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Restaurants

Commisso Brothers & Racco Italian Bakery

Posted by Robyn Urback / Reviewed on August 18, 2011 / review policy

Commisso BrothersCommisso Brothers & Racco Italian Bakery is an invaluable Toronto resource for satiating those midnight veal cravings. Though I haven't personally developed a pang for hot meat at 3 a.m., this shop's loyal followers surely wouldn't look anywhere else.

Just off of Castlefield Avenue, west of Caledonia Road, Commisso Brothers & Racco Italian Bakery is a well-established bakery and grocery store, with a hot table of Italian favourites and fresh gelato in the summertime. It sits on an incredibly expansive lot, so there's rarely a fight for space or parking.

Commisso BrothersWhen you walk in, Commisso Bros. looks like a run-of-the-mill convenience store. And from what I've heard, its menu and its aesthetic haven't changed in decades. There's the chocolate bars, bags of chips, packs of Dentyne and the sort by the front, but you have to venture in further to find the Italian goods and homemade treats.

Commisso BrothersMy first stop, with the temperature on my mind, was to explore the frozen goods in search of some sort of heat relief. Commisso Bros. has tubs of Sicilian ice cream, various Tartufo options, and sorbet-filled fruits sold in freezer boxes. Of course, I abandoned the lot when I spotted Commisso's own homemade gelato under the counter by its pastries. This gelato doesn't boast intricate design or adornment in display, nor is it of complicated flavours like you might find in some of the newer gelato shops. No, here there's chocolate, tiramisu, lemon, and other basic flavours.

Commisso BrothersI order a scoop of lemon ($2.75), which is handed to me in a shallow clear container--the type you might find at an olive bar (which, coincidentally, Commisso Bros. has too). I have high hopes for the gelato but it disappoints ever so slightly, being overly sweet and melting way too fast. When someone on the street later asks me why I'm eating milk with a spoon, I decide it's time to give it up.

Commisso BrothersBut the bread at Commisso Bros. makes up for the gelato shortcomings. It's all self-serve in the back end of the bakery, where racks offer traditional loaves ($2.75), cornmeal buns ($0.55), pizza bread ($5.00), and, oddly, loaves of Wonder Bread. The bakery also produces Commisso's famous cannoli ($1.25), which are displayed in the pastry counter along with other cakes and desserts.

Commisso BrothersAlong with its collection of imported groceries from Italy, one of Commisso's big draws is its hot table, which, from the look of the line, seems to appeal to everyone. The construction worker in front of me orders the aforementioned veal ($6.50), while the business-chic lady behind me seems to be eyeing the lasagna ($4.75). I opt for a small order of meat tortellini ($4.50), which smells so irresistible that I can't help digging in before I've left the shop. The sauce definitely makes it--a fresh tomato made with a quality oil--and my gelato woes are all but forgotten as I devour the last of the tortellini. Certainly worth a 3 a.m. drop-in.

Commisso BrothersCommisso BrothersCommisso BrothersPhotos by Jesse Milns

Discussion

16 Comments

Steve / August 19, 2011 at 09:25 am
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Don't shoplift from there unless you enjoy taking extended naps with fish.
Paulp / August 19, 2011 at 09:43 am
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I wish there was something like Commisso's right downtown (24hrs). Don't get me wrong, I will venture out there when I need to have an Italian sandwich at 2AM once in a blue moon. But if there was one closer, I would hit it up a couple of times a week. There are very few things better than chicken or veal with sauce and peppers with the right bun.
Marco / August 19, 2011 at 10:04 am
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Commisso is good for their hot food but IMO Nino D'Aversa is far better http://www.dine.to/ninodaversa
Sandman / August 19, 2011 at 10:05 am
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Ahhhh ... the memories.

I forgot about the place. I heard it closed down, but, I guess it's back open for awhile.

dnr / August 19, 2011 at 12:39 pm
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Goodfella's mob hit there about 4 years ago. But who cares the food is great.
kav / August 19, 2011 at 05:51 pm
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I had the lasagna there today, it was amazing
Fearless Fosdick / August 21, 2011 at 12:25 pm
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You might want to google "Commisso" "Racco" and "mafia."
Rexdale / August 24, 2011 at 10:16 am
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Love this place !
JoeParez / August 28, 2011 at 01:52 pm
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Whatever you do, don't say "'ndrangheta" when you go in there. You may never come out. :-P
Joe Policy / October 30, 2011 at 07:26 pm
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Anyone know where they get the meat from? who they kill to get it.
Johnny Valentine / August 27, 2012 at 12:21 pm
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Had the 24 hour squits last time I ate here.
Katannya Fox / March 29, 2013 at 07:19 pm
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Ponzos, gnocchi, rice balls,veal sandwiches and cannoli to bring home after a goodnight out is always worth the extra little trip at 3 am.
Made Guy / April 9, 2013 at 06:41 pm
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All of you who say mafia need to shut your mouths! This place is great!
Krung Thep / October 4, 2013 at 06:18 pm
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It has been a long time in betweens feedings from them that it appeared they replaced almost their entire frontline staff.

Well, I had a veal and it was good as usual. My mother, g_d rest her soul, used to think it wasn't whole veal cutlets but rather grinded veal. I asked her why? She said, it was too tender. Sigh

Poor mom....
Are you joking / December 21, 2013 at 04:34 pm
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This place might have been good back in the day but the sons have destroyed it now. This place is dirty, rat infested. Would eat food that came out if there. That's my personal opinion, only because I've seen the rats the size if digs running around.
sincerejk / August 21, 2014 at 12:30 am
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Hands down, the best meatball sandwich in Toronto (if not the world.)

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