Introducing: BruDa, a new pan-European restaurant from two Little Italy vets

Introducing: BruDa, a new pan-European restaurant from two Little Italy vets

Inside BruDa, once home to Negroni (and, briefly, Carpano)

Little Italy has seen a brisk changing of the guard in the past couple years, with the rise of new buzzy spots like Woodlot, Acadia and Frank’s Kitchen. A couple weeks ago, Neil Da Costa and Victor Brum, two veterans of the neighbourhood who first met at Trattoria Giancarlo, opened BruDa in the space that long held Negroni (and briefly held Carpano). Rather than pigeonholing themselves into specifically Italian, French or Spanish cuisine, they describe their restaurant’s menu as “European.”

Da Costa and Brum renovated the space themselves, creating a large, open-concept room with high charcoal ceilings and classic white walls, which house artwork by local artists like Nadia Lloyd and Loredana Blandisi. At the heart of the restaurant is an open kitchen helmed by executive chef Gordon Calman, whose most recent stint was at the Inn on the Twenty in Jordan. Calman aims to bring some of that wine country sensibility to his approachable menu here, with dishes that are simple yet refined.

The lunch menu is casual, with items like like wild mushroom bisque ($8), a smoked ham hock sandwich ($12) and chef-rolled gnocchi with truffle, Brussels sprouts and Ontario burrata ($14). At dinnertime, there are classic seared scallops ($13), slow-cooked spiced rabbit served on a potato cake ($10) and double-smoked pork tenderloin in a coffee-fig reduction ($17). The wine menu, chosen by Brum (who’s also a sommelier), includes European as well as Canadian selections. Just don’t ask for a negroni at the bar.

BruDa, 492 College St., 416-927-0222,