Advertisement
Food & Drink

What’s on the menu at Don Alfonso 1890, the first North American outpost of the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant

By Renée Suen| Photography by Renée Suen
What's on the menu at Don Alfonso 1890, the first North American outpost of the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant

Name: Don Alfonso 1890 Contact: 19 Toronto St., 416-214-5888, donalfonsotoronto.com, @donalfonsoto
Neighbourhood: St. Lawrence Previously: Rosewater Owners: Liberty Entertainment Group (Blue Blood, Cibo Wine Bar, Spice Route) Chefs: Executive chef Saverio Macri (Cibo Wine Bar) in partnership with chefs Alfonso and Ernesto Iaccarino (Don Alfonso 1890) Head sommelier: Alexander Powell Bar manager: Oliver Stern (Toronto Temperance Society)

The food

The main floor and private dining room serve an eight-course Italian tasting menu ($150) that features recipes from the Naples restaurant. The meal may include dishes like seared Muscovy duck breast, Canadian ling cod with an Italian herb crust, or some of Iaccarino’s more modern creations (like his “baked egg,” a slow-cooked egg yolk surrounded by burrata foam). Those looking for less commitment can order off an à la carte menu in the mezzanine-level lounge.

 

What's on the menu at Don Alfonso 1890, the first North American outpost of the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant
Don Alfonso’s Ice Creamed Eel is topped with sturgeon caviar, served with wild rose-scented tagliatelle and dressed with wild herbs and pulverized egg yolk.

 

What's on the menu at Don Alfonso 1890, the first North American outpost of the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant
The Vermicelli di Gragnano Mackerel in Carpione style sits in an albacore tuna purée, topped with Sicilian pine nuts and caramelized onions.

 

What's on the menu at Don Alfonso 1890, the first North American outpost of the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant
The Rigatoni Vesuvius hides a tower of rigatoni, organic peas and ricotta di bufala under a sauce made from San Marzano tomatoes. It’s served on a plate made from volcanic ash. (Each course is plated on custom dishes made specifically to highlight the food served.)

 

What's on the menu at Don Alfonso 1890, the first North American outpost of the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant
Bison served in a rustic bread crust wraps seared organic tenderloin in layers of Swiss chard and mozzarella. The plate is dressed with dollops of salsa verde, San Marzano tomato and red chili reduction.

 

What's on the menu at Don Alfonso 1890, the first North American outpost of the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant
The Don Alfonso team includes chef Ernesto Iaccarino (front row, centre) and several chefs from the Italian location who have moved to Toronto.
The drinks

Wine—a lot of wine. A 650-bottle deep wine cellar is stocked with a number of vintages inherited from Rosewater (anyone care for a bottle of Lafite?), and the sommelier-led wine pairing (an extra $100) mixes both Old and New World wines. Stern’s cocktail menu is worth a before- or after-dinner trip to the upstairs lounge: In addition to classic cocktails, he’s created a few playful molecular cocktails, from a two-part mojito to an Aperol-laced take on bubble tea.

Advertisement
What's on the menu at Don Alfonso 1890, the first North American outpost of the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant
Here’s that wine cellar we were talking about.

 

What's on the menu at Don Alfonso 1890, the first North American outpost of the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant
The Affumicato is made with cognac, Cuban rum, house vermouth and cacao liqueur in the style of a Vieux Carré, but is infused with applewood smoke before being poured tableside over a giant ice cube. It’s garnished with a dark chocolate cigar. $28. Photo by Renée Suen

 

What's on the menu at Don Alfonso 1890, the first North American outpost of the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant
Bar manager Oliver Stern and the Affumicato.

 

What's on the menu at Don Alfonso 1890, the first North American outpost of the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant
Mojito Then & Now is really two cocktails made from rum, lime and mint. The first is made in the traditional-style with muddled lime and mint. The second is made using liquid nitrogen to freeze and pulverize the mint, before the mojito liquid is frozen into a sorbet. $36.

 

What's on the menu at Don Alfonso 1890, the first North American outpost of the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant
Scooping the sorbet.

 

Advertisement
What's on the menu at Don Alfonso 1890, the first North American outpost of the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant
And the finished product(s).

 

The space

There’s a main dining room, flanked by the open kitchen; a second-floor lounge with its own bar; and a few private dining rooms, one of which looks over the main level.

What's on the menu at Don Alfonso 1890, the first North American outpost of the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant
The main entrance.

 

What's on the menu at Don Alfonso 1890, the first North American outpost of the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant
The roses are a nod to Rosewater, the supper club that occupied the space until recently.

 

What's on the menu at Don Alfonso 1890, the first North American outpost of the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant
Oh, look, more wine.

 

Advertisement
What's on the menu at Don Alfonso 1890, the first North American outpost of the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant
The main dining room, as seen from the mezzanine.

 

What's on the menu at Don Alfonso 1890, the first North American outpost of the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant
And again.

 

What's on the menu at Don Alfonso 1890, the first North American outpost of the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant
The open kitchen.

 

What's on the menu at Don Alfonso 1890, the first North American outpost of the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant
A six-seater table sits right in front of the kitchen’s pass.

 

What's on the menu at Don Alfonso 1890, the first North American outpost of the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant
The more relaxed mezzanine bar serves Stern’s molecular cocktails and the restaurant’s a la carte menu.

 

Advertisement
What's on the menu at Don Alfonso 1890, the first North American outpost of the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant
There are three private rooms: this 16-seater on the mezzanine overlooks the dining room, while two larger ones are found on the lower level.

 

What's on the menu at Don Alfonso 1890, the first North American outpost of the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant
French artist Philippe Pasqua’s “Crane” was the inspiration behind the room’s décor.

 

What's on the menu at Don Alfonso 1890, the first North American outpost of the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant
Don Alfonso now calls the old Consumers’ Gas building home.

NEVER MISS A TORONTO LIFE STORY

Sign up for Table Talk, our free newsletter with essential food and drink stories.

By signing up, you agree to our terms of use and privacy policy.
You may unsubscribe at any time.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Advertisement
Advertisement

More New Restaurants

What's on the menu at Edna and Vita, a splashy new Italian restaurant in the old Reds Wine Tavern space
Food & Drink

What’s on the menu at Edna and Vita, a splashy new Italian restaurant in the old Reds Wine Tavern space