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Italian

Toronto’s Thin-Crust Craze

DEVOUR SOME OF THE BEST NEAPOLITAN PIZZA OUTSIDE OF ITALY

Terroni offers up a delicious menu of thin-crust creations. (Photo by Dylan + Jen.)

Queen Margherita

A strict Vera Pizza Napoletana adherence is why these traditional pies are a reliable favourite. Perfectly blistered crusts are topped with hearty certified San Marzano tomato sauce and fired in a Naples-made oven.
1402 Queen St. E.; 785 Annette St.; 772 Dundas St. W. 

Terroni

Terroni’s extensive list of ’zas embraces all the hallmarks of the southern Italian tradition. Your margherita or quattro stagioni arrives at the table as a whole pie, leaving you to decide the size of your slices.
720 Queen St. W.; 1095 Yonge St.; 57 Adelaide St. E.

Pizzeria Libretto

One of the first restaurants on Toronto’s thin-slice scene now includes five always-packed locations (and a takeout-only spot) across the city. Toppings such as Ontario prosciutto and duck confit are must-tries.
221 Ossington Ave.; 550 Danforth Ave.; 155 University Ave.; 545 King St. W.

Via Mercanti

Romolo Salvati’s mini pizza
empire adds a creative flair to its authentic flavours. For example, its signature Via Mercanti is a two-pizza-layered masterpiece—a ricotta, mushroom and spicy soppressata-covered pizza hides under a full margherita pie.
188 Augusta Ave.; 87 Elm St.; other locations

Lambretta Pizzeria

The signature dish at this family-friendly joint is the prosciutto-laden Lambretta pizza, with a crispy crust that cradles fior de latte, arugla and cherry tomatoes. Or, if meat-free is more your style, try the marinara, vegeteriana or funghi. 89 Roncesvalles Ave.

Embrace Fall With Comfort Food

AS THE TEMPERATURE DROPS STAY WARM WITH THESE FALL FAVOURITES

Funghi 2

Get your fill of delicious carbs with the fungi pasta at Ardo. Photo by Adam Mazerall.

Say hello to fall with these hearty comfort foods.

  1. You won’t go hungry with the toothsome Arcadian Court chicken pot pie, which is served with mashed potatoes and scratch gravy at Bannock.
  2. Head to Harlem Underground for the savoury-sweet combination that is fried chicken and waffles, a beloved Southern dish.
  3. With handmade gnocchi, local mushrooms, heirloom carrots, and creamy stracchino cheese topped off with shaved black truffle, the funghi pasta at Ardo is a decadent answer to any carb craving.

Cresta Brings a California-Inspired Menu to the St. Lawrence Market Area

A HEARTY MENU AND EXCELLENT WINES AWAIT YOU AT CRESTA

The wine chandelier at Cresta can hold up to 500 bottles.

 

Located in the heart of the historic St Lawrence Market area, Cresta brings a taste of both California and Italy to Toronto. The menu mingles both traditional and contemporary Italian cuisine, paired with a large selection of wines from the Thomas George Estates winery in California. An impressive 35-foot chandelier displaying 500 bottles means you won’t be lacking options for a wine pairing with your meal. Executive chef Tri Tran uses fresh seasonal ingredients in his homemade pastas and entrees, and has perfected the recipe for a crispy, yet satisfyingly chewy, pizza crust. Highlights include Brussels sprouts in a crispy balsamic glaze, steak sirloin with braised potatoes, and the house-made gelato. —Karen Stevens

Where to Eat & Drink in Jasper this Summer

By Where Staff

Jasper has many delicious restaurants (check out our Jasper Dining Guide for more extensive options by category). Here are some of our favourites:

Photo: Courtesy of Cassios

Photo: Courtesy of Cassios

Italian dining delights include:

  • Orso Trattoria is the new northern Italian restaurant at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. Their Osso Bucco is a standout dish – this tender veal Milanese specialty is marinated for 24 hours, red wine braised and served on saffron risotto. “I’ve never seen a single bite left behind,” says Trattoria manager Virginia Letourneau. Their antipasti selection includes cured meats and cheeses from Italy.
  • Cassios Italian Restaurant is the namesake of a family that’s been in the restaurant business for 60+ years, and offers more delicious Italian dining. Tomato sauce, from an old family recipe, incorporates ripe California tomatoes, oregano, garlic and Italian parsley; it’s the staple ingredient in their classic Pomodoro spaghetti and Pescatore linguini. “The secret to great flavours is not to overcook,” advises owner/chef Mike Cassio.

