What’s on the menu at Gusto 501, Corktown’s new multi-level, all-day Italian restaurant and cocktail bar

What’s on the menu at Gusto 501, Corktown’s new multi-level, all-day Italian restaurant and cocktail bar

More on Janet Zuccarini

Name: Gusto 501
Contact: 501 King St. E., 416-477-5647, gusto501.com, @gusto501
Neighbourhood: Corktown
Owner: Janet Zuccarini (Gusto 54 Restaurant Group)
Chef: Group executive chef Elio Zannoni
Accessibility: No barrier at entrance; accessible washroom

The food

Gusto 501 is like if Trattoria Nervosa and the O.G. Gusto had a bambino—and this particular bambino was six years in the making. Some favourite dishes from both Nervosa and Gusto 101 made it onto the menu here (the kale salad, the mushroom-truffle pasta, wood-fired pizza), but there are a bunch of new plates, too, like saucy mussels and polenta, and a lasagna that emphasizes the best part about lasagna: the crispy bits. Upstairs, next to the cocktail bar is Attico, a separate dining room with its own kitchen and a menu of small plates and bar snacks, like calamari cooked on a terracotta grill and a mortadella panino. And there’s weekend brunch, too, because of course there is.

These olives with fennel, pollen, lemon zest and chili, are served warm. They can be found on both the Trattoria and Attico menus. $8.


This mortadella panino with taleggio cheese, pistachio and peperoncini, can be found on Attico’s menu. $10.


This vegan salad of shaved raw Brussels sprouts is finished with brazil nut parmesan and sunflower seeds. $13.


The carpaccio is finished with Parmigiano Reggiano, cured egg, peperoncini and chives. $15.


These roasted carrots are swimming in a brown butter and pistachio sauce. $10.


The Cozze Alla Scapece marries mussels with polenta cubes and chilies. $15.


The risotto verde gets its colour from chlorophyll, and those are Hen of the Woods mushrooms. $20.


This lamb ragu lasagna emphasizes the best part of lasagna: the crispy bits. $22.


This crispy-skinned branzino is accompanied by a fennel and blood orange salad. $34.


The drinks

Whereas Gusto 101 is big on buck-an-ounce wine, Gusto 501 is all about cocktails, and each of the classic drinks is given a twist here and there by bar manager Jorge Yarce. But have no fear, that by-the-ounce wine is still here (as well as a whole bunch of other by-the-bottle Italian options), as is a selection of Italian amari. And there’s a serious coffee program, too, which is no surprise given that it was Zuccarini’s dad who imported the very first espresso machine to Canada.

Bar manager Jorge Yarce shakes up a margarita.


The Margarita Viola is a purple twist on the classic cocktail. For it, butterfly pea flower–infused Tromba is shaken with Cointreau, agave and lime. $19.


Here’s the finished drink.


The Sgroppino 501 is equal parts cocktail and dessert. A scoop of house-made limoncello sorbetto is topped off with vanilla Galliano, some prosecco and an edible flower. $15.


Here’s the finished product.


The Cosmopolis involves injecting an ice sphere with a mix of peach-infused Tito’s vodka, Aperol, Gusto’s own grenadine and lemon. $19.


How do you drink it, you ask?


Answer: A mallet is involved.


The space

Designed by award-winning architecture firm Partisans (Bar Raval, Quetzal), the building is, unsurprisingly, a real beaut. The walls are constructed from terracotta bricks, put together in a way—in true Partisans style—that gives them an undulating, wave-like quality. Despite being a very open space with soaring ceilings, the main-floor trattoria is surprisingly warm and cozy. There’s also a grab-and-go counter by the main entrance, where customers can get coffee and freshly baked pastries. Upstairs you’ll find the cocktail bar and Attico, and another short flight of floating stairs leads to a rooftop patio, which will open this summer. Oh, and that massive street-facing garage window? It bloody well opens.

This bar also functions as a place to grab a coffee to-go.


Here’s the cocktail bar.


Here’s a closer look at those crazy walls.


This is Attico, the small-plates bar.