Lil’ Baci Taverna opened its doors last spring and it’s been a hot spot since. Owner Mark Bacci has been serving up sumptuous food in Leslieville for years, and expanded the eat-zone to North Toronto. The restaurant exudes a dreamy, soothing atmosphere with its alphabet frescoes, subway-tiled walls and candlelit tables. It’s a perfect option for date night or a cozy dinner with your BFF.Lil’ Baci Taverna is not your average Italian restaurant. The Chef fuses bold flavours and ingredients with southern Italian recipes, using unique cheeses, sauces, and pastas in the dishes. The menu changes seasonally, keeping things fresh and exciting for the regulars.
I ordered a couple of appetizers to kick off the meal. The Orange Fennel Salad ($8) was chock full of fresh arugula, olives, oranges, and savoury pecorino – a hard Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk that gave the greens a salty zing.
The tender and plump Roasted Prawns ($13) were blissfully seasoned with parsley, lemon, and chili, and served with fried bread and garlic aioli on the side. Both these apps were delicious and very filling!
When the meal is bigger than your head, you just know it’s gonna be epic. I loved the Eggplant & Black Olives Pizza ($15) – the crust was thin and crisp, artfully topped with basil leaves, black olives, grilled eggplant, and tomato sauce. This was my first pizza with unmelted cheese – the ricotta salata was lightly drizzled over the pie and oozes with an intense savoury flavour.
I was feeling adventurous, so I went with the Sicilian Pasta Special ($18) – a steaming bowl of grilled eggplant, black olives, roasted cherry tomatoes, served over garganelli. Garga what, you ask? It’s pasta folded into tube-shaped noodles that were smooth and mouth-watering! PS – the pasta is made from scratch by the Chefs.
The Upside Down Dessert ($8) was a little jar of heaven. Underneath the crumble were three layers of dark chocolate, raspberry compote, and mascarpone cream frosting. I had to loosen my belt to finish this one. But hey, it’s all in the name of research, right?
Venturing north of Bloor may spook the most orthodox hip and urban girl. But seriously, ladies – the neighbourhood has been dubbed “Young & Eligible” for good reason. Lil’ Baci Taverna is surrounded by an array of bistros, boutique shops, butchers, and upscale restaurants. Make the trek north and experience a real treat!
Lil’ Baci Taverna
2013 Yonge Street (at Glebe)
Closest subway stop: Davisville
Mon-Fri from 11-4
Sun-Wed from 5-10
Thurs-Sat from 5-11
Sat/Sun from 11-4