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Enoteca Sociale

Staff Picks: 10 Wine Bars to Wet Your Whistle

Whether you’re a true connoisseur or simply enjoy the occasional tipple, these wine bars are sure to satisfy any palate.

Ciao Wine Bar's old fashioned-chic wine cellar

Carens Wine and Cheese Bar
This Yorkville boîte is a summertime hot spot due to its intimate back patio, but the bistro is popular regardless of the weather. The dining menu features sophisticated comfort fare, while wines and cheeses are perfectly paired. 158 Cumberland St. 416-962-5158

Ciao Wine Bar
Local bigwigs are drawn to Ciao’s three-level lot on Yorkville Avenue. Oenophiles seek shelter in the rustic-chic cellar, complete with exposed brick, vaulted ceiling and vintage wine racks. The list features Italian reds and whites prominently, but there are also selections form Canada, the United States, Spain and elsewhere. 133 Yorkville Ave., 416-925-2143.

Crush Wine Bar
A staple of the trendy King West neighbourhood, Crush combines casual fine dining with a diverse selection of vintages. Can’t choose from sommelier Mark Moffatt’s huge international wine list? Try one of the curated—and very affordable—flights of three two-ounce glasses. 455 King St. W., 416-977-1234.

Enoteca Sociale
This family-friendly restaurant on the up-and-coming Dundas West strip houses a cheese cave and a wine cellar, both of which highlight varieties from Italy and Canada. House-made pastas and other seasonally inspired dishes are brought to life with suggested wine pairings. 1288 Dundas St. W., 416-534-1200.

Local Kitchen & Wine Bar
In Parkdale, this neighbourhood haunt draws foodies from across the city with its Italian-style piattini (small plates) and endearing wine list. Along with using locally grown foods, the restaurant also features a range of Ontario wines. 1710 Queen St. W., 416-534-6700.

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Query the Cook #3: Chef Rocco Agostino of Enoteca Sociale and Pizzeria Libretto

As part of our 2011 Dining Guide, we asked a few of the city’s chefs about their work, and what dishes to expect from their kitchens this season. Rocco Agostino is Co-Owner and Executive Chef of Enoteca Sociale and Pizzeria Libretto.

How have you managed to make Enoteca Sociale and Pizzeria Libretto stand out amongst Toronto’s many Italian restaurants?
The Italian philosophy guides everything we do when it comes to our menu. Our food combines bold flavours with the best available products—without compromise.

Why is Neapolitan-style pizza so popular in Toronto?
There are many different styles of pizza. It’s the passion that is put behind the pizza and the ingredients that are laid on top that make the difference. We create pizzas that combine a few simple and flavourful ingredients and that cook quickly in the Neapolitan style, which really maintains their freshness. Torontonians are obsessed with good food and Libretto’s popularity tells us that bringing educated guests quality ingredients is a winning recipe.

Wine is a big part of the experience at Enoteca Sociale. What are some of the gems on your wine list?
Tawse Winery’s 2009 Riesling is so refreshing that I find myself drinking it for most of the meal. Cantine Madonna delle Grazie’s 2007 “Liscone” Aglianico del Vulture is a great autumn wine, a full-bodied red that goes well with a rich braised meat like lamb.

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Hot Dining: Dundas West’s Restaurant Row

Enoteca Sociale's chef Rocco Agostino (photo by Aislinn Laffan)

It may be somewhat outside of the downtown core, but there’s a lot of delicious dining action along Dundas Street West, between Bathurst and Dufferin street. This charmingly gritty strip has, over the past couple of years, seen an influx of excellent and affordable eats, including internationally known charcuterie citadel The Black Hoof and hyper-specialized sandwich shop Porchetta and Co. (825 Dundas St. W., 647-352-6611), which proudly offers only two menu items. Honest, homespun fare is the watchword here, with Campagnolo (832 Dundas St. W., 416-364-4785) offering local comfort dishes and chef Rocco Agostino of Enoteca Sociale cooking up Italian cuisine just like nonna used to make it. And, though tiny, Brockton General (1321 Dundas St. W., 647-342-6104) serves up big taste from its limited daily menu.

Hot Dining: Notable Newcomers

Sizzling steaks at Sidecut in Whistler

The regional editors of Where recently unveiled their list of 2010’s best new restaurants across Canada.

1. Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie – Vancouver, BC; 604-688-087; www.bao-bei.ca

2. Sidecut (pictured) – Whistler, BC; 604-966-5280; www.fourseasons.com

3. Prime Steakhouse and Lounge – Victoria, BC; 250-386-2010; www.primesteak.ca

4. Charcut Roast House – Calgary, AB; 403-984-2180; www.charcut.com

5. Zinc – Edmonton, AB; 780-392-2501; www.zincrestaurant.ca

6. Habitat Restaurant – Canmore, AB; 403-678-8880; www.granderockies.com/habitat

7. Segovia Tapas Bar and Restaurant – Winnipeg, MB; 204-477-6500; www.segoviatapasbar.com

8. Enoteca Sociale – Toronto, ON; 416-534-1200; www.sociale.ca

9. Taste, the Restaurant at Touchstone – Muskoka, ON; 705-764-5353; www.touchstoneonlakemuskoka.com/taste.html

10. Town – Ottawa, ON; 613-695-8696; www.townlovesyou.ca

11. Fujiyama – Halifax, NS; 902-492-1133; www.sushifujiyama.ca

2010 Dining Guide: New Arrivals

Toronto’s reputation as a dining destination continues to grow. These restaurants—opened over the past 12 months—have only enhanced that image.

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Hot Dining: Italian Indulgence at Enoteca Sociale

Duck liver ravioli at Enoteca Sociale

Not content with cornering the market for authentic Neapolitan pizza, the owners of über-popular Pizzeria Libretto can now lay claim to some of Toronto’s best homestyle Italian fare, period, at their recently opened Enoteca Sociale. At home in the up-and-coming Dundas West district, this wine bar has quickly gained a reputation for its warm and welcoming atmosphere and chef Rocco Agostino’s lovingly nostalgic dishes that could include duck liver ravioli ($13) and veal saltimbocca with arugula and pancetta ($15). Pair your plates with reasonably priced vino from the restaurant’s long list, and don’t pass up the chance to sample from the enticing selection of more than 20 Canadian and Italian artisan cheeses.