Tavolino is a brand new sandwich restaurant in Toronto that opened its doors to the public just a week ago. As a sandwich addict I felt I needed to drop in and check this place out for myself as there was not a lot of info out there about it, and because it is so close to my condo.

Tavolino King St. Entrance

Upon entering Tavolino I noticed a very clean but classy looking design for the restaurant. I am a big fan of the exposed brick / chalkboard style for restaurants which is the look they went with. There is a slight Italian theme to it. My only complaint was it was quite cold inside which could be a result of them not having the heating fully set up yet, or people coming and going opening the door but this was not a huge deal.

Tavolino Interior

Italian Theme Wall Mural

From the minimal reviews I found on the restaurant it seemed like they suggested the Rock Shrimp Po’ Boy as their best sandwich so I decided to try this one out. Since I like a little something with my sandwich I also decided to get their Root Salad as a side because I like a good beet salad and all the other ingredients sounded great. Here is a shot of the menu posted on the window outside:

Tavolino Menu

My salad was the first thing to arrive at the table (the person who takes your order at the front also brings the dishes to your table so you can relax while they are being prepared).

Root Salad (Small - $5.95) - Parsnips, Beets, Turnips, Spiced Walnuts, Goat Cheese, Pomegranate Balsamic Glaze

The salad was very good with great flavour in each of the ingredients and they all went really well together. I would definitely order this again and don’t have a single negative thing to say about it, probably one of the best beet salads I have had.

Next up was the Po’ Boy Sandwich:

Po' Boy ($9.95) - Crispy Rock Shrimp, Garlic & Lemon Aioli, Arugula, Tomato, Tavolino Salt

Since I consider myself a bit of a sandwich junkie, I am going to be VERY critical on my review of this. Firstly, a “Po’ Boy” by definition is a submarine sandwich, which this clearly is not. The first thing I did was try one of the pieces of shrimp alone, and it was really good! When it came to eating it as a sandwich I personally probably would have chosen to put it on a different kind of bread. Since the bread is quite thick, the great flavour of the shrimp gets lost between the bread and tomato. Given their bread choice, I would have liked there to be a bit more shrimp in the sandwich so this main ingredient would stand out better. All the other flavours in the sandwich were great, and it definitely would have been filling enough on its’ own. The sandwich does come with about 8 pieces of greens lightly dressed in a balsamic which are probably more just for decoration than adding something to the plate. Overall the sandwich was very good and one of the better sandwiches I have had in Toronto, though not quite near the best (which is what I am always looking for).


Since this blog has a lot to do with getting the most for your money, I feel I need to take this strongly into consideration for my review of Tavolino. The total cost of my lunch came to $19.67 with taxes and a can of pop which is on the very high end of what I am willing to pay for lunch. I understand I got the root salad which is $2 more than the mixed salad, but that still would make my meal just shy of $18.  There are many other restaurants in the area with a similar level of quality but make it easier to keep your meal in the under $15 range, which is more the norm for the area. Where the prices are right now, I would expect this to be more of a sitdown restaurant with table service, not one where you have to go to the front to place an order then find a seat. I think Tavolino would be really cool if they added this feature as well as a wine list so you could enjoy a glass of vino with your sandwich, but until then I think they should lower the prices slightly for the lunch crowd (possibly add a combo to get in the sub $15 range with a basic salad). If they had wine at these prices with table service I would definitely go for dinner all the time! At $20 for lunch this definitely isn’t the kind of place I would go on a regular basis and though the food was very good I think the pricing takes away from it slightly. This is really my only complaint with Tavolino and that has a lot with me being a “cheap dude”.

Conclusion: As I’ve said above, the food is VERY good and definitely worth trying. Hopefully I can explore more of the menu one day to see how the rest of it stacks up. I personally am not really willing to spend over $15 for a lunch on a regular basis which is what would stop me from going back here often, but I would consider paying these prices for dinner. Beyond that though you should definitely check them out as I was very satisfied with my meal.

Score: 8 / 10