What’s on the menu at Bottega Volo, Bar Volo’s one-stop shop inside the Royal Theatre—now with sandwiches, cocktails and a patio
Best theatre concession stand ever
Name: Bottega Volo
Contact: 608 College St., bottegavolo.com, @bottegavolo
Neighbourhood: Little Italy
Owners: Julian and Tomas Morana
Chef: Clark Brewerton
Thanks to the introduction of bottle shops a few years back, Toronto is now an excellent city for buying wine—and beer, and spirits, and tinned fish, and all of the above if you happen to wander into Bottega Volo, the Bar Volo camp’s new(ish) market and very new patio.
Consider the inside a candy store for connoisseurs. There are fridges full of beers, featuring cans from around the country and bottles of Volo’s own brews. Other fridges are stocked with natural, biodynamic and small-producer wines, including bottles from Foradori, Eric Wareheim and Claus Preisinger. Others still are stuffed with pasta from Baldassarre, frozen pizzas from Mattachioni, Italian provisions from Alimentari, and trout roe, cheese, sausages, fancy butters and other snazzy stuff imported from around the world. Since the space is inside the Royal Theatre, there’s also a full selection of fancy candies, snacks and drinks to enjoy with a show.
Morana and team were inspired by la cucina povera (the poor man’s kitchen), so the menu is small and tight, with a focus on simple, unfussy Italian and Spanish snacks. There are burrata salads, pizzas, fish tins served with good bread for dipping and excellent paninis. Most ingredients are pulled from the shelves of the Bottega: pop-the-top conservas, boquerones draped over toast, and thin slices of Italian prosciutto and mortadella sandwiched between buns. Can’t stay? Pick up ingredients to go from the bottega for an at-home DIY affair.
Much like the food menu, the drink list takes a deep dive through the shelves. Bottega Volo is stocked with an army of Italian and Spanish vermouths and aperitivi, and the menu spotlights a rotating selection, either served on the rocks or in a spritz.
If you’re drawing straws over which fernet to get, the patio menu is designed to help drinkers pick their poison. Vermouths and aperitivi are listed by name—including a vermouth from the foot of Mount Etna volcano or a glittering and bitter aperitivo from Piedmonte. Order off the menu and it will be served on ice with an orange slice and a speared olive. Everything can be made into a spritz for an extra $5.
Inside is the concession stand of any beer, wine or snack lover’s dreams. Outside, there’s now a full patio, complete with cute café tables and beer garden set-ups. “This was our third year doing CaféTO, and we’ve always been firm advocates for street patios,” says co-owner Julian Morana. This year, it was time for a more permanent arrangement. “A lot of our travel experience comes from Europe, and we love eating Italian food on a busy sidewalk. We wanted to channel that.”
So they built out the patio to have the air of a European bodega. Stop in for lunch (Bottega Volo opens at noon), stock up on gourmet pantry goods (an easy feat) or grab a spritz with a friend while you wait for your dinner reso.