Tag Archives: italian food

Review: The Sony Centre Partner Neighborhood Restaurant: Vagabondo Italian Ristorante + Lounge


After the Batsheva performance at The Sony Centre on Saturday night, we went for a delicious dinner at Vagabondo Italian Ristorante + Lounge. Found across the street from the Sony Centre for Performing Arts – the vibe of the space was sleek, sophisticated and fun. Be sure to grab a special discount off your food/drink receipt when you show your Sony Centre for Performing Arts ticket before or after your show! A perfect way to stretch your dollar, feed you and your guests and keep the good energy flowing!

Upon entering Vagabondo we were greeted by a server who guided us into the restaurant. The space was dimly lit but with grandiose chandeliers that sparkled above our heads.  The seating was modern but very comfortable.  Cushioned chairs and leather partitions provided privacy and a respite if you wanted to canoodle with a loved one or just hang out with friends after work or during a sports game.

We sat in the bar room area which gave us a wonderful view of Berczy Park. After the performance we were hungry but needed space and time to debrief the show.

Our server, John, was polite and made wonderful suggestions for food and drink pairings. He was attentive but also didn’t neglect us.  Our plates and cutlery were replaced after each sitting and a mild check in on what our thoughts were after each meal was gently queried.

We started with the Antipasto Di Mare (Grilled Calamari, Fried Calamari, Coconut Shrimp, Smoked Salmon, Cocktail shrimp. Minimum 2 people). The plate was like a fruits de la mer.  Abundant.  Tasty.  Succulent and meaty.  We were in love.  Just this plate alone could be a wonderful ally for a pre-show snack with drinks.  The smoked salmon was luxe, sweet and beautifully sliced.  The capers were salty and mesmerizing.  We felt a glow coming off us as we laughed and got stuck in.


The Gnocchi Pomodoro (Potato dumplings served with basil and garlic in our homemade tomato sauce) were nicely portioned. A petit bowl housed the soft ‘melt in your mouth’ gnocchi.  Filling but not a feeling like you over did it.  The homemade tomato sauce was gentle and married well with the basil, garlic and a dash of parmesan.

The Penne All’Arrabbiata was awash in the same home-made tomato basil sauce, jalapeno, garlic, green onions and a splash of white wine. I encourage you to add kalamata black olives & sun-dried tomatoes to make the dish even more verbose.

The Vitello al Taglio Francese consists of a 12oz Provimi French cut veal chop marinated with herbs and garlic, grilled to perfection & served with a portobello demiglaze sauce. It had all the makings of a grand Sunday brunch pleaser.  I encourage you to drink this with a large pint from the bar.

The Filetto di Salmone consists of a filet of salmon which is encrusted in sesame seeds and pan seared and served with fresh tomato, capers, vegetables and a butter lemon sauce. The salmon was a perfect size, delicate, beautifully cooked and golden. The seafood at Vagabondo Italian Ristorante + Lounge could easily be graded 10/10.  It was generous and satisfying.

We ended with a chocolate gelato and raspberry sorbet. Easy, breezy, sweet and no nonsense.  We had no more words left; we just leaned into the ecstasy.

Don’t forget to visit Vagabondo Italian Ristorante + Lounge during Winterlicious in Toronto from January 27 – February 9, 2017.

Bonne Appetite!

Vagabondo Italian Ristorante + Lounge

32 Wellington St E

Toronto, ON

Phone: 416.862.1999

Business hours

Mon – Wed: 11am – 10pm

Thu: 11am – 11pm

Fri: 11am – 12am

Sat: 12pm – 12am

Sun: 12pm – 10pm

http://vagabondo.ca http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=e0e8a417e9dd2410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD /


An Ode To The Perfect Veal Sandwich at ‘Nonna’s Place’

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I have been craving a proper veal sandwich for ages.  As I perused a list from another popular blog, I noticed one restaurant that sold veal sandwiches was listed as number one.  It was a chain and had pricey fare.  Hmmm.  No.  As I looked farther down the list, I came upon Nonna’s Place.  The name – there was something about the name.  I made my decision – they would be getting my money today.

When I walked into the door at Nonna’s Place on Bloor Street just west of Lansdowne station,  I was immediately filled with warmth.  There was a man sitting and eating a veal and pasta dish quietly.  Ah yes, I know that body language.  A love affair with one’s food.  This was a good sign.

I have had steaming hot veal sandwiches in the past where the sandwich looked gorgeous on a plate and the cheese was melting off the ends and have been gutted after the first bite.  I always feel nervous when I walk into a shop selling veal sandwiches – am I about to be disappointed?  Again!!

Nonna knows her veal sandwiches.  The bun was fresh, fluffy and yet firm.  The veal was beautifully breaded, plentiful, jammed into the bun, the sweet peppers were fresh, juicy and aromatic, the cheese a nice compliment to the whole sandwich.  Ladies and gentlemen, the angels were singing – ‘the perfect veal sandwich’.

As Joanne, the owner and I chatted – I noticed her husband and son working away quietly in the kitchen.  Joanne told me the story of Nonna’s Place with a zest that could only come from love.

Nonna’s Place started as a dream for an ambitious Italian immigrant couple in 1964. Rocco and Francesca Zuccaro wanted to create a business that would support their young family while reflecting their Italian culture. A true Canadian Dream!  😉 Originally known as Shaw Grocery, the Zuccaro family supplied the Bloor Street and Symington area with their daily groceries. As time passed Francesca and Rocco continued expanding their soup and sandwich shop business. After 44 years the Zuccaro’s retired, leaving the Shaw Grocery store in the hands of their eldest daughter.  Joanne changed the Shaw Grocery name to Nonna’s Place as a tribute to her parents.

A true mom and pop shop.  Supporting these local shops is a no brainer.  The prices are fantastic (Veal $6.00, Grilled Strip loin Steak $7.00, Meatball $5.50, Eggplant $6.00 etc.) and the service genuinely professional and appreciative.   Joanne even makes her own Biscotti.  You can also pick up other Italian staples and pasta dishes from her shop.

Keep it in the family with Nonna’s Place – I know where I’m going if I’m having a craving for some proper Italian nosh.  By the way, I needed a nap for two hours after that sandwich.  That says it all.



8.30AM – 4.30PM

Nonna’s Place

M6P 3L4
Phone:  (416) 531-7367