Where to eat lunch this week: Vertical

Where to eat lunch this week: Vertical

This financial district mainstay keeps the food fresh and the patio busy

The late-summer lunch: duck breast on the Vertical patio 

The place: Vertical’s lofty canopy-covered terrace rises above the hubbub of King Street and draws the crowds on this cool summer’s day.

The crowd: Business-casual 30-somethings clink martini glasses while two CEO types linger over their dessert plates and wrap up negotiations. Nobody is rushing to get back to work from the glorious patio.

The deal: Southern Italian and Mediterranean fare dominates the main menu. A seasonal menu features local organic ingredients and rotates on a biweekly basis and ends with a quote from Miss Piggy bemoaning the work required to eat an artichoke.

The dish: We start with a pan-seared fillet of Ontario lake trout ($14)—tender flesh and cracker-crisp skin surrounded by sautéed chanterelles and a bright shallot-parsley salad. Equally impressive is our companion’s app of duck breast ($16) buried under a tumble of chopped endive, roasted red peppers, eggplant and pecans. Mains include a plate of tender ricotta gnocchi ($23) mingled with Ontario peas, morels and cipollini onions in a savory-scented bath, as well as a smoked boneless quail ($20) resting on a bed of cracked wheat, diced pickled vegetables, rapini and salsa verde. We conclude with an order of Vertical’s zeppole ($8)—four piping hot doughnut holes filled with an ethereal pistachio pastry cream, coated in cinnamon sugar and served with a runny caramel sauce.

The time: 95 minutes, 20 of which were spent idling in the breeze after chasing down our server.

The cost: $117.47 for two, including tax, tip and orders of Mighty Leaf tea ($3.95 per serving).

Vertical Restaurant and Bar, First Canadian Place, 100 King St. W. (mezzanine level), 416-214-2252, verticalrestaurant.ca.

(Images: Renée Suen)