Introducing: Ovest, a polished Italian restaurant on King West from ex-Terroni chef Luca Stracquadanio
Contact Info: 788 King St. W., 416-214-6161, 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.