If you’re in the market for a new special occasion spot in Toronto, we have a recommendation for you: Don Alfonso 1890 Toronto.
Taking over the former Rosewater (RIP/thanks for the memories) in the history-rich Consumer’s Gas Building, the sprawling new Italian spot – the latest venture from Liberty Entertainment Group – is from a world-renowned chef and officially opened its doors on June 27, 2018.
Here are five good reasons why you should check it out.
Don Alfonso 1890 Toronto is now the first North American location of chef Ernesto Iaccarino’s Don Alfonso 1890, a highly regarded restaurant concept that has been awarded Michelin stars for its Italy location. The restaurants, located in New Zealand, China, and now Toronto, showcase the fresh flavours of the Almalfi coast with Chef Ernesto Iaccarino’s modern Mediterranean flare.
You won’t be overwhelmed with options at this spot – the eight-course tasting menu makes a solid (but pricey) option. In the large, art-filled dining room, the tasting menu ($150) begins with a collection of canapés and fresh bread. For us, this was followed by courses that included ice creamed eel with Sturgeon caviar, seared Muscovy duck breast, organic Manitoba bison tenderloin in a rustic bread crust and finished with a Neapolitan Sfogliatella, an Italian delicacy with layers of phyllo, cinnamon infused pastry cream and Amarena cherry glaze. There is also a vegetarian option. Ordering a la carte is an option if you sit in the lounge in the mezzanine level.
The cocktails are just as memorable and artistic as the cuisine is. Corporate Mixologist Oliver Stern’s cocktail menu features both a selection of classic cocktails as well as a selection of one-of-a-kind molecular cocktails. Notable options include things like the “Head in the Clouds,” made with gin, lemon, almond, pistachio, rose, and egg white ($26); the “Window to Paradise,” made with aged rum, falernum, spiced pineapple syrup, lime, and coconut ice water ($34); and the Modern Martini Pairing; gin or vodka chilled to -8ºC, served in a frozen martini glass and accompanied by four caviars – one made from lemon pearls, one from olive pearls, one from Islay scotch pearls, and one from vermouth pearls ($50).
The wine list.
As one would expect, the wine menu at this spot is an extensive one. The restaurant has curated over 650 labels from around the world, with a focus on those from Italy. To complement the cuisine, sommelier-led pairings are available with both the classic menu and the contemporary menu for $100.
Your meal comes with a side of talking points.
You’ll find no shortage of talking points throughout the sprawling space – from the décor to the art. Naturally, the building’s storied history is reflected in things like hand-painted cornice moldings and the original pillars. Under the creative direction of Nadia Di Donato, every piece of furniture is created with fine materials, many imported directly from Italy. Design elements include crisp white marble stonework, mosaic tiles, and gold accent finishings. The art is also a major draw of the space. Throughout the space, you’ll find two colourful, bold works from well-known Toronto artist Daniel Mazzone. The star of the show in the art department is the dining room centerpiece, “Crane” by renowned artist Philippe Pasqua, an eye-catching sculpture of a scull that is adorned with massive butterflies.
If you have dollars to drop and a reason to celebrate, definitely make a reservation at this new Toronto hot spot.
Don Alfonso is located at 19 Toronto St, Toronto ON. For more information visit www.donalfonsotoronto.com
Photos by Nick Lee