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Buca Osteria & Bar, Toronto, Canada
Photograph: King Street Food Company

The best Italian restaurants in Toronto

Italian-born chefs serve regional dishes as varied as their country of origin at the best Italian restaurants in Toronto

Written by
Lydia Hrycko

Canada’s largest city has no shortage of great restaurants, but few types of cuisine can compete with the love affair the city has with Italian food and the impressive assortment of eateries that celebrate the diversity of flavours and dishes originating from the boot of Europe. Take a stroll through any neighbourhood from The Beaches to High Park and you’ll find a trendy spot serving up classic dishes like whole branzino or eggplant parmigiana to steaming slices of ‘za done in any style, from Sicilian to Neapolitan.

From the world’s top-rated Italian restaurant to humble American-Italian hole in the walls slinging out steaming plates of high-piled pasta to an in-the-know supper club that will transport you to Puglia, these are the best Italian restaurants in Toronto to have on your radar in 2022. Buon appetito!

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The best Italian restaurants in Toronto

Named the Top Italian Restaurant in the World by 50 Top Italy, this upscale eatery located in Toronto’s Casa Loma is a must-try. Helmed by chef Alfonso Iaccarino, hailing from Sant'Agata sui Due Golfi in Italy, who has been honoured with a 3-star Michelin designation. The multi-course signature tasting menu has also been awarded the Mulino Caputa Aware for Meal of the Year 2022. The commitment to quality ingredients is unparalleled; with house-grown herbs and produce down to the olives used in the house-made olive oil. If those impressive accolades aren’t enough to convince you, maybe the artful dishes from wild rose scented tagliatelle with sturgeon caviar to a seared Quebec duck breast just might. Wine lovers take note because the restaurant’s wine cellar is also home to some of the world’s most prestigious wines.

Classy and contemporary, yet warm, the original Buca Osteria & Enoteca located on King West (there are two outposts peppered all over town, plus Bar Buca, a more casual café and bar concept) equally embraces tradition and modernity, skillfully combining the two into remarkable dishes. Come for the house-made salumi, displayed in the windowed curing rooms, and stay for the freshly-made pasta dishes, including the incredible angel hair pasta with Nova Scotia lobster. Consistently ranked as one of Canada’s best chefs, chef Rob Gentile has spent extensive time traveling to the far corners of Italy, learning regional delicacies from the best cooks in Italy. A unique cheese board and award-winning desserts will ensure you leave satiated.


This casual favourite is a combination bakery, pizzeria and bodega where pizzaiolo David Mattachioni and his team make some of the city's best pizzas, breads, paninis and salads. Carb avoiders will have a hard time skirting the house-made sourdough or the naturally leavened, blistered-to-perfection pies. Go for the quality in everything you'll eat, from the flavorful margherita to the texturally terrific salads that eat like a meal (the cannellini beans with tuna and arugula is a stand-out). Bonus points for discount pies from Mondays to Wednesdays in support of Meal Share.

This sleek, well-designed, two-level space is oh-so-sophisticated. On the main floor is the cafeteria with grab to-go paninis, home-ready meals (including pasta sauces to go) sweets and coffees. Upstairs is Osteria Da Geppetto, a more formal sit-down dining room. This location is the second-wave of the Terroni empire, started by two friends inspired by the food and culture of Puglia, but expect to find unique dishes at Sud Forno that won’t be found at other Terroni spots. One good reason to visit are the bombalino’s, bite-sized Italian doughnuts that are filled with a pleasing filling of either cream or Nutella. If you're on Queen West, you can stop by that outpost, too, or you can load up at home from the Terroni online shop.


Tucked away in the Dundas West neighbourhood, you’ll find this new hidden jewel that’s causing a buzz in the city. From the decadent brunch plates (hello tiramisu pancakes!) to Italian favourites made with the freshest in-season produce, a meal at Viaggio is a dreamy love note to carbs, fresh produce and impressive mains housed in a cozy atmosphere. Don’t miss the Prince of Bologna pizza or the ricotta-stuffed zucchini flower fritters that are literally a perfect bite. As the name suggests (roughly translated to 'journey'), chef Jon Vettraino’s menu will take you on a delightfully comforting culinary ride.

A 100-layer lasagna should be enough to pique your interest and put this Trinity Bellwoods-adjacent spot on your list. Take your pick of dining on the chef’s multi-course family-style menu or enjoy the a la carte menu that includes a refined selection of pizzas, pastas, mains and fabulous cocktail offerings (espresso martini, anyone?). The stylish brick-and-mortar location makes for a trendy night out, but you can also catch their food truck around the city (or book it for you hosted events) to sample some portable bites. Chef Craig Harding’s restaurant is effortlessly chic and worth a visit.


