Check out the updated Joanne Kates Top 100 Toronto Restaurants for 2013!
It's hard to imagine the Terroni chain nabbing a spot on this list, but Osteria is their quality spot; it functions like a Neapolitan grandmother's trattoria, so what if she's not there. I've been there at night and watched the pasta lady filling ravioli, so la nonna may be AWOL, but her cooking is alive and well on Victoria Street. The prices are small but the flavours are large. Epicures measure southern Italian restaurants partly on the strength of the tomato sauce, and this one has depth and grandeur, thanks in large part to a generous contribution from toasted garlic. They do strong-flavoured pastas, seafood with that assertive tomato sauce and that old throwback eggplant parmiggiana - but not greasy. They roll pork up around almonds, guanciale, and that most Italian of veg, dandelion greens. This is simple cooking, with heart and soul. Don't count on the same high standard from the service.