Introducing: Città, CityPlace’s new (but rustic) Italian kitchen
Contact Info: 92 Fort York Blvd., 416-623-9662, cittatoronto.com
Owners: Charles Khabouth (Patria and La Société), Hanif Harji (Weslodge and Storys) and Adam Brown of the local Fox and Fiddle
Executive Chef: Ben Heaton, formerly of The Grove
The Food: Heaton’s seasonally inspired menu of Italian comfort food is filled with bright and rustic flavours—the roasted cauliflower dish, for instance, has the vegetable prepared three ways (sliced raw, roasted and pureed), then topped with crispy capers and wine-soaked raisins and an emulsified dollop made of those same two ingredients. Wood-burning ovens on both ends of the restaurant fire out pizza, sourdough, ciabatta and baguettes, but Heaton likes to throw mussels, fish and bacon into the flames for a kiss of smoke, too. Almost everything is made in-house or locally sourced, with one big exception: dry pasta from Afeltra. Says Heaton: “when you can get a superior ingredient somewhere else, you go for it.” The restaurant also serves a weekend brunch that offers breakfast-inspired pizzas and panini, as well as porchetta and eggs. A pizza delivery service is in the works.
The Drinks: An Italian wine list features reds and whites from Northern, Central and Southern Italy. Byblos‘s bartender Clayton Cooper has crafted a cocktail list that stars Italian ingredients like orange blossom, espresso and pink grapefruit.
The Place: Co-owner Hanif Harji found everything in the space, mixing ornate pieces like high-backed green leather banquettes and a wall montage of gold-rimmed mirrors with more casual wood tables and farmhouse chairs. And because it’s CityPlace, ground floor or no, it’s all surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows.