We came, we grazed, we sipped: Taste of Little Italy 2018

The Taste of Little Italy 2018 took place this past weekend from Friday, June 15 to Sunday, June 17 in Toronto’s original Little Italy neighbourhood: College Street, between Shaw Street and Bathurst Street.

Taste of Little Italy is an annual street and food festival hosted by the Little Italy Business Improvement Area. But, contrary to popular belief, the event is about so much more than just ITALIAN FOOD! Attendees from Toronto, the GTA and beyond come each year to try food from some of Toronto’s best restaurants, play games at the midway, shop creations of artists and enjoy entertainment from international performers. This year, there was even a skatepark (with lessons included)!

The CityEvents team was excited to attend the infamous Toronto food festival on the Friday evening. We had the pleasure of meeting influencers Joanna Sable of JoannaSable.com and @JoannaSable and  Cindy of @WakeUpEatThis, and another group including Anh of hangryfoodies.com, Raymond of TravellingFoodie.net, Alex of HypeBelly.com, Brian and Albert of @TorontoFood and Rey of EatnMingle.com.

Our evening started at Hogtown Pub and Oysters, where owner Darryl Brown served up fresh seafood and prosecco (and showed us how to shuck an Oyster, should we get a craving while solo at home). We headed to Il Covo where chef Ryan Campbell prepared chicken skewers with a leek sauce, which we enjoyed on their front patio. At the new spot located right next to Pasqualino’s, we got a sneak preview of what’s to come with some risotto and perfectly spicy chicken! As if we weren’t already stuffed, we had the long-time favourite gelato at Sicilian Sidewalk.

Little Italy has evolved to be a colourful multicultural Toronto neighbourhood, and the festival did a wonderful job showcasing the diversity of cuisine in the area. Attendees come to try Vietnamese food in a vintage atmosphere at new and hot Pinky’s Ca Phe, ramen and izakaya at Ryoji and Thai and Malaysian food from Urban Thai. Although the neighbourhood is known for its Italian options, their advertisements truly did not lie: there really is so much more in Little Italy!

Aside from the food, the atmosphere was infectious. By night, the street was illuminated by lights from the games and flooded with the aromas of the food on the 50 extended patios. If people weren’t enjoying a seat and a sip, they were dancing on the street to the live music, shooting hoops at the midway, or mingling and meeting their food-loving peers.

It’s no wonder this festival is a long-time favourite of Torontonians, visitors and tourists alike. Needless to say, we are already looking forward to next year!

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