(more…)

Hot Dining: Viva Italia

 

A delicious pasta dish from Cafe Chianti

A delicious pasta dish from Cafe Chianti

Café Chianti on Barrington Street serves up a hearty menu of Northern Italian fare with fresh seafood, lamb and duck dishes. Their extensive wine cellar includes varietals from Chile, Spain, Argentina, South Australia and, of course, Italy.

Da Maurizio on Lower Water Street, three-time winner of the CAA Four Diamond Award, is known for its impeccable service, wine list and northern Italian menu. Indulge in antipasti such as Scampi Alla Marchese or Muscoli Alla San Remo. And don’t forget the desserts like tiramisu, sorbetti, and trio di brulee.

Hot Dining: Mercatto-Fresh Fare at Bar Mozza

There aren’t many establishments where you can enjoy lunch or dinner then buy the ingredients for your meal to use at home. But that is indeed the idea behind Bar Mozza, the restaurant at Alimento Fine Food Emporium. Adjoining the large gourmet marketplace, which sells an array of imported cheeses, olive oils, salumi and other Italian specialties, the dining area features the King West–standard industrial-chic interior and a menu of rustic pizzas and fresh pastas. If your time or appetite is limited, try grabbing a seat at the bar and indulging in the chef’s-choice cheese platter ($16 to $21).

Hot Dining: Mama Mia! What’s New at Halifax’s Italian Restaurants

Dessert from Il Mercato

Il Mercato, a popular trattoria with locations on Spring Garden Road and at Sunnyside Mall in Bedford, offers a top-notch casual Italian menu. A new summer menu has fare such as flash-fried calamari with roasted garlic, tomatoes and chilies, and lamb chops crusted with Sicilian pistachios and breadcrumbs, served with fresh mint. A decadent summer tiramisu is the perfect coda.

After 15 years in its old spot, popular Dartmouth eatery Rocco’s Italian Ristorante is in a new location at Baker Drive. As regulars would expect, the menu still highlights Southern Italian favourites, paired with Italian wines. Try the house specialty Capasante alla Rocco (scallops simmered in Marsala wine and demi-glaze).

Hot Dining: Restaurant Review: Santa Ana

Darek Wozny is doing something very right.

Without a days-in-advance reservation or last-minute dumb luck, getting a table inside the chef/owner’s Santa Ana Pizzeria & Bistro is a tall order.

Since opening September 2010, the 40-seat restaurant south of St Vital Centre has earned a fierce following. (more…)

Quirky and Cute: Coombs, British Columbia

Tucked away on Vancouver Island, north of Nanaimo off the Island Highway is Coombs, a place that’s become known for its signature rooftop of grazing goats. Under that roof is The Old Country Market, a quirky grocery store that offers a huge selection of breads and sweets made in their bakery, a cheese shop and imported foods that run the gamut from English licorice to bacon-flavoured mayonnaise a.k.a. Baconnaise.

Before you head to the Market to shop, have lunch at Cuckoo in Coombs Trattoria & Pizzeria. The Italian restaurant offers pasta and wood-stove pizza in a large space with wooden tables and rustic tablecloths (which you can buy next door in Zolena). If the weather is nice, sit out back on the patio under the plum trees. Just outside the restaurant is the greenery area with large pots and Chinese statues, shrubbery and small cacti. Nestled in amongst the plants is Zolena, a shop with wool blankets from New Zealand, Chinese silk bags and bangles from India. (more…)

Hot Dining: Sweet Tooth

Tempting desserts at Il Mercato.

