Introducing: Via Vai, downtown’s newest pizzeria (that could double as an art gallery)

Introducing: Via Vai, downtown’s newest pizzeria (that could double as an art gallery)

(Image: Jackie Pal)
 

Name: Via Vai
Neighbourhood: Downtown Core
Contact: 832 Bay St., 416-362-0123, viavai.ca, @viavaiTO
Owner: Joe Friday
Chef: Joe Friday (Luma, Alimento)

The Food: Via vai, Italian for “come and go,” is the philosophy behind this new Italian eatery, where wood-fired Neapolitan pizza shares space on the menu with handmade pasta, sake-massaged octopus and a 42-ounce, Flintstone-style T-bone steak. For larger parties, whole-roasted beasts (think pig, lamb) are available. Some of what appears on and in dishes (including fiddleheads and morels) has been foraged from alongside the Don River by chef Friday himself.

The Drinks: Classic Italian cocktails are part of a growing list of seasonal drinks. The Bicicletta, for example, is a house concoction made with Campari, pinot grigio and a splash of citrus. An extensive (but accessible) wine list focuses on bottles from Italy’s most bountiful regions.

The Place: Previously an art gallery, Via Vai is now an eat-in solarium where diners are on display: 45-foot floor-to-ceiling windows allow light to flood the space at all times (plus, every seat is a window seat). The gallery lives on through colourful, mural-covered walls and paint-splattered panes of glass suspended from the ceiling.