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You Are Here: Eat, Shop & Hang Out in Little Italy


you are here Little Italy Toronto

Bar Isabel (photo: Paula Wilson)

West of the University of Toronto, College Street and its surroundings were historically home to a large Italian population. The area’s heritage has long since been diluted, but its main drag is still filled with tasty restaurants, cool cafés and more.

1 The hospitality of the Highlands is in full effect at The Caledonian a Scottish pub that pours nearly 200 whiskies (scotch or otherwise) alongside contemporary twists on hearty dishes like steak pie, butter chicken and haggis, naturally. 856 College St., 647-547-9827; thecaledonian.ca

2 Bar Isabel is one of Toronto’s most popular eateries; every evening it’s stuffed with patrons from first seating ‘til well past midnight. Go for the Spanish small plates. Stay for the excellent, boozy cocktails and craft beers. 797 College St., 416-532-2222; barisabel.com

You Are Here Little Italy Toronto


3 Highly desirable gifts, clothing and curated lifestyle products for international jetsetters are the stock-in-trade of Monocle, one of only five boutiques in the world representing globetrotting media baron Tyler Brulé’s business-and-travel brand. 776 College St., 647-694-2626; monocle.com/shop

4 One of the College Street strip’s finest dining rooms, Frank’s Kitchen exudes both warmth and sophistication. Chef-owner Frank Parhizgar’s tasting menu, which can reach upwards of 20 courses, is one of the best—if most underrated—in Toronto. 588 College St., 416-516-5861; Twitter page

5 The staff at Soundscapes is among the city’s most music-savvy. No matter your taste, if you’re seeking something new to listen to, this unassuming boutique has recommendable recordings (on vinyl or CD) in spades. 572 College St., 416-537-1620; soundscapesmusic.com

you are here little italy toronto

Dailo (photos: Jim Norton Photography)

6 Two years in the making, chef Nick Liu’s Dailo finally opened last summer—to great acclaim. Sweet and sour pork hock and whole fried giggie trout are among the must-try options from Liu’s forward-looking menu of stylized Chinese fare. 503 College St., 647-341-8882; dailoto.com

7 Snakes and Lagers is the Little Italy offshoot of Koreatown gaming café Snakes and Lattes. The sibling space boasts a list of board- and card games equal to the offerings of its progenitor, but instead of caffeine to accompany your gameplay, there’s, well, craft beer. 488 College St., 647-748-4004; snakesandlagers.com

you are here little italy toronto

Lilliput Hats (photo: Gizelle Lau)

8 The distinctive, damasked facade of Lilliput Hats gives way to racks and racks of unique cloches, fascinators and more, as well as owner Karyn Gingras’s workshop, where each piece is hand made. 462 College St., 416-536-5933; lilliputhats.ca

9 Like so many of the city’s artisan cafés, Manic Coffee is always busy—but ever-welcoming, too. It’s also one of only a few spots in Toronto to use beans from Chicago’s renowned Intelligentsia Coffee. 426 College St., 416-966-3888; maniccoffee.com

10 If not for beef and bitumen, Jelly Modern Doughnuts would probably be Alberta’s most sought-after export. The made-in-Calgary bakery offers more than a dozen gourmet flavours, from Madagascar bourbon vanilla to maple bacon. There’s even a daily doughnut for gluten-sensitive indulgers. 376 College St., 416-962-2053; jellymoderndoughnuts.com

GET THERE! The easiest route to Little Italy is on the 506 Carlton streetcar—transfer from College or Queen’s Park subway stations, or get on anywhere else along College Street. Other intersecting transit routes include the 511 Bathurst streetcar and 63 Ossington bus.  —Craig Moy

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