Justifiably noted for its Northern Italian house specialties like pasta and pizza, Il Mercato on Spring Garden Road and at Sunnyside Mall also serves up head-turning desserts. House specialties include Zuccotto (alternating layers of genoise, straticiatelle and chocolate mousse, covered in chocolate ganache), fresh-fruit cheesecake, fruit tarts and gelato.

February Editor’s Picks: Dining

Buca's industrial-chic interior (photo by Jessica Napier).

1. The rustic Italian heavyweights of Toronto’s dining scene have a new challenger in Buca, a supremely hip yet still homey restaurant that recently opened on King Street West. Brainchild of the owners of similarly stylish steakhouse Jacobs & Co., the industrial-chic space—exposed brick, iron girders, bare light bulbs—suggests tastes both modern and timeless, ably reflected in the daily menu of Italophilic fare conjured by Mark McEwan protégé Rob Gentile. The chef’s authentic offerings are priced in the $12 to $39 range, and could include fresh pastas like veal cappelletti or duck egg tagliatelle, authentically adorned thin-crust pizzas, and, in acquiescence to a growing trend, a variety of flavourful house-cured meats.

Sweet and sour pork at Zin.

2. The words “fine dining” and “Chinese food” are not always synonymous, but they mesh handsomely in Yorkville, where Zin recently took up residence in a turn-of-the-century home. Aiming for upscale, attentive servers proffer delicately plated dishes that add a French inflection to Cantonese cuisine. A smattering of traditional dim sum options (all $4) such as har gow and spring rolls lead into exemplary mains, from Peking Duck ($48) and slow-baked Ontario squab ($28) to sweet-and-sour pork ($14) and two pounds of lobster cooked any way you like ($42).

Prime restaurant

3. Frightful February weather shouldn’t keep you from a fresh and filling meal. You may find these restos are but an elevator ride away.

>> A mélange of classic dishes and seasonal, locally sourced fare comprises a culinary cornucopia at Annona, aptly named for the Roman goddess of harvest.

>> Yorkville’s One dishes out decadence courtesy of star chef Mark McEwan in a swank room adorned with smoked glass, cowhide leather and tiger-eye onyx.

>> Only top-quality cuts—like Kobe beef striploin ($115)—are served at modern steakhouse Prime. On Sundays, the prime rib dinner ($40) is a meaty value.

>> At Senses, chef Patrick Lin mixes French and Asian inspirations in such entrees as a crispy duck breast ($29) and a trio of crab with tartar sauce and black bean vinaigrette ($27).

>> A mountain-, forest- and ocean-inspired interior reflects the Canadian cuisine—such as birch syrup–glazed arctic char and foie gras ($34)—at Tundra.

Wherelist: Best New Restaurants 2009

Where editors from across the country have cast their ballots for the Best New Restaurants to open in Canada in 2009. From creative twists on traditional cuisines to stylish décors and high quality food for reasonable prices, these are the eateries you won’t want to miss from coast to coast.

Veneto Tapa Lounge, Victoria

Victoria’s best new restaurant takes traditional tapas to a whole new level. Led by chef Tod Bosence, the sophisticated, urban Veneto Tapa Lounge offers both a hip bar area and quieter dining room, ideal for enjoying Bosence’s creative dinner menu. Each entree is presented tapas style – those in the mood for beef, for example, will enjoy it three ways: veal ravioli with portabella mushroom ragout and roasted garlic cream sauce; marinated short rib with parmesan polenta cake; and New York strip roulade with spicy lobster stuffing and bordelaise sauce.

Cibo Trattoria, Vancouver

With London’s River Café alumnus Neil Taylor heading up the kitchen and ex-Lumiere general manager/sommelier Sebastien Le Goff in charge, it didn’t take long for Cibo to gain a solid reputation for its vibrant rustic Italian cuisine, thoroughly grounded in West Coast ingredients. Taylor’s dishes, which change by the week (if not the day), are constructed with uncomplicated—but wickedly exacting—flair.

Parker House Grill & Wine Bar, Calgary

Parker House is the kind of place where diners can experience high quality service, ambience and food, for a reasonable price tag. Chef Andrew Keen, known for his excellence in “forgotten fare,” has created a menu inspired by traditional New England comfort dishes with creative twists. For dinner, most entrees (with the exception of their steaks) sit in the mid-twenties range, while diners on a budget can try one of their thin-crust pizzas for as low as $12.88.

