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Grocery Stores

Centro Trattoria & Formaggi

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on March 11, 2011

Centro Trattoria FromaggiCentro Trattoria & Formaggi has been the place to go for imported Italian foods on St. Clair for over 30 years, and it's exactly what you would expect from an authentic Italian eatery.

Centro Trattoria Fromaggi TorontoI stepped into the shop in Corso Italia near Dufferin Street and was immediately struck by the volume of food in the space; cheeses hanging from the ceiling, counters of deli meats, and cookies and crackers made by companies whose names I would surely mispronounce. The owner, Mr. Celebre, was unfortunately not in, but the ladies behind the counter filled me on the details on the store.

Centro Trattoria FromaggioWhile some of the items sold are locally produced, such as the Santa Lucia cheeses made at International Cheese, many of the packaged products are imported directly from Italy. Those include Centro's various kids of dry pastas, olives, oils, coffee and breads. But the cheese is the main pull for customers in the area, "Especially the parmigiano," says the lady behind the counter. Of course, there's every other kind you could imagine, from Piave to Auricchio Piccante, Jarlsberg Crotonese to Swiss Emmental.

Centro Trattoria FromaggioThe back end of the store is actually a dining area serving homemade foods to the area lunch crowd. "Fish on Friday," the woman says. "Calamari--that's squid, you know--salmon, rainbow trout, it's all very good."

Centro Trattoria FromaggioAnd the recipes? "Authentic of course. All authentic Italian recipes." Of course, I had to try something. Though the veal sandwich ($5.50) is toted as a customer favourite, I opted for a good old plate of spaghetti and tomato sauce with a little parmesan ($5.95) and took a seat at one of the salmon-pink tables.

Centro Trattoria FromaggioIt was delicious, hearty and fresh, and of course I made the mistake of digging in way too fast. The TV fixed to the corner ceiling was playing some soccer game as I realized my error, feeling the weight of the food in my stomach. I looked around at the Italy posters to my right and soccer statues to my left, feeling helpless and guilty at the thought of returning my plate only half eaten.

Centro Trattoria FromaggioI closed my eyes and thought of Italy as I picked away more slowly until I felt less shameful about my returned amount. As I got up, I vowed to next time try one of Centro's famed stuffed peppers ($8.50) and eat much more slowly.

Centro Trattoria FromaggioPhotos by Dennis Marciniak

Discussion

12 Comments

Brandon / March 12, 2011 at 12:44 pm
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should have tried the arancini!
Junior Cruz / March 14, 2011 at 12:33 pm
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RE BRANDON:
How do the aranchini there compare to those at Francesca Bakery in Scarborough?

I'm always looking for more places to try Italian rice balls!
Angie / March 14, 2011 at 10:40 pm
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Okay, I've lived in this area for 2 years now and had no idea that they served hot lunches. Thanks for the review. I will definitely check this out.
Vanessa / March 22, 2011 at 05:19 pm
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Centro has the best Italian rice balls in the world!
Raff / March 22, 2011 at 06:01 pm
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Don't tell my nonna but they make the best veal I ever had.
Alex / March 25, 2011 at 06:39 pm
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Hi, everyone. This is my first post here. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, but I am a huge Canadophile. I even spent my spring break vacation in Toronto two years ago.

During my visit, I went to Centro Trattoria and had lunch there. If I remember correctly, I had a veal sandwich and a Diet Coke. The sandwich was delicious, and I even tried out my Italian on the staff. They were very kind.
renato gravina / March 27, 2011 at 08:05 am
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hi...i live in south of italy...and during my trip in canada i visited this trattoria...I seemed to eat at my house with the true Italian flavors...if one day I will return in canada i would like to go there to eat...
discount / April 8, 2011 at 04:01 pm
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yeah, but do they have Ferrero Rocher on Sale like the No Frills around the city!
Matthew / August 8, 2011 at 11:29 am
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I have been eating at Centro for the past 7 or 8 years and I have to say it's by far the best hot table in the city. On top of their hot table I've also ordered food for several family functions and everyone thought that Nonna cooked everything herself. Most people don't know that they cater but simply ask any of the staff and they'll be sure to help you out.

The owner Tony and his son have always been great and made me feel more than welcome.

Thanks for great food and maintaining the Italian heritage in Toronto.
Sam replying to a comment from Junior Cruz / September 22, 2012 at 02:14 pm
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Try our "BALLS"!! Best in gta !!
lorella / October 5, 2012 at 01:41 am
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W L' I T A L I A nel mondo

HonestCritic / January 3, 2013 at 10:36 pm
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FLAWLESS. SUPERBE. BRILLIANT.

The most authentic Italian food in the city.

You must try the meatballs, and the baked Ziti.

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