Equal parts upscale market and restaurant, this gem hidden in Toronto’s design district offers no-nonsense cusine. Here you’ll find incredibly tasty pizzas, pastas and the best lamb speducci for kilometres. Chef Gabriele Paganelli is an award-winning cook, garnering the Gold and Silver Spoon awards for his risotto. The classic pastas and pizzas here are delicious, though the grilled meat and speducci are second to none and the calamari fritti is also a thing of beauty. Should you decide that you need more of these flavours than you can handle in one sitting, difficult decisions await amongst the jars of homemade ragu, hanging handmade salumi (including venison and boar) and well-stocked cheese fridges. And don’t forget the speducci at the butcher’s counter.

Quite simply, this trendy supper club is the best reason to plan a dinner in advance. Communal tables and a BYOB policy only add to a raucous and celebratory village atmosphere at this Pugliese, self-taught chef's regional Italian dinner parties. It’s hands down one of the most memorable dining experiences you'll have anywhere. Massimo Bruno, who learned his trade from his mother and grandmother, makes delicious regional specialties—and large quantities of them at that. Key to the evenings is the host himself, a raucous ball of energy who introduces his dishes and makes guests part of the family. If you’re fortunate enough to be around in the summer, look out for the quick-to-sell-out al fresco Tuscan evenings where guests dine under the stars.


A local favorite amongst pasta aficionados and chefs alike (who order from their wholesale business), the handcrafted selection at this West End spot will impress even the most jaded diner. There are just under thirty shapes available for you to choose from, from inventively filled ravioli to mezzelune and classic tagliatelle. You’ll have to plan ahead to dine here as they’re only open from noon until 2pm on Wednesdays to Fridays. The lines can be long, but they’re oh-so-worth it. Order a plate of perfect pasta, perhaps a seasonal side salad and some paper-thin, sixteen-month D.O.P. crudo di Parma slices. Then slow down and enjoy the ride.

Giulietta sits in the space that formerly housed steakhouse Bestellen. Chef Rob Rossi partnered with the same design team behind Buca to create a fresh, new space that offers lighter, family-style sharing plates in an elegant setting. While the focus is on shareable dishes (don’t miss the grilled octopus with cannellini beans), Giulietta’s menu still features plenty of delicious pizzas and pastas to be enjoyed singularly. Psst! Save room for the seasonal house-made gelatos for dessert.


Neopolitan-style pizzas with homemade sourdough crust are pumped out of the woodfired oven at this Junction restaurant with a dreamy patio. Other standouts include their perfectly crisp eggplant parm, revolving pasta dishes that change with the local seasonal ingredients and other delightful sharing plates. Wine lovers rejoice as the wine list features an impressive 50+ available by the glass alone (let’s not even talk about the bottle selection).

Throw out pretences of high-brow Italian restaurants with small pasta portions when you head to this neighbourhood favourite. Here you’ll be greeted with friendly service despite the perpetual line around the block. Everything about this American-Italian joint is warm and welcoming, from the classic red checked tablecloths to the hearty parm sandwiches that are the perfect to-go meal. Don’t miss the giant knuckle-sized meatball or the rigatoni pasta that’s a cult classic among those in the know. Before heading out be sure to pick up a jar of their namesake house-made red sauce.


There are four outposts from Leslieville to Liberty Village of these stylish, neighborhood gems that offer quality Italian dishes with a few innovative flourishes. For example, the house-made new school gnocchi with a truffle crema is a crowd favourite. The crispy arancini filled with mozzarella, peas and a meat ragu are the perfect table order to start the night off right. There's a real local vibe at this growing group of restaurants as the service is attentive and the ambiance just right for a casual night out.

Toronto’s ode to all things Roman, Enoteca Sociale captures the Eternal City’s proud sense of community and neighbourliness. Focusing on fresh ingredients, humble dishes and honest cuisine, this West End hotspot celebrates simplicity and il dolce far niente. A quintessential Italian enoteca where Chef Kyle Rindinella celebrates traditional Roman dishes as well as the joy involved in sharing them. Classics like fava e ciccoria (fava bean purée) vie for your attention, competing with tantalizing secondi like 50-day aged rib-eye steaks and whole grilled branzino.


Led by the team behind Local Kitchen and Wine Bar, Lucia is the brash and bold younger sister to the Toronto staple. Chef Fabio Bondi learned his pasta-making chops in Italy from working in Umbria under the direction of Michelin-star chef Mario Citadini. Enjoy steak tartare accented with anchovies or a generously-sized bone-in pork chop parm, but don’t forget to save room for the to-die Nutella tiramisu for the perfect finish.

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