Toronto Then & Now: Café Diplomatico

A Little Italy Landmark

Since 1968, Café Diplomatico has been a cherished part of College Street’s Little Italy. Established by Italian-born Rocco Mastrangelo in a former clothing store, it was originally named Bar Diplomatico. The café began with pastries, gelato, and espresso and helped introduce Toronto to European patio culture.

Café Diplomatico 1972. Photo: Darrell, Dick. Toronto Star Photograph Archive, Courtesy of Toronto Public Library

As Italians settled in the area from 1945 to 1970, Café Diplomatico emerged as a meeting point for newcomers, offering a taste of home and a place to socialize in Italian. With its patio, a rarity at the time, the café became a community hub for Torontonians to enjoy coffee outdoors.

Expanding in the 1990s, Café Diplomatico continued to thrive, drawing crowds of soccer fans to watch the games especially during Italy’s matches. For years it has been a popular go-to spot for meeting up with my girfriends.

Owned by the Mastrangelo family since its inception, Café Diplomatico embodies the multicultural spirit of Little Italy, a place where history, culture, and community come together. It really is a comfortable, happy spot with great energy.

In 2018, Café Diplomatico marked its 50th anniversary with a special celebration. Heritage Toronto honoured the occasion by presenting the café with a commemorative heritage plaque, recognizing its significant contribution to the community. 594 College Street, Toronto.

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