Once upon a time, the best Italian restaurants in Toronto used to be… generic. Hybrid dishes like spaghetti and meatballs dominated the gastronomical scene, alongside fluffy, North-Americanized pizzas. To get a taste of "home," older Italian men would gather in neighborhood Italian bakeries to sip on espresso and frothy cappuccinos. Back then, these were considered exotic coffee options in Toronto but, today, they're as ubiquitous as a bowl of freshly made pasta.
Times have changed: thanks in large part to the influx of Italian immigrants landing on our shores through the 1970s, the local restaurant scene has flourished into a destination for top-notch Italian dishes that folks from all over the country flock to. Today, eateries helmed by Italian-born chefs or first-generation Canadians with ancestral roots in the boot of Europe choose to serve regional dishes that are as varied as the landscape that originated them – co-existing alongside poutine and other only-in-Toronto delicacies to be embraced by frequent travelers.
From a mushroom gnudi that will send shivers down your spine to eclectic wine lists that pair perfectly with spuntini (that's Italian for snacks), we dare say that dining at these spots should be added to the activities mentioned on our lists of best things to do in town. Don’t you agree?
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Toronto