Introducing: Campagnolo, the new meat-loving spot on Dundas West’s carnivore row

Introducing: Campagnolo, the new meat-loving spot on Dundas West’s carnivore row

The interior of Campagnolo (Image: Fraser Abe) 

After 2010, it’s hard to remember what a sad little patch of real estate once existed along Dundas West, between Bathurst and Trinity-Bellwoods. Thanks to the Black Hoof and Hoof Café, the short strip has become something of a destination for enviro-conscientious meat lovers. New restaurants are capitalizing on it, too: Porchetta and Co. opened its doors this week, serving organic pork sandwiches, and before that, there was chef Craig Harding’s first solo venture, Campagnolo—a rustic restaurant with a farm-to-table ethos at Dundas and Euclid.

Harding’s roots are decidedly more Bay Street, having worked at Four and Soul of the Vine, but following a year-long exodus in Vancouver, the chef moved to the Trinity-Bellwoods area, renovated a triplex and found the spot for Campagnolo. “I went around the west end, and College has been done, Queen has been done. I thought Dundas was ripe for the taking.”

After an exterior paint job and gutting the interior (his partner, host of HGTV’s Marriage Under Construction, Alexandra Hutchison, was integral in design choices), Campagnolo was born. With terra cotta floors, lacquered wood tables and an open-concept prep area, the restaurant feels like sitting in someone’s giant kitchen. The name, Harding says, came from his Italian grandmother, who told him, “Campagnolo means something like country bumpkin, someone who’d rather stay in the country and hang out on the farm.” (The place isn’t associated with an increasingly popular hot spot of the same name in Vancouver.)

The menu, a list of 13 items with five staples, is printed daily to take advantage of whatever’s fresh—and to stem boredom. “There are only three chefs, and if I had to hand-make the same pasta five days in a row, I’d go nuts,” says Harding. One of his signature dishes comes from a recipe his grandmother handed down to him: ragoût of wild boar, spare rib and tripe on polenta.

Campagnolo, 832 Dundas St. W., 416-364-4785, campagnolotoronto.com.