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Restaurants

Vita Sociale

Posted by Libby Roach / Reviewed on July 11, 2013 / review policy

Vita Sociale TorontoVita Sociale has been open for just two months near Yonge and Eglinton in the space that was once home to Centro. THe high end Italian restaurant had been open for 25 years, but with a strong family demographic in the neighbourhood, owner Armando Mano seized the moment and created a more accessible spot for a less stodgy crowd.

Vita Sociale TorontoWith a striking black and red interior lined by a faux brick wall and cheesy Italian landscape prints, the interior is a significant departure from the overly starched whites that used to grace each table. Clever accordion glass doors allow for prime people gawking, and comfortable banquettes are good for extended meals.

Vita Sociale TorontoWhile the wine list certainly echoes the vaults of Centro, it has evolved into something more approachable, with ½ litres at decent prices and four beers on tap (Blanche de Chambly, Okanagan 1516, Sleeman Dark and Sapporo) and an inspired cocktail list to boot.

Vita SocialeCheese isn't merely relegated to the art on the walls. In the kitchen Chef Symon Abad takes his dairy seriously, making the buffalo mozzarella cheese that rocks the Caprese Salad ($15.95). While Caprese salads are second only to Caesars when it comes to predictability, this one is not to be missed. With caviar-like orbs of balsamic (a molecular feat accomplished by agar) this is one of the best salads I've ever had.

Vita Sociale TorontoAnd while meats are also carefully cured in house, the Peppercorn Crusted Beef Carpaccio ($15.95) only gets the raw treatment, with a thick coating of peppercorn, drizzle of olive oil and draping of fresh arugula cress, radish and shaved parmesan. And with quality meat like this, it's all it needs.

While Napoli style pizza has long been tossed around Hogtown, Vita Sociale does it differently making their pizzas the Roman way, still cooking at a scorching 900°for 90 seconds but with a less doughy result making their rectangular Maialona meat (sausage-pepperoni-speck) pizza ($16.95) crispy, tasty and a slightly more flour-y texture than the Napoli versions which can get a bit limp.

Vita Sociale TorontoToscana pasta ($15.95) with homemade cavatelli pasta, sausage, rapini and spicy peppers, is rustic and filling, everything a good pasta dish should be. Although I was hoping for something with more bite, the server was swift in bringing more peppers (in oil or straight up) to accommodate my desire for more heat.

Vita Sociale TorontoWe took her suggestion for dessert, and were impressed with the Blundino ($6.95). A cheap and cheerful white chocolate crème fraiche cup, a dollop of caramel and a coconut sable cookie middle with a scoop of coconut gelato on top makes it a summer classic, and surprisingly not too sweet either.

With a decidedly more casual vibe, including a (gasp!) TV at the bar, the overall feedback has been good since they opened in April after a 2 month renovation. The impressive attention paid to making everything in house is comparative to places like Buca, but at an easy price point. Could Grazie finally have some well-deserved (overdue) competition in the 'rustic Italian north of Bloor 'category?

Vita Sociale TorontoVita Sociale takes reservations from Sunday to Wednesday, and Thursday through Saturday reservations are accepted before 6pm or after 8:30pm.

Discussion

26 Comments

sw / July 11, 2013 at 10:52 am
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This all looks amazing - I can't wait to try it! Happy to hear they're doing well.
AT / July 11, 2013 at 01:49 pm
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Great review, I think I'll be headed there soon!! Glad to see an actual review on this site, I seem to be reading more profiles lately and I dont find them overly helpful. If I wanted to read a profile I'd just go to the restaurant and browse their menu!
Laurie / July 11, 2013 at 03:26 pm
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Doesn't La Vecchia count in the 'rustic Italian north of Bloor' category? It's our go-to for Italian at Yonge/Eg since we've never enjoyed the food at Grazie.
Mike / July 11, 2013 at 06:35 pm
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I like it, was in the area today and it looked good. But why are all the GOOD Italian places uptown? Please come south of College.
MrsPotato / July 11, 2013 at 11:12 pm
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The food looks gray and dull. And starchy!
TH / July 17, 2013 at 08:09 am
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Went there for Mother's Day. Appetizers arrived in a timely manner and were well executed but it took almost 1.5 hours after the appetizers for them to serve bad pizzas that my husband/son thought resembled the ones you get on a plane) mediocre pastas and other mains. Won't be going back. Wanted it to be good as we loved Centros and live in the neighbourhood. If you want "rustic Italian North of Bloor" an amazing restaurant is Lil' Baci Taverna at the corner of Yonge and Glebe. It is a great low key restaurant with one of the city's best pizzas.
Alison / August 2, 2013 at 02:01 am
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I decided to go here to celebrate my birthday with 5 friends. We had an 8pm reservation, but were not seated until close to 8:30. We are easy going people, and this would not have mattered if the service didn't turn out to be possibly the worst I have ever experienced. Our waiter seemed annoyed with us right away. By the way he interacted with other tables, we think he felt 6 30-something year-old girls would not spend a lot of money. Right from the beginning when I didn't want sparkling water (I don't the taste) he was rude. Then when he came back to take our drink orders, we were a little indecisive, but it resulted in him looking around the room while we were trying to order, and then dismissive that we wanted 3 glasses for a 1/2 L of wine. From there it just got so much worse.

Just as we went to order our food, he tells us one item is not being served, but then got annoyed that the girl who wanted to order it needed a second to choose something else. When one person ordered a starter as a main, he questioned this decision. She then asked for a salad as well to start. It never came. When our drinks arrived 20 minutes later, my cocktail was very sour. When he asked about it 10 minutes later, I mentioned this, and he said he would bring some cranberry juice (which doesn't even make sense as a solution). 30 minutes later, he had not brought it, despite passing our table and seeing my glass many times. My friend finally went to the upstairs bar herself to get the bartender to add grenadine. Seeing this take place, 10 minutes later he finally comes with some cranberry juice. I let him know that I don't need it anymore. He began to realize that maybe his tiny attempts at appearing charming and attentive do no work on people you have ignored.

An hour after we ordered, our food arrived. It was fine. Some meals better than others. I had the spaghetti. I was not offered Parmesan (which it needed). It was now quite late, and the restaurant was less full, so our waiter passed us off on someone else, aware perhaps how awful we thought he was.

I would never go back here again, and would tell others too. Thanks for ruining my birthday dinner.
speak easy / August 15, 2013 at 11:36 pm
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why didn't you speak up and voice your displeasure Allison? Instead you took what the waiter dished out and parted with your hard-earned money to only vent later online? You must be one of those women that would apologize on behalf of an abusive husband.
Rabia / September 4, 2013 at 07:09 pm
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This is in my neighbourhood. The food is mediocre, the service is slow and the menu and atmosphere is overly pretentious. I did complain about some aspects and the staff is not empowered enough or gracious enough to do anything about it. Never again.
Sadaf / October 10, 2013 at 07:01 pm
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I had the pleasure of my husband taking me out for our anniversary dinner to Vita and I abosolutely loved it. The food was awesome and the service was amazing. As a bonus the management found out it was our anniversary and sent over a complimentary dessert platter. Thankyou Jeremey, we will definitely be back to sample the new menu in October.
Shabida / October 16, 2013 at 01:24 pm
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We couldn't think of a place to go for our weekly lunch out with the co-workers so my daughter suggested and made a reservation for us at Vita Sociale. A great new italian place just north of us at Castlefied. I'm happy to say we have a new favourite spot to go for our lunches. We're gonna have have to change up the days we go so we can try all of the daily lunch specials. So far I started with the Fried chicken accompanied deep fried pickle and it was amazing.
Maarya.Roberts / October 17, 2013 at 05:05 pm
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Great night out with the girls. We were in the mood for an italian style pre-thanksgiving dinner and you guys were awesome!! loved the food.
scm / October 19, 2013 at 02:59 pm
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Finally got a chance to check out Vita Sociale with the girlfriends for dinner. What can I say, it's been a very busy summer. Amazingly we booked our dinner on the night of the launch of the new fall/winter menu. It was busy but definitely well worth the wait. I'm very impressed and pleased with what the former location that housed Centro has decided to do with the new direction. My girls and I loved it and will be back soon!
saeed / October 23, 2013 at 03:53 pm
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Finally got a chance to check out Vita, we weren't gonna go at first cuz we wanted to watch the game, but suprisingly it was pretty wicked to find that we could order our food at the bar and enjoy the game on the Tvs also. Nice addition to the neighborhood, Good call on adding the tvs by the bar. Now we can come watch our games all the time!
Yayo / October 30, 2013 at 10:46 pm
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Finally we have a nice place to go for weekend brunch up here. Got the flyer in my mailbox this week for the launch of brunch at Vita Sociale and had to check it out. Amazing. Nice job Armando.
Sandra / November 2, 2013 at 08:04 pm
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We came in to try out the new fall winter menu. I had the Butternut Squash Raviolo and with that truffle oil it was simply decadent. If your in the Yonge and Eglinton area make sure you go try it. I'll be back to try the Rigatoni next week, can't wait.
Elena / November 3, 2013 at 08:38 pm
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You would think that having to wake up early on a Saturday for work meeting's would be a drag but I must admit having it take place with a complimentary brunch from our boss made it a lot more bearable. I normally am not the type to post reviews but after I made a bet that the corned beef hash couldn't be better then my brunch spot in Ottawa, I just had to cause I definitely lost. This place does Corned beef hash something awesome. I'm glad I listened to you Dan.
JLW 007 / November 6, 2013 at 12:52 pm
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This place is Italian food done right!! Wow!!
JLW 007 / November 6, 2013 at 01:21 pm
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This place is Italian food done right!! Wow!!
Fawcet / November 6, 2013 at 09:15 pm
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Had another wonderful gala last night at Sears and decided to come visit my nephew for after gala drinks. I'm loving it and so are the ladies and we shall be back after the next scheduled gala.
hot or not? / November 14, 2013 at 08:58 pm
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Dis place gots smoking hot biatches working and sum sexy ass mans working. TURN Up! I be back
Amare / November 15, 2013 at 11:13 pm
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Decided to try vita sociale as we live in the neighbourhood. Bottom line... Food was not worth the money we paid. Service our was terrible.
Tony M / November 15, 2013 at 11:36 pm
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Went this week and I actually got food poisoning from the Seafood pasta. What a terrible ordeal.
Gord Panser / November 17, 2013 at 02:31 pm
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GOT SICK!!

It must have been the same batch as the other person. More disappointing was the service. Extremely, rude attendants!
RubyA / November 17, 2013 at 11:13 pm
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Went for brunch this morning and had the best waffle everrrrrr!!! Thank you to who ever is responsible at Vita Sociale for coming up with the weekend brunch idea we needed this at yonge and eglinton.
Jen K. / November 17, 2013 at 11:15 pm
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I have never been so UNDERWHELMED by the food and the service. I ate the Frutti di mare that cost $20, but honestly, now, I wouldn't pay more than $5. The pasta was soggy and bland. The service was terrible as we were being ignored for most of the night. Save your money and treat yourself to so many better Italian restaurants in the area!

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