Creations Dining Room & Lounge, Sawridge Inn Edmonton South, Edmonton

Artful, delicious dining at Creations—the paint’s barely dry and the buzz is on for the eclectic Canadian fusion cuisine of Creations, the stunning new dining room and lounge in the atrium of the Sawridge Inn Edmonton South. Walls of fire, water, badlands hoodoos and a huge dreamcatcher treat the senses as menu items entice patrons to explore palate pleasers such as Sherried Beef Caprese.

Rustica Steakhouse, Canadian Rockies

Rustic has earned its place as one of the Canadian Rockies’ top restaurants for its elegant ‘mountain lodge’ atmosphere and uncompromising dedication to Canada Prime Beef. But it’s the cuisine of Caribbean-born Chef Stefan Mahon that keeps them coming back for more. Only the top 0.3% of beef in Canada earns Prime designation (a superior grade to AAA)—Stefan’s New York cuts, grand filet mignon and prime rib chops are prepared with a signature dry rub, seared under a 1500°F (815°C) broiler and presented on 500°F (260°C) plates with garlic butter.

Hermanos, Winnipeg

Winnipeggers are feeling the Latin heat thanks to the fiery flavours of South American cuisine at this year’s arrival of Hermanos Restaurant and Wine Bar. Set in a 5,500-square-foot warehouse in the Exchange District, fast lunches, tapas and mains are found on the mainly Argentinean- and Brazilian-influenced menu. The crispy fried empanadas are a must-try.

Raw Aura, Mississauga

Raw Aura, true to its name, offers a menu of entirely raw cuisine—the better to emphasize the natural and nourishing properties of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouts. In an intimate yet airy space, friendly staff dish out delectably fresh fare including a “peace wrap” bursting with avocado, tomatoes, carrots, kale, sprouts and hummus, and zesty lo-mein featuring noodles made of zucchini and golden beets.

Loire, Toronto

Loire, a self-described “casual gourmet” spot, well-situated along increasingly foodie-friendly Harbord Street offers fresh, seasonal dishes that could include chili- and cornmeal-crusted Lake Erie whitefish, grilled New York striploin and a succulent beef or lamb burger on challah bread. This intimate restaurant effortlessly straddles the line between relaxed neighbourhood fave and boldface fine-dining destination.

Teca, Muskoka

Overlooking Lake Rosseau is Teca, a fine Italian restaurant located within the luxurious Rosseau Resort & Spa. Surrounded by the natural beauty of the Muskoka Lakes, find this decidedly urban dining room and a centrally located open kitchen that dishes up authentic rustic Italian fare. Tuck into freshly made pasta—from papperdelle and gnocchi to spaghetti and meatballs—or thin crust pizza made in a wood-stone oven, as well as veal chops, fish, striploin and rack of lamb.

The Grand Pizzeria & Bar, Ottawa

Nestled on one of the most auspicious corners in Ottawa’s bustling ByWard Market, The Grand Pizzeria is a popular addition to the downtown dining scene. Built in the late 17th century, this enviable location once housed The Grand Hotel. Today, it’s home to the perfect pizza pie. Traditional Italian appetizers (antipasti, salads) make way for the main attraction: authentic Napoletana pizza. The dough is created and hand-pressed by Master Pizzaiolo Pasqualino Oliveri, who placed first in the 2004 European Pizza Championship, among other honours.

Pipa Restaurant & Bar, Halifax

Chef Luis Gaspar and partner Victoria Dunham Gaspar are longtime veterans of Halifax’s dining scene. And when they decided to embark on a project all their own, they saw a glaring omission in the city’s dining scene. Specializing in Portuguese cuisine, with rich, filling and full-flavoured dishes. Pipa is the only restaurant of its type in Halifax, specializing in Old World and Brazilian dishes such as Moqueca (fish stew) and Feijoada (a stew of meats and black beans). Seafood dishes abound, including fresh grilled sardines.