Don Alfonso 1890
My two top reasons to go to this first North American outpost of an Amalfi Coast–based deluxe restaurant group: to behold the rooms of marble, white leather, crystal and brass, featuring a skull sculpture grinning from a plinth—the opulence second only to Donatella Versace’s closet; and to marvel at the fantastically elaborate tasting menus, one focused on vegetables and the other on meat and seafood. Together, they are a showcase for edible sleights of hand (what looks like a baked egg is actually a yolk surrounded by burrata foam), emulsions and unusual sauces (charred veg, capers and garlic, cinnamon and borage). The fanciful philosophy is summed up by a quenelle of eel-flavoured ice cream, its fishiness enhanced by sturgeon caviar, and a fast-drying parsley sauce painted across the plate like Japanese calligraphy. All this gilding comes at a price: at $150 a person for one of the tasting menus, a date night will cost you $400 with tax and tip, plus however much you’d like to drop on a bottle from the copious cellar.
Don Alfonso 1890, 19 Toronto St., 416-214-5888, donalfonsotoronto.com