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Best of Toronto

The Best Italian Hot Tables in Toronto

Posted by Rick McGinnis / August 27, 2012

hot tables torontoThe best Italian hot tables in Toronto are only open for lunch, and feature menus that are virtually interchangeable whether you find yourself in Scarborough or Mimico. They might be on busy main streets or on cul-de-sacs in industrial parks, but you can be sure to find veal and meatballs, lasagna and pasta, steamed vegetables and sautéed rapini, in pans on the steam table, and available for for either take-out or eating in.

The predictability probably makes the Italian hot table lunch very nearly the ideal of comfort food, especially if you grew up eating it in the spotless kitchen of your - or someone else's - very generous nonna, and it tastes just as good in the depths of winter as on a scorching summer day.

Here are the best Italian hot tables in Toronto.

See also:

The best Italian bakeries in Toronto
The best Italian restaurants in Toronto

Centro Trattoria

Centro Trattoria

The tables fill up fast at this deli on St. Clair’s Corso Italia, so arrive early if you want your pick of the daily specials, and make sure you try the rice ball, which reigns as one of the best in the city. More »

Tommaso's Trattoria

Tommaso's Trattoria

Hidden away on Eastern Avenue on the far side of the Don, Tommaso’s boasts some of the city's best selections from both a hot and cold table, which can be mixed and matched. The homemade sausage with deep-fried fennel is a stellar combination. More »

Tre Mari Bakery

Tre Mari Bakery

A Corso Italia institution, Tre Mari is famous for its bread, but the hot table is open well into the afternoon. The veal, liberated from its typical presentation in a sandwich, can be enjoyed with a side of rice and rapini. More »

Commisso Bros.

Commisso Bros.

You’ve got to know where to look for this bakery and its unbelievably huge steam table selection, and you'll find it off to the side of Caledonia Road’s home design district. Commisso’s doesn’t bother with the cosmetics (or with seats, really), so you should make sure you know what you want, even if the choices are dizzying. More »

Francesca's Bakery

Francesca's Bakery

In among the car dealerships and auto parts stores near Scarborough Town Centre, Francesca’s has too much food for its steam table, lines that begin before noon, and stuffed peppers the size of softballs. In short, it's a must-try for fans of Italian hot tables. More »

Fallingbrook Market

Fallingbrook Market

Down by the Bluffs, this relatively new Italian deli is spacious enough for the mommies and their strollers that frequent it, and features a concise hot table featuring tasty, plump gnocchi. More »

Zito's Marketplace

Zito's Marketplace

Marlee Village, just by the Allen Expressway, is home to this Italian deli with its adventurous steam table, where favorites like the eggplant parmigiana share space with spinach frittata, and the tripe that the very friendly staff recommend without a bit of hesitation. More »

Agincourt Bakery

Agincourt Bakery

Up by the city’s northern edge, this bakery hidden in the corner of a strip mall is home to a huge hot table selection, where you'll find at least three pastas alongside almost a dozen meats and mains, thick muffaletta sandwiches and a full salad bar. More »

SanRemo Bakery

SanRemo Bakery

Just by the Mimico GO station, SanRemo’s is a boisterous place at lunchtime. Here, the crowd spills out onto the patio tables on Royal York and the ongoing specialty is an incredible porchetta available for sandwiches, plates and takeout. More »

Discussion

34 Comments

Tommy / August 27, 2012 at 09:52 am
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Tommaso's is great.
They make a damn fine pizza pie too.
The Diavola is devine!
Brandon / August 27, 2012 at 10:41 am
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Centro is ok, however I haven't had the arancini as you've mentioned (we didn't eat these at my nonna's house, I believe it's a southern thing).

I'll definitely try the rest of these though. I do have fond memories of hot tables at the italian clubs in Windsor.
John Coates / August 27, 2012 at 11:04 am
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What? No California Sandwiches on Dufferin? That's the best place by far and you can get an awesome Veal Sandwich.
Brian / August 27, 2012 at 11:30 am
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in toronto or 30 minutes outside toronto?
Brandon replying to a comment from Brian / August 27, 2012 at 12:07 pm
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All of these places are still Toronto. Our transit system is just too basic to reach these area's.
AV replying to a comment from John Coates / August 27, 2012 at 12:36 pm
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Cali's on Dufferin? Hell no son.... Claremont Street or nothing
f12 / August 27, 2012 at 12:43 pm
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cali's on claremont doesnt have a hot table like the one on duff. but sandwich wise, the claremont location definitely outdoes the rest (not sure if this is factual or just how my tastebuds process it, but that's how i see/taste it).
Max replying to a comment from Brian / August 27, 2012 at 02:33 pm
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You are a part of the problem, you know that?
Crimson Cass replying to a comment from Brandon / August 27, 2012 at 03:32 pm
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Corso Italia is along St. Clair, and Marlee Village is beside Glencairn subway station. Hardly outside of Toronto, or inaccessible.
mikey / August 27, 2012 at 04:20 pm
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Fusaros on Spadina is great too. I grew up next to Commisso and it's been down hill for years. I will only buy bread from them, it's still the best!
TTop / August 27, 2012 at 07:16 pm
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Some of the best veal sangwhiches I've ever had. Anytime its mentioned it gets done.
BW / August 27, 2012 at 07:51 pm
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Which one of those listed are 30 minutes outside Toronto?
Brad / August 27, 2012 at 11:25 pm
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California Sandwiches on Dufferin has far too big a wait, forget waiting 30 minutes to order a sandwich
Matthew / August 28, 2012 at 04:34 pm
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Centro is by far the best... Anyone who thinks otherwise either have not been there or work at one of the others... I'd give my left nut for one of their arancini right now, my right for their bacala
Melissa / August 28, 2012 at 11:10 pm
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Zitos market place has been my to go to place for their outstanding hottable and hospitality. I have had the opportunity to have tried almost anything and everything their amazing cooks prepare. For anyone who has not been there, you are missing out!
Deuce replying to a comment from Matthew / August 28, 2012 at 11:18 pm
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Bro, Zitos is the spot for fresh Italian food. They got the nonnas in the basement making authentic, homemade food. Zito's runs the tavolo caldo! Bro
oh brother replying to a comment from Brian / August 29, 2012 at 09:45 am
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Here we go again: More bellyaching from former suburbanites about how everything outside of their newly found downtown address is SO NOT TORONTO. Yawn.
Ariel / August 29, 2012 at 03:01 pm
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How do you miss Nino Daversa?
Andrea / August 30, 2012 at 11:19 am
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Zito's Marketplace not only has the best Hot Table i've ever seen but the staff and different variety of authentic italian products will blow you away! Its a gem in the city and i recommend it to everyone!
COSPLAY / September 26, 2012 at 10:58 pm
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What? No California Sandwiches on Dufferin? That's the best place by far and you can get an awesome Veal Sandwich.
Mario / October 22, 2012 at 01:00 pm
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Angels Bakery and Rustic Bakery??
Davide / December 14, 2012 at 05:55 am
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Actually, the best tavola calda I've come across in Toronto is a little place in Italian Gardens plaza on Islington, north of Finch, called Pina Bakery or something like that, the prices are low and the food is outstanding. It's owned by a husband and wife (whose name is actually Pina), and the entire place is dedicated with F1 and calcio stuff, for the 'appassionati' among us.

And yeah, you can't have a list like this and not include Nino, an institution for all Italian-Canadians in Toronto.
Slava / March 15, 2013 at 10:42 am
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Midan Restaurant!!!! 3700 Steeles Ave West
I found the best hot table in voodbridge!
$ 10 lunch special !!!
Perogies, cabbege rolls, fish and ....
Dozen of combinations.
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italian / September 5, 2014 at 08:35 pm
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The best hot table I have been to is Capri Bakery. It is in an industrial area on oakdale rd. They offer great meals at great prices. They also have the best breads, buns and doughnuts. They are known for their cannoli. The filling is like no other I have ever tasted. Their birthday cakes and cheesecakes never disappoint.
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