What’s on the menu at Gusto 501, Corktown’s new multi-level, all-day Italian restaurant and cocktail bar
Name: Gusto 501
Contact: 501 King St. E., 416-477-5647, gusto501.com, @gusto501
Owner: Janet Zuccarini (Gusto 54 Restaurant Group)
Chef: Group executive chef Elio Zannoni
Accessibility: No barrier at entrance; accessible washroom
Gusto 501 is like if Trattoria Nervosa and the O.G. Gusto had a bambino—and this particular bambino was six years in the making. Some favourite dishes from both Nervosa and Gusto 101 made it onto the menu here (the kale salad, the mushroom-truffle pasta, wood-fired pizza), but there are a bunch of new plates, too, like saucy mussels and polenta, and a lasagna that emphasizes the best part about lasagna: the crispy bits. Upstairs, next to the cocktail bar is Attico, a separate dining room with its own kitchen and a menu of small plates and bar snacks, like calamari cooked on a terracotta grill and a mortadella panino. And there’s weekend brunch, too, because of course there is.
Whereas Gusto 101 is big on buck-an-ounce wine, Gusto 501 is all about cocktails, and each of the classic drinks is given a twist here and there by bar manager Jorge Yarce. But have no fear, that by-the-ounce wine is still here (as well as a whole bunch of other by-the-bottle Italian options), as is a selection of Italian amari. And there’s a serious coffee program, too, which is no surprise given that it was Zuccarini’s dad who imported the very first espresso machine to Canada.
Designed by award-winning architecture firm Partisans (Bar Raval, Quetzal), the building is, unsurprisingly, a real beaut. The walls are constructed from terracotta bricks, put together in a way—in true Partisans style—that gives them an undulating, wave-like quality. Despite being a very open space with soaring ceilings, the main-floor trattoria is surprisingly warm and cozy. There’s also a grab-and-go counter by the main entrance, where customers can get coffee and freshly baked pastries. Upstairs you’ll find the cocktail bar and Attico, and another short flight of floating stairs leads to a rooftop patio, which will open this summer. Oh, and that massive street-facing garage window? It bloody well opens.