What’s on the menu at Sofia, Charles Khabouth’s new Italian restaurant in Yorkville

What’s on the menu at Sofia, Charles Khabouth’s new Italian restaurant in Yorkville

Name: Sofia
Contact: 99 Yorkville Ave., 416-479-8974, sofiayorkville.com, @sofiayorkville
Neighbourhood: Yorkville
Owners: Charles Khabouth and Danny Soberano (both of INK Entertainment)
Chef: Executive chef Christine Mast (Canoe, Colborne Lane) with Jane MacDonald (Colette) and Patrick McDonald (Canoe)

The food

Antipasti (carpaccio, spot prawns, citrus salad), house-made pasta, fish and meat (branzino, veal, steak Florentine) prepared in a wood-burning stove. “I’m mostly drawn to southern Italian cuisine because of my roots—I understand those flavours really well—but I’m also drawn to the north because I was brought up with French cooking. I gravitated to both ends of the spectrum, and now I’m getting to know the middle more,” says Mast.

This citrus salad (blood orange, navel orange, clementine) is splashed with fruity olive oil and sprinkled with Maldon salt. The rest of the flavour comes from the toppings: Calabrian olives, fennel fronds, grilled fennel stems, pistachios and Castelfranco radicchio. $15.


Mast marinates this grass-fed Ontario beef in an aged balsamic for eight hours before searing it slightly, causing the exterior to caramelize. The carpaccio plate is finished with fresh figs, parmesan curls, arugula, pine nuts and a splash of spicy Tuscan olive oil. $19.


Sardines are flown in fresh from Portugal and then grilled over a mix of charcoal, beech wood and fruit wood. The fish are topped with a gremolata spiced with a few red Anaheim chilies. $29.


“Malfatti” translates, roughly, to mean, “poorly made.” These rustic Swiss chard–ricotta dumplings are basically gnocchi’s less-elegant country cousin. The treviso is sautéed in brown butter, which is then piled onto the plate with a few pine nuts. $22.


These zeppole are served with a scoop of house-made pistachio gelato, some blood orange syrup and pistachios. $13.


This take on tiramisu replaces coffee with balsamic-macerated strawberries. Mascarpone is whipped with white chocolate, and some cocoa nibs add crunch and bitterness. The circular cookies are house-made ladyfingers. $13.


The drinks

The mostly Italian, 16-page wine card is divided by the boot’s regions, but there are also a few New World, French and German bottles on offer—and almost two-dozen of them are available by the glass. (A nine-ounce glass of Reva Barolo will set you back $80, but most start around $13.) Cocktails include a handful of signature martinis, as well as a few other classics with Italian twists, like a negroni made with limoncello.

Nights of Cabiria: Grey Goose vodka, Aperol, Cointreau, lime and grapefruit juice, jalapeño black pepper, Japanese yuzu, grapefruit syrup. $22.


Bar manager Nishan Nepulangoda, making the Nights of Cabiria.


Elba: Bacardi rum, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, pineapple-basil lime cordial, lemon juice, egg white, Angostura and peach bitters. $16.


Columbina: Tanqueray gin, Aperol, grapefruit-ginger honey cordial, lime juice, Prosecco. $15.


The space

“This is like a little jewelry box, everything needs to be perfect,” says Khabouth. To get the room ready, the red velvet benches must be individually vacuumed, the many mirrored surfaces polished and dozens of touch-activated lamps that have been charging overnight are returned to their tables. It looks like the piano lounge from a ’60s Italian sci-fi flick: everything is Barolo red, white or reflective. “I love dark: it’s sexy and cool,” says Khabouth. “But in half the restaurants I go to, you can’t even see the food; everything looks brown. I wanted Sofia to be bright and modern.” Studio Munge designed the 238-seat space (previously home to two separate restaurants and a tailor shop). Later this month, two patios will add room for another 110 guests.

The herringbone floor was made from 16 different slabs of stone.


The Murano chandeliers were custom designed for the restaurant.


This piano’s not just for decoration, there’s live music most evenings.


The art—which includes pieces by Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons—has been borrowed from co-owners’ Khabouth and Soberano’s personal collections. They’re opening Taglialatella, an art gallery, next door. Pieces on display will change regularly.


The bar area is darker and moodier than the dining room, featuring a 360-degree mural of a Tuscan village by night, by artist David Drebin.