1. Enoteca SocialeEnoteca Sociale understands better than most that simplicity isn't a bad thing. Rustic Italian fare is often more satisfying than more polished offerings, a point underscored by one bite of a three or four ingredient pasta on the menu here. But it's also about more than that, too. Be it the locally sourced meats, the on-site cheese cave, or the superb wine list, Enoteca Sociale has Italian down pat, and Toronto has taken note.
2. Buca RestaurantBuca may not be that easy to find on one's first visit, but something about that just makes sense. It's as if one should have to work just a little bit to reap what's on offer once you arrive. As is the case with other high-ranking restaurants on the list, the focus isn't on fancy so much as honest. Everything is housemade (bread, pasta, cured meats, etc.) and everything is so very good. Meat-eaters must try the sausages.
3. Pizzeria LibrettoOffering delicious and authentic Neapolitan pizza flash-cooked in a 900 degree wood oven, this is Toronto's best-loved pizzeria. While the non-pizza menu options might not be that extensive, staples like buttermilk calamari and beef carpaccio keep the regulars (and there are a lot of them) coming back. Add to that locally sourced meats and cheeses, seasonal specials, and a well priced/selected wine list.
4. Terroni RestaurantThe dining rooms at the various Terroni outposts around town are always full. With thin-crust pizza that rivals Libretto's, simple and well-executed pastas, and a variety of mains offered daily, Terroni has long been the city's go to for no-fuss Italian. The wine list gets points for its overall range and by-the-glass options.
5. CampagnoloThe warm and wood-filled dining room can feel like an escape from the city if you avoid casting your eyes toward Dundas West. But even if you do, should you have a bit of Chef Craig Harding's take on homestyle Italian cooking on your tongue, it'll still feel like you've been transported to the old country in some small way.