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Food & Drink

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

By Renée Suen| Photography by Renée Suen
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.

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

 

What's on the menu at Il Covo, a new Italian restaurant and wine bar from an ex–Buca Yorkville chef
Stella di ricotta in brodo: a Sicilian-inspired roasted ricotta dumpling topped tableside with an aromatic chicken broth. $12.

 

What's on the menu at Il Covo, a new Italian restaurant and wine bar from an ex–Buca Yorkville chef
Scrigno: toasted fresh pasta filled with gorgonzola and radicchio di Chioggia, then finished with fermented grape mosto cotto. $15.

 

What's on the menu at Il Covo, a new Italian restaurant and wine bar from an ex–Buca Yorkville chef
Quadrettini: small squares of fresh pasta with sunchoke, egg yolk, sheep’s milk cheese and mint. $13.

 

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

 

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What's on the menu at Il Covo, a new Italian restaurant and wine bar from an ex–Buca Yorkville chef
A miniature version of cassata, a sweet sheep’s milk ricotta cake that contains pistachio, preserved cherry and citrus. $9.

 

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

What's on the menu at Il Covo, a new Italian restaurant and wine bar from an ex–Buca Yorkville chef
Alto Basso: blended malt, Aperol, sweet vermouth, Luxardo Maraschino, lemon and orange. $14.

 

What's on the menu at Il Covo, a new Italian restaurant and wine bar from an ex–Buca Yorkville chef
Il Covo’s martini is made with Martini Bianco, and either Georgian Bay gin or vodka that’s been olive oil washed. $16.

 

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What's on the menu at Il Covo, a new Italian restaurant and wine bar from an ex–Buca Yorkville chef
Bartender Robert Granicolo prepares the Vespa Viola.

 

What's on the menu at Il Covo, a new Italian restaurant and wine bar from an ex–Buca Yorkville chef
The Vespa Viola: vodka, Kinsip cassis, clover, honey and lemon. $12.

 

What's on the menu at Il Covo, a new Italian restaurant and wine bar from an ex–Buca Yorkville chef
The warmed Vin Brûlé is mulled using red wine, sweet vermouth, Vecchia Romagna, citrus and Mediterranean spices. $17.

 

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

 

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

 

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

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
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
This table can seat 12 guests.

 

What's on the menu at Il Covo, a new Italian restaurant and wine bar from an ex–Buca Yorkville chef
Looking into the basement wine cellar.

 

What's on the menu at Il Covo, a new Italian restaurant and wine bar from an ex–Buca Yorkville chef
The cellar doubles as an event space.

 

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

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