What’s on the menu at Il Covo, a new Italian restaurant and wine bar from an ex–Buca Yorkville chef

What’s on the menu at Il Covo, a new Italian restaurant and wine bar from an ex–Buca Yorkville chef

Name: Il Covo
Contact: 585 College St., 416-530-7585, ilcovo.ca, @ilcovo.to
Neighbourhood: Little Italy
Owners: Ryan Campbell and Giuseppe Marchesini (Buca Yorkville)
Chef: Ryan Campbell (Buca, Buca Yorkville)

The food

Il Covo specializes in cicchetti, small dishes (think half-portion sizes) made for snacking and sharing. There’s also house-made pasta, including unique kinds like scrigno, toasted little bundles filled with gorgonzola and raddichio. Aged Italian cheeses, single-origin dark chocolates, raw honey and specialty olive oil all have their own menus.

Insalata Liquida is a salad made of (and dressed with the liquid from) gem lettuce, peppers, pear, fennel pollen, pink peppercorn and Biancolilla olive oil. $11.


Stella di ricotta in brodo: a Sicilian-inspired roasted ricotta dumpling topped tableside with an aromatic chicken broth. $12.


Scrigno: toasted fresh pasta filled with gorgonzola and radicchio di Chioggia, then finished with fermented grape mosto cotto. $15.


Quadrettini: small squares of fresh pasta with sunchoke, egg yolk, sheep’s milk cheese and mint. $13.


Named after senior sous-chef Sarah Fiore’s aunt (and based on one of her recipes), La Chiarina is a traditional Abruzzese sponge cake that’s soaked in espresso vermouth, and layered with vanilla and Valrhona chocolate crema. It comes with a scoop of espresso gelato. $9.


A miniature version of cassata, a sweet sheep’s milk ricotta cake that contains pistachio, preserved cherry and citrus. $9.


Campbell (left) and Marchesini.


The drinks

Organic and biodynamic Italian wines, many of which were acquired directly from the winemakers. The by-the-glass selection is currently about 30 bottles long, and detailed descriptions of each are found in leather-bound albums that took Marchesini six months to put together. There are also Italian beers, spirits, classic cocktails with contemporary spins and a bunch of non-boozy options, including Italian soft drinks.

Alto Basso: blended malt, Aperol, sweet vermouth, Luxardo Maraschino, lemon and orange. $14.


Il Covo’s martini is made with Martini Bianco, and either Georgian Bay gin or vodka that’s been olive oil washed. $16.


Bartender Robert Granicolo prepares the Vespa Viola.


The Vespa Viola: vodka, Kinsip cassis, clover, honey and lemon. $12.


The warmed Vin Brûlé is mulled using red wine, sweet vermouth, Vecchia Romagna, citrus and Mediterranean spices. $17.


Caffe’ dell’Amicizia is a boozy spiced coffee that’s served in an antique friendship cup that’s passed around (you drink from one of the spouts) without being put down (or else the friendship is severed). It’s an after-dinner tradition from the Valle d’Aosta region in the Italian Alps. Minimum 2 people. $15.


After the drink is poured into the hand-carved coppa, the rim is dusted with powdered sugar and lit on fire. The flame is extinguished before the first sip is taken.


This drink is…lit.


The space

The 50-seat room’s warm and dark decor features vintage wrought iron details and Venetian marble–plastered walls. Ambient lighting is courtesy of candles, custom-made chandeliers and wall sconces.

This table can seat 12 guests.


Looking into the basement wine cellar.


The cellar doubles as an event space.