from the previous level of quality, but not by much. We’ll go again at some point.

I have not been to the Dip in forever. The panzerotto there was my go-to. A crispy coating encasing lots of gooey cheese, with a lovely tomato sauce. Hope its still good there.

I also really like the tartufo at the Sicilian Sidewalk Cafe.


I get the feeling Giulietta probably is still the best option for Italian food on College Street.

1 Like

Little Italy is becoming less and less Italian, based on all the sushi joints etc there now. The San Francesco’s on Clinton used to be amazing back in the day but now it’s incredibly disappointing. I had turned to California sandwiches (OG on Claremont) but even that disappointed me last time. I may try the Taverniti on Dovercourt at Hallam soon.

1 Like

The sushi thing is passing in Little Italy. For a while, while you were in the UK, there were over 5 cheap sushi restaurants.

The new addition to Little Italy are several new modern Indian restaurants. I’m not a huge fan of Indian food, compared to a dozen other cuisines that are a priority for me, so I haven’t tried them.

I’m mostly going to focus on Italian restaurants in this thread.

For non-Italian food in Little Italy and the College Promenade, I think I will start a different thread.

The gnocchi alla Gorgonzola at the Tav’s Gnocchi’ Bar on College St is quite good. The eggplant parm at the Trattora Taverniti on College St, same owners, pretty good.

I didn’t know there was a Taverniti on Dovercourt at Hallam.

1 Like

That’s too bad about California. That was a go-to for many years. I haven’t had one recently.

1 Like

More a metaphysical question.

But does a cosmopolitan city like Toronto really need a “Little Italy” district?

When there are so many world class Italian restaurants not in Little Italy? Don Alfonso 1890, Viaggio, and Famiglia Baldassarre to name just a few.

1 Like

It’s a historic neighbourhood. It doesn’t have to continue to be Italian.

Little Italy is becoming less and less Italian, based on all the sushi joints etc there now.

Much like Kensington Market, the culture evolves as newcomers arrive, and old timers move the burbs, retire and pass away. Toronto had 3 historic Italian neighborhoods. The College St Little Italy, the St Clair W Corso Italia and a small Italian neighbourhood near Danforth and Monarch Park.

The same influx of Thai, Indian, wing joints has happened in the Polish, Greek, and Ukrainian neighborhoods, as well. Little India is holding its own, and Little Portugal has had an influx of hip joints along Dundas W.


Little Italy’s restaurants haven’t been the upscale Italian restaurants, typically. The $$$$ Italian restaurants were usually in higher rent neighbourhoods, such as Coppi on Yonge N of Lawrence, Sotto Sotto on Avenue Road, Carisma, Don Alfonso , etc.

Little Italy is a little kitschy, like the North End in Boston. I think most Italian restaurants in TO’s Little Italy are better than your average tourist trap in NYC’s Little Italy. Although, TO’s Cafe Diplomatico’s food is pretty bad.

I don’t like Don Alfonso.

I haven’t tried Viaggio.

I can recommend Carisma.

I haven’t been to Baldassare, but I’ve purchased their pasta at a place that no longer exists. I do like Enoteca Sociale on Dundas W. Giulietta on the College Promenade, the neighborhood west of Little Italy, is excellent. Sister restaurant to Osteria Giulia on Avenue Road just northwest of Yorkville,

I also want to try Lucia on Dupont in the Junction. Mattachioni in the Junction and in East York is excellent for sandwiches, bread and pizzas.


I stopped by Grace Meat Market this morning, and bought a rib steak ($1.6 lb steak, which cost $33) With a $25 purchase, they are throwing F in a small bag of Russet Potatoes (around 3), if you want them. I love a bonus. :joy:

2 non-Italian bonuses this week on this stretch. Bakery Pompette threw in a slice of marble loaf after I purchased $80 worth of stuff. (Not sure if they do this all the time! It’s possible I was just lucky) Liu offers free drip coffee when you purchase a pastry between 9 am and 11 am.


Alimentari on Roncesvalles has a nice upscale $$$ hot table.

I’ve bought coffee and some pantry goods at Barocco X Nino on the College Promenade

1 Like

Contrada opened last week at the southwest corner of College and Euclid. The chef is Michael Vieira.


I’m going to try the roast pork , broccoli rabe and provolone sandwich at Bear Sandwiches soon.

1 Like

Sounds like a Philly-style sandwich like at DiNic’s or Tony Luke’s (mouth watering in remembrance). Will be interested to know how it is.

1 Like