On the main floor of the newest and stunning QRC West building in Toronto’s Entertainment District is Ricarda’s, a massive Mediterranean open-kitchen restaurant, bakery, bar and café. A gorgeous and spacious space, with its clean and modern décor filled with marble and gold accents, deep u-shaped booths overlooking the kitchen. The restaurant