by Lauren Mote
This southern Italian haven of fresh, delicious food can be sampled in three locations across Toronto, and one in the United States, on Beverley Blvd, in Los Angeles. Terroni’s debut location, on Queen St. West at Niagara St. has the most character in my opinion, with the simplest, most inviting back patio, of which I have enjoyed more times in the past two summers then I would care to admit publicly. The other two locations are just as unique; Victoria St. at Richmond St. in the financial district, and Yonge St. at Balmoral St. uptown, just north of Rosedale. As it has been publicly released in the last 6 months, the Victoria St. location is closing, and will be reopening in the space where famed restaurant, the Courthouse – owned by Liberty Entertainment Group – once stood.
I have eaten many times at each location and this review will cover the experience my good friend Emily and I shared at the uptown location.
It was a humid July day in Toronto. The only way to quench one’s thirst in this weather was a nice glass of white wine. Water is truly overrated when having a visit with a friend you rarely see! Dry with a subtle sweetness, fresh and acidic – our wine choice was perfect – 1/4 litre of Greco white ($16). Sitting under the canopies, tucked away in the shade, Emily and I sipped and gabbed. Before ordering, our server brings us sliced ciabatta bread and extra fruity olive oil. Wonderful!
After about 30 minutes, we ordered. Emily would have the Fettuccine Tuccino ($16) – fresh fettuccine, with seared tiger shrimp, mint leaves and olive oil. I ordered my usual favourite dish, Calamari alla Grigli ($12) -grilled calamari on a bed of baby arugula, onion and tomato salad, with capers, finished with a rich and tangy balsamic vinaigrette. It truly is fresh and delicious; my habit of repeat ordering helps me to recommend the consistency of this dish. It is surprising to me that it’s the same, each time I order it, at each location. Sounds a bit finicky, I know – but it’s delicious!
Both dishes were so refreshing. Light, great ingredients, perfect with the wine. It was truly exciting to have a lunch work so well in this heat and humidity.
After our entrees, we ordered a couple of espressos; Terroni uses Illy Espresso which is one of the best Italian imports to Canada in my opinion; caramel-like aroma and colour, nutty and lasting taste on the palate. To go with our rich coffees, I order my favourite Giovanna Biscotti ($2) – nutella – made on site!Emily is more daring, and goes straight for the Tiramisu ($7) – light, slightly sweet, moist and silky sponge cake with a thin layer of coffee between the sponge layers. On top, a slight dusting of sugar and cocoa powder.
Overall, the service was excellent, as it usually is; they are always assertive and attentive. In fact, I have had this particular server before, Olivia, during a visit with Johnny, so I was thrilled to see her again. The proprietors have really developed something special here. I remember a food writer commented on Terroni, in a Toronto Life review stating “…every neighbourhood in Toronto should have one…”; I couldn’t agree more.
1 Balmoral St. – (416)925-4020
720 Queen St. West – (416)504-0320
106 Victoria St. – (416)955-0258