Paese Ristorante (Toronto)

If you’re looking for a foolproof patio, Paese’s set-up is fully covered from the elements. It’s also surprisingly large housing over a dozen tables with ones able to accommodate six people, a hot commodity in the patio world.

And if you also like hearty Italian cooking, Paese has also got you covered – just fresh ingredients presented simply and without fuss. Their creamy buratta ($23) arrives on top of a bed of vibrant ripe tomatoes that make a great salad. The pool of olive oil is jazzed up a bit of pesto and is really all the flavouring the appetizer needs.

When having meatballs as a starter, I want them nice and large. The size of tennis balls, the menu describes polpette di manzo ($16) as being made from ground beef, but it’s surprisingly delicate for beef. Sitting in a lovely tomato sauce, it pairs so nicely with the complimentary salty oily focaccia.

I had doubts when I first laid eyes on the thick crust on the parmigiana ($22) pizza – did I make the wrong choice? The crust is deceiving as once I bit into it, it is surprisingly light and airy, and nicely toasted on the bottom. This main combines my love for eggplant parmigiana and pizza and Paese doesn’t skimp on eggplant or cheese. While they augment flavours with basil, chili, and oregano; I would have liked more salt to seep into the neutral eggplant and dough as the tomato sauce isn’t applied as liberally, rightfully so, on the pizza versus the traditional dish.

Overall, Paese makes some good sauce – not too acidic and fresh tasting. Interestingly, their bolognese di tacchino ($25) incorporates turkey instead of the traditional beef, pork, and/or pancetta mixture, which makes it taste lighter. So even though it arrives as a huge plate, the men at our table were able to get through the entire dish. This would have been even better if there was some chili sauce thrown into the mix.

What a good dinner. Pizza, patio, and prosecco… who needs anything other than these three Ps during the summer?  

Overall mark - 8 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 3827 Bathurst Street

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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