Introducing: Jamie’s Italian, Jamie Oliver’s first North American restaurant, at Yorkdale Mall
Name: Jamie’s Italian
Neighbourhood: Lawrence Heights
Contact: 3401 Dufferin St., 416-238-7450, jamieoliver.com, @JamiesItalianCA
Owners: Jamie Oliver and King Street Food Co. (The Saint, Jacob’s & Co. Steakhouse, all the Bucas)
Chef: Francesco Venditti (Bar Buca)
Family-friendly Italian dishes—pizza, pasta and salads—made with sustainable, ethically sourced and local-when-possible ingredients. Not a single product can hit the menu unless it checks off those last two boxes, and recipes were tweaked to be low in additives and preservatives. Local suppliers include Hooked and Ace Bakery and 100km Foods Inc. Oliver has over 60 restaurants worldwide and this is his first one in North America; his choice to come to Toronto and partner with Rob Gentile and the King Street Food Co. can be traced back to one little tweet.
Super Food Salad: Puy lentils, wild rice, quinoa, tender-stem broccoli, grilled avocado, cottage cheese, pomegranate, fennel, beets, pumpkin and sesame and poppy seeds, harissa, parsley, mint, cherry vinegar, olive oil and lemon. $8.95/$14.95. Add chicken ($6) or albacore tuna ($7).
Acqua Pazza: This recipe was passed along to Oliver by his mentor, Gennaro Contaldo. Pan-fried whole fish with olives, garlic, white wine, capers, parsley and sweet baby plum tomatoes. $28.95.
Our Famous Prawn Linguine: This is the chain’s top-selling dish (about 6,000 orders per day, worldwide). Handmade pasta and garlicky fried prawns (sustainably sourced from Mexico) with fennel, tomatoes, chilies, saffron, arugula and a lobster broth. $10.50/$19.95.
Italian Hot Pizza: Crispy Roman-style crust topped with fresh tomato sauce, fior di latte, schiacciata piccante (a spicy salami), Lombardi cheese and chilies. $17.95.
Burger Italiano: A char-grilled chuck-steak patty topped with mayo (made with free-range eggs), fontina cheese, crispy schiacciata piccante, pickles, chili peppers, crispy fried onions and salsa rosso crudo (so, tomato salsa), all on a specially made brioche bun from Ace Bakery. $14.95.
Amalfi lemon meringue cheesecake: Mascarpone and lemon cheesecake topped with torched Italian meringue, lemon curd and a seasonal fruit compote. $9.25.
Epic Brownie: A warm, fudgy brownie made with 70 per cent cocoa, and topped with vanilla gelato and house-made salted-caramel popcorn. $9.95.
Tiramisu: Another Gennaro Contaldo recipe made with layers of espresso-soaked sponge cake and orange mascarpone $9.95.
Panna cotta: Made with Greek yogurt and cream, and topped with a compote of seasonal fruits. $9.95.
Affogato: Vanilla gelato with hot espresso and crumbled biscotti. $5.95.
Wine, beer (a few of which are local brews), Italian liqueurs and spirits, and classic and signature cocktails including Jamie’s eponymous Martini Bianco- and prosecco-enhanced mojito.
(From left to right) Jamie’s Mojito: Bacardi Superior rum, Martini Bianco, Prosecco, mint, lime and sugar ($9.95); La Dolce Vita: Amaretto, triple sec, simple syrup, lemon and cranberry juices. ($10.95); and the Pimm’s Cup: Pimm’s No. 1, lemon juice and simple syrup ($9.95).
One La Dolce Vita in the making.
The two-level, 240-seat, 8,300-square-foot space takes up a good chunk of the oldest part of the mall (it used to be a TD Bank). The central bar doles out drinks from one side and antipasti from the other, and the open pasta-making kitchen lets guests watch as the imported Ferrari-red machine extrudes noodles.
The drinks side of the bar.
And the antipasti side.
Customers can buy branded merch, like these antipasti planks and tea towels.
The pasta maker in action.