Introducing: Ovest, a polished Italian restaurant on King West from ex-Terroni chef Luca Stracquadanio
(Image: Jackie Pal)
Contact Info: 416-214-6161, 788 King St. W., , ovest-to.com @Ovest_TO
Neightbourhood: King West
Owner: Marco Celio, the former general manager at both Buca and Buonanotte
Chef: Sicilian-born chef Luca Stracquadanio, previously the executive chef at Terroni LA and La Bettola di Terroni in Toronto
The Food: In addition to thin-crust pizzas and truffle-strewn pastas, the debut menu at Ovest includes some interesting departures from typical trattoria fare. A nontraditional caprese salad, for example, combines tuna tartare with whipped Buffalo mozzarella and salsa verde. The swordfish carpaccio—chef Stracquadanio’s signature dish—brings thin slices of smoked fish sprinkled with slivered fennel, orange segments and white anchovies. (“I want to surprise my customers with juxtaposing elements,” says the chef.) Desserts, like the chocolate nest pictured above, are almost too pretty to eat.
The Drinks: The wine list (which is still in the works) will include bottles from all over Italy. On Fridays and Saturdays, wines by the glass come with a complimentary cheese and charcuterie plate.
The Place: The bare-bones industrial room is softened with glowy mood lighting. Custom-built wine displays double as space dividers, and the enormous marble bar has a built-in salumi and cheese fridge.
299612 <b>Ovest</b> is tucked beneath the Lagree Fitness Studio at 788 King West. (Image: Jackie Pal) Introducing: Ovest https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-13-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-13.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-13.jpg 1000 667  https://torontolife.com/food/ovest-toronto-restaurants/slide/ovest-toronto-restaurants-13/ ovest-toronto-restaurants-13 0 0
(Image: Jackie Pal)
299613 The restaurant is an impressive 4,700 square feet. Casual high-top seating is available near the bar at the front. https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-12-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-12.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-12.jpg 1000 667  https://torontolife.com/food/ovest-toronto-restaurants/slide/ovest-toronto-restaurants-12/ ovest-toronto-restaurants-12 0 0
299614 The cool industrial room is softened by warm wooden surfaces and glowy mood lighting. https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-11-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-11.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-11.jpg 1000 667  https://torontolife.com/food/ovest-toronto-restaurants/slide/ovest-toronto-restaurants-11/ ovest-toronto-restaurants-11 0 0
299615 Built-in wine displays double as room dividers. https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-10-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-10.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-10.jpg 1000 667  https://torontolife.com/food/ovest-toronto-restaurants/slide/ovest-toronto-restaurants-10/ ovest-toronto-restaurants-10 0 0
299616 The Caprese di Tonno combines tuna tartare with whipped bufala mozzarella and salsa verde ($16). https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-09-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-09.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-09.jpg 1000 667  https://torontolife.com/food/ovest-toronto-restaurants/slide/ovest-toronto-restaurants-09/ ovest-toronto-restaurants-09 0 0
299617 The Seppia alla Griglia is a lightly poached cuttlefish with pea purée and pickled red onions ($16). https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-08-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-08.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-08.jpg 1000 667  https://torontolife.com/food/ovest-toronto-restaurants/slide/ovest-toronto-restaurants-08/ ovest-toronto-restaurants-08 0 0
299618 In chef <b>Luca Stracquadanio’</b>s signature seafood charcuterie, ribbons of smoked swordfish are drizzled with olive oil and topped with sliced fennel and orange segments ($18). https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-07-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-07.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-07.jpg 1000 667  https://torontolife.com/food/ovest-toronto-restaurants/slide/ovest-toronto-restaurants-07/ ovest-toronto-restaurants-07 0 0
299619 The Nodino di Conigloi (rabbit loin stuffed with porcini mushrooms and wrapped in speck), is another of chef Stracquadanio’s signature dishes. It’s served over a cauliflower purée with charred Brussels sprouts and a seared rabbit’s foot ($28). https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-06-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-06.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-06.jpg 1000 667  https://torontolife.com/food/ovest-toronto-restaurants/slide/ovest-toronto-restaurants-06/ ovest-toronto-restaurants-06 0 0
299620 The handmade Agnolotti Del Plin is stuffed with braised veal shank and topped with shaved truffles ($21). https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-05-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-05.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-05.jpg 1000 667  https://torontolife.com/food/ovest-toronto-restaurants/slide/ovest-toronto-restaurants-05/ ovest-toronto-restaurants-05 0 0
299621 To make this pretty tart, spirals of green apple are delicately placed on a marzipan crust and drizzled with caramel. It’s served with a scoop of pistachio gelato ($8). https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-04-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-04.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-04.jpg 1000 667  https://torontolife.com/food/ovest-toronto-restaurants/slide/ovest-toronto-restaurants-04/ ovest-toronto-restaurants-04 0 0
299622 This colourful chocolate nest has a chocolate-mousse centre. It’s served over caramelized biscotti ($8). https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-03-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-03.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-03.jpg 1000 667  https://torontolife.com/food/ovest-toronto-restaurants/slide/ovest-toronto-restaurants-03/ ovest-toronto-restaurants-03 0 0
299624 The Giulia blends gin with lime juice, basil and homemade hibiscus syrup. https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-01-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-01.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ovest-toronto-restaurants-01.jpg 667 1001  https://torontolife.com/food/ovest-toronto-restaurants/slide/ovest-toronto-restaurants-01/ ovest-toronto-restaurants-01 0 0
One thought on “Introducing: Ovest, a polished Italian restaurant on King West from ex-Terroni chef Luca Stracquadanio”
Tried Ovest for dinner last night – an anniversary – and it more than lived up to my expectations. Despite only having been open for a week (and still not serving its complete menu) both food and service were impeccable. As starters, the swordfish carpaccio was an amazing interplay of flavours and texture, and the tuna tartare on a bed of mozzarella mousse a clever take on the old caprese salad. Our mains – gnocchi with ink and lobster, and the boar rack – maintained the same high standard set by the starters. The desserts – the chocolate nest and what must be the most labour-intensive apple “tart” ever conceived – were worth waiting for. Service – from waiter Tom, the sommelier and a huge staff of runners – was spot-on: they never once let our water or wine glasses go dry. The place is not cheap (the boar comes in at $39), but as a special meal out, it more than satisfies. And a much more moderately-priced meal can be put together with a glass of wine and a pizza (which looked great – deeper-dish than we’re used to at Terroni). We’re already planning who we’re going to take to Ovest once the holidays are done! A terrific addition to King-west-of-Bathurst.
Comments are closed.