It’s one of Toronto’s most vibrant neighbourhoods (and ground zero for every soccer-related event in the city). While Little Italy is the place to enjoy a gelato and a stroll to the park on a warm summer’s eve, its appeal is year-round.
Where to Eat and Drink
Starving Artist takes brunch to the next level with a multi-course waffle menu. (Starter waffles? Yes, they’re real.) In their seven locations across the greater Toronto area, they also host comedy shows, paint nights, pop-up markets and a host of other activities to keep you entertained while you chow down. Take the time to examine the works by local artists that adorn the walls of every location.
If $5 Cava from 5pm and 2am isn’t enough to get you through the door, take a look at the exquisite woodwork of this popular Spanish tapas bar. (We promise you’ll be impressed.) The out-of-this-world décor certainly didn’t hurt in getting Raval onto the Canada’s 100 Best List, but try any item from the perpetually changing tapas menu and you’ll understand why it deserves to be there. Small shared plates make it the perfect place for either a date or for a crowd, and the cocktail menu is truly next level.
Little Italy’s favourite food truck opened a brick-and-mortar store back in 2016, and the resulting low-key counter service and great burgers have maintained the laid-back vibe. The food truck is still around and is a popular fixture at Toronto’s many summer festivals. Pair your burger with a homemade soda (they do everything from artisanal cream soda to a delicious pineapple coconut spritzer) for the full experience.
Woodlot’s Canadian-inspired menu and cozy, rustic atmosphere has generated a lot of buzz since it opened in 2010. Located on the corner of College and Palmerston (one of Toronto’s prettiest streets), the space is centred around a huge, wood-fired oven, making it perfect for a cozy date night.
What to do
This art deco event venue, built in 1939, has developed a loyal fan base with ambitious programming that combines film and live events. Hollywood hits and special screenings are shown throughout the week, and weekends are often reserved for live music, comedy shows and other performances.
This anything-but-stuffy art space has built a big reputation since it opened in 2012. Larger-than-life exhibitions with themes ranging from science fiction to eroticism make it one of the most unique and experimental art venues in the city.
From entertainer Dean Martin to Supreme Court judge Frank Iacobucci to Hockey Hall of Famer Phil Esposito, notable persons of Italian descent are immortalized on shiny marble stars on the north side of College Street between Grace and Clinton Streets. It’s the only walk of fame in the world that honours prominent Italians, and it’s definitely worth a visit.
Starting off with a perfect morning espresso, Little Italy is a neighbourhood to get lost in for the day. Take your time and savour the area.