First Look: Frankie's Italian brings all-day brunch to Leslieville in Lil' Baci's former spot


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Pizza, pasta and kale and treviso caesar salad at Frankie's Italian

Frankie’s Italian brings fresh pasta and pizza back to Leslieville in the space formerly occupied by neighbourhood Italian standby Lil Bacci, which closed in February after more than ten years of serving hungry eastenders. On Good Friday, the owners of Lil Bacci (as well as Anabelle Pasta Bar and Bob Coffee Bar) opened up the renovated restaurant under its new name.

The cosy interior features exposed brick, cheery pink accents and a bright window looking out onto Queen Street East. Midday regulars are greeted by friendly waitstaff as they roll in for the all-day brunch, fresh sandwiches and Caesars.

Executive Chef Brandyn Koester, who shares his time between Frankie’s and Anabelle, says that the concept for Frankie’s is similar to Annabelle, but with pizza.


(IMAGE: KAREN STEVENS)

 


(IMAGE: KAREN STEVENS)

 

“Annabelle’s concept really worked for us and we wanted to change things up with a more dynamic menu,” he says. “It’s exciting for people to come and check what we have on special every day.”

Those daily specials are up on chalkboards around the dining room. Each fresh pasta dish, like the spicy bucatini amatriciana, is made in-house and is only $10. “This forces creativity. Every day you’re challenged to come up with a new menu,” explains Koester.

Along with the fresh pasta, there’s a menu of staples like fried baby octopus ($14), pan fried mortadella ($6), and a parmesan cheese-laden kale and treviso caesar salad ($13), where the bitter greens pair perfectly with the creamy sauce. The menu items are meant to share: Brandyn describes them as “Italian tapas.”


​(IMAGE: KAREN STEVENS)

 


​(IMAGE: KAREN STEVENS)

 

Frankie’s also has a brand new coffee program featuring beans from Halo, which are roasted in Toronto. Ask the staff to whip up a frothy latte to go, or enjoy a hot cocoa (complete with real cocoa and a toasted marshmallow on top).

The renovation is not without a touch of whimsy. The coffee and pasty menu board features a unique item: unicorns, for the bargain price of 906, 780 euros. When asked whether they were organic free-range unicorns, Koester answered, “Of course.”

Frankie's Italian, 892 Queen Street East


​(IMAGE: KAREN STEVENS)

 


​(IMAGE: KAREN STEVENS)

 


​(IMAGE: KAREN STEVENS)

 


​(IMAGE: KAREN STEVENS)

 

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