Osteria dei Ganzi 647.348.6520 http://ganzi.ca/ closed mon, tues to sun open lunch till late
Live life in the moment: a philosophy that chef Guerrino Staropoli stands by. Born and raised in Rome Staropoli’s seasonally changing menu is certified D.O.P (Denominazione di Origine Protetta – Protected Designation of Origin), meaning at least 80% of the ingredients must come straight from Italy. Simple Italian food like your Nonna use to make; so geared towards family and sharing, that in the winter they make polenta right on the table in front of guests. The Osteria itself is an old mansion restored to its original beauty with a few modern touches and a fabulous corner patio lined with greenery that shields from the bustling street. The kitchen creates an authentic experience by using only the best quality ingredients. Servers are stellar, cocktails are cosmic. Can’t go wrong with a smoky horseradish infused Caesar (I really should start working for Motts Clamato – I think i’m addicted to it).
A charcuterie platter arrives as if plated by the gods, most of which is cured in-house. Aracncini stuffed with gooey mozzarella and crisp fried olives is a mouthwatering start to an exciting evening. Paper-thin slices of breaded eggplant – Melanzane alla Parmigiana – topped with an earthy-sweet fresh-from-garden tasting tomato sauce, heightened by basil and buffalo mozzarella. Time and Date is an inventive cocktail using bourbon, dried dates, maple syrup, chocolate, vanilla and bitters. The secret to its success is to take a bit of the date, then take a sip and feel your tastebuds rejoice – YEEZUS! The Miss Daisy stands out being served in an antique goblet belonging to the first owners of the mansion, and because you can’t beat freshly squeezed limes, carthusian monks liquor, tequila and sugary maraschino.
Yay, the entrees have arrived! Fatty Osso bucco (oh ya there’s a big chunk of bone marrow on the plate) just makes you sit up and sign, covered with black peppercorn gremolata, sided by a melt-in-your-mouth risotto Milanese. I did bite down on a few peppercorns that threw me into a coughing fit, however, I still enjoyed the dish as a whole. Swordfish Carpaccio looking more like a crepe than a pounded down, thinly sliced raw fish; that said, I found the texture and flavour combination intriguing, mostly because I have never tried swordfish prepared in this way.
I smoke cigars (now and then) and one of my favorite shops Frank Correnti Cigars (http://www.correnticigars.com/ )have setup a mini rolling station under the shade of an old tree. These Cuban treats are blended from premium raw leaves flown in from Cuba, all rolled by hand in the traditional way. And there is nothing better than ending a great evening with a beautiful cigar.