I first visited Sud Forno by complete chance, as a result one day, of aiming to find a cozy yet satisfying place to grab a bite before continuing my journey along Queen west. After recovering from the hit of yeasty warm bakery air as I walked in, my eyes instantly began to attempt to comprehend the visual appeal of the space and its glass counters full of delicious food.
I went again for a second time, to try out more selections of their spreads, find out more about the bakery, and see if that initial magic was still there from when I first went. So I took one of my good friends with me and we ate our way through the bakery, literally, not figuratively, having a staff member change our platter size 3 times to hold our desserts alone...
The beauty about Sud Forno is it's inviting. It's practically as welcoming and comforting as a hug from an Italian Nonna, or any grandmother for that matter. It feels familiar, with past, present, and future all holding hands together. The staff are friendly and cool, and are more than welcome to answer any questions one has, from pronouncing an Italian word, to what types of flours are used in their baked breads. It is a small venue, and at first, looks like the few stools at the window bar are all they have for seating. But if you're looking to stay a bit longer, they have a large communal dining table upstairs where you can help yourself to water, chat with your friends (old and new), and even watch chefs churn up fresh batches of gelato from their exposed kitchen while eating a focaccia style panino.
From left to right : Cappuccino, Baba con Crema, Cannoli, Binge, Bombolone, and assorted chocolate confections.
Now for round two, I think the staff were surprised to see my friend and I descending down the stairs and ordering another spread. This is the point at which all pride and caution is thrown to the wind and you just have to order confidently ignoring any judgment. It's worth it, as long as a few gym sessions are scheduled later in the week. The cappuccino was quite good. I find some espresso tends to be extremely acidic, and I never sweeten any of my espresso drinks, but this did its job. The baba con crema was decedent and slightly oversweet. I did though, appreciate their fresher take on this classic, adding Chantilly and fresh strawberries instead of the classic custard and maraschino cherry. The cannoli filling was a little too tangy for my liking but the shell was crisp and fresh. The binge was fantastic and light. I loved the surprise of both Chantilly and vanilla bean pastry cream inside, and its lean towards an undersweetendness. By far, my favourite was the bombolone. Absolutely fresh and delicious. The only thing that really fell short were the chocolate confections. I found out they didn't make them on site and import them from Italy, and it showed in the taste.
My recommendations: order what they make in-house daily and take their breads home. Their Pugliese sourdough loaf with Italian semola rimacinata is impressive, as well as their Integrale loaf made with malt and whole wheat flours. Whether you drop in for a quick bite or linger for a casual get together, Sud Forno brings the comfort and warmth of Italian baking to Queen west and is worth the search and repeat visits.
716 Queen Street West
Toronto M6J 1E8