I’m a big believer in meals and food being enjoyed and savored and investing the time to really sit down and enjoy the pleasures that food brings us. Unfortunately being in the corporate world of 9-5 doesn’t always allow for that luxury and instead one must opt for the quick fix or the brown bag option. I’m lucky that I work where I do because there are endless (and delicious) options from the streets of Little Italy which actually makes the decision even harder.

Utopia Café & Grill has been one of the answers to the difficult “what to eat for lunch today” question. This small and cozy restaurant finds itself on the North side of College street sandwiched between Manning and Clinton street. It can be easily missed so this is one to look out for! The place is small and dining room is actually rather cramped for space when its full (which it usually is) there is also apparently a covered patio in the back which I haven’t had the chance to check out. To be honest I actually haven’t even had a chance to sit down since my visits always involved take-out.

The take out menu doesn’t consist of anything special – your standard salads, burgers, sandwiches, quessidillas and burritos. I have to give them credit for catering to the growing population of vegetarians out there with tofu and soy options. I have A LOT of vegetarian friends and I can see how it can be hard for them to find something worth eating on a menu. Although the choices may seem simple and standard, it’s the special ingredients (goat cheese, flavored mayo, homemade dressings) and extra flair they add which takes the ordinary to extraordinary. Matched with reasonable prices this is truly a staple for either a casual dine-in option or quick lunch grab. A few of the meals I’ve indulged in:

Poutine – served with veggie gravy and comes in your traditional form with cheese curds or Gourmet with mushrooms and goat cheese
Warm Grilled Chicken Salad – freshly grilled chicken breast over a salad of filed mix and roma tomatoes with a balsamic vinaigrette
Caeser Salad – with parmesan, croutons and garlic ceaser dressing
Greek Salad – crisp romaine, roma tomatoes, feta cheese, Bermuda onions and kalamata olives with grilled chicken and a light herb vinaigrette (crazy good!)
Homemade Chicken Burger – fresh ground chicken, scented with rosemary, grilled and served on a sesame bun topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, ketchup, mustard, relish, pickles and green-onion mayo (it’s like summer BBQ anytime of the year!)
Grilled Chicken Club – a grilled breast of marinated chicken, crispy bacon, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and roasted red pepper mayo on a fresh sourdough roll
Chicken Quesadilla – marinated, grilled chicken breast, cheddar & Monterey jack, green onion mayo and salsa
Mushroom & Pesto Quesadilla – sautéed portabella and white mushrooms with pesto, cheddar & Monterey jack and salsa
Chicken Goat Cheese Burrito – marinated grilled chicken breast, goat cheese, sweet grilled peppers, grilled onions, lettuce, green onion mayo and salsa

That list just made me realize how much I’ve eaten there and also how much more there is left to try. I DARE you to look at the menu and not salivate at the endless options and amazingly delicious ingredients. The burritos are by far my favorite because unlike the popular Burrito Boyz which is just down the street, these ones don’t make your tummy hurt as much after 😉

Utopia Café and Grill
Address: 586 College Street
Parking: Street Parking
Price: $$
Service: 8/10 (never had an issue with takeout although I’ve heard some stories of not-so-good service when dining in)
Food: 9/10
Ambience: 7/10

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