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Food & Drink

What’s on the menu at Osteria Rialto, the Paradise Theatre’s new Italian restaurant

By Renée Suen| Photography by Renée Suen
What's on the menu at Osteria Rialto, the Paradise Theatre's new Italian restaurant

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The retro Paradise Theatre on Bloor got a swanky new makeover. Here’s a look inside

Name: Osteria Rialto Contact: 1006 Bloor St. W., 416-306-8123, osteriarialto.com, @osteriarialto
Neighbourhood: Bloorcourt Owner: Moray Tawse (Paradise Theatre, Tawse Winery) Executive chef: Executive chef Basilio Pesce (Porzia, La Banane, Biff’s), chef de cuisine Ryan Baddeley (Bar Isabel, Bar Raval) and executive pastry chef Jill Barber (Blackbird Baking Co.) Accessibility: Fully accessible

The food

Pesce’s current menu draws influence from—but is not limited to—Ligurian, Tuscan and Roman cuisines. Pesce says there’s no real regional focus as the team wants to highlight different dishes from all over the boot. “I find it really hard to do traditional Italian dishes, because you just don’t have the same ingredients or items,” says Pesce. “And if you start shipping in everything from Italy, you kind of lose that regional, everything-is-grown-here concept.” Instead, the menu features a tagliarini with Fogo Island snow crab, a dry-aged bistecca alla Fiorentina and fresh pasta made in-house and by Famiglia Baldassarre. And Barber’s desserts, while French in technique, are made with seasonal ingredients and Italian winter citrus fruits, like bergamot and kumquat.

What's on the menu at Osteria Rialto, the Paradise Theatre's new Italian restaurant
Finished with a mountain of freshly grated grana padano, the mortadella-topped Gnoccho Fritto is fast becoming a crowd favourite. $8.

 

What's on the menu at Osteria Rialto, the Paradise Theatre's new Italian restaurant
Here is it again.

 

What's on the menu at Osteria Rialto, the Paradise Theatre's new Italian restaurant
The Tonarelli is essentially an carbonara but made with Calabrian ’nduja. $24.

 

What's on the menu at Osteria Rialto, the Paradise Theatre's new Italian restaurant
The Pesce Crudo features a seasonally changing selection of raw fish. It currently showcases side stripe prawns, sustainable ahi tuna from the Philippines and red sea bream from New Zealand. It’s all drizzled with Spanish olive oil and served with house-made citrus kosho (grapefruit, lemon and chili). $27.

 

What's on the menu at Osteria Rialto, the Paradise Theatre's new Italian restaurant
The Black Cod Livornese features red shrimp and Taggiasca olives. $34.

 

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What's on the menu at Osteria Rialto, the Paradise Theatre's new Italian restaurant
Crowned with peaks of ginger custard and chocolate ganache, the Chocolate Pear Cake is made with warm winter spices and finished with thin chocolate coins. $12.

 

What's on the menu at Osteria Rialto, the Paradise Theatre's new Italian restaurant
The Honey Spuma is made with layers of Barber’s soft, house-made speculoos cookies. It’s finished with fresh figs on fig purée and Marcona almond butter. $12.

 

What's on the menu at Osteria Rialto, the Paradise Theatre's new Italian restaurant
The Apple Crostata is made with slow-roasted apples, layered on thin and crispy caramelized pie dough. It’s topped with piped squiggles of chestnut cream and lingonberries, and finished at the table with calvados custard. $12.

 

The drinks

“I thought it would be fun to imagine a cocktail menu of French classics that have Italian twists,” says Goodfellow. “So it’s like something from the region of Chambéry.” For example, a Brandy Alexander made instead with white vermouth and gin is reborn as the Alexandra. The Italian-dominated wine list was curated by Stephanie Morra (Paris Paris, Midfield Wine Bar, Terroni), and features unblended varietals indigenous to each pocket of Italy. The selection is divided into two parts: the Vino da Tavola for sparkling, rose, whites and reds, and the Vino de la Cantina, which features selections from the restaurant’s cellar and reserve list.

What's on the menu at Osteria Rialto, the Paradise Theatre's new Italian restaurant
The Italian Crusta, Goodfellow’s twist on the Brandy Crusta, is made with rum, Affino, maraschino, lemon and Peychaud’s bitters. It’s served in a glass rimmed with sugar. $15.

 

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What's on the menu at Osteria Rialto, the Paradise Theatre's new Italian restaurant
The French 37 is made with gin, Affino, lemon and prosecco. $15.

 

What's on the menu at Osteria Rialto, the Paradise Theatre's new Italian restaurant
The Alexandra, a riff on the Brandy Alexander, is made with gin, dry vermouth, coconut cream and crème de cacao. It’s garnished with a branded chocolate coin. $13.

 

What's on the menu at Osteria Rialto, the Paradise Theatre's new Italian restaurant
La Rosa is a low-octane cocktail made with dry vermouth, Campari, maraschino and grapefruit oil. $13.

 

What's on the menu at Osteria Rialto, the Paradise Theatre's new Italian restaurant
And here’s Goodfellow, pouring out La Rosa.

 

The space

Located on the ground floor of the 1937 heritage building, the restaurant’s narrow space is decked out in a mix of warm wood and exposed brick, with brass and Art Deco accents. A private dining cellar can hold parties of up to 12 guests, and a soon-to-come all-season patio will double the restaurant’s capacity.

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What's on the menu at Osteria Rialto, the Paradise Theatre's new Italian restaurant
What's on the menu at Osteria Rialto, the Paradise Theatre's new Italian restaurant
What's on the menu at Osteria Rialto, the Paradise Theatre's new Italian restaurant
What's on the menu at Osteria Rialto, the Paradise Theatre's new Italian restaurant
What's on the menu at Osteria Rialto, the Paradise Theatre's new Italian restaurant
What's on the menu at Osteria Rialto, the Paradise Theatre's new Italian restaurant
What's on the menu at Osteria Rialto, the Paradise Theatre's new Italian restaurant
What's on the menu at Osteria Rialto, the Paradise Theatre's new Italian restaurant
Here’s the semi-private room at the back of the restaurant.

 

What's on the menu at Osteria Rialto, the Paradise Theatre's new Italian restaurant
And here’s the wine cellar, which is also the private dining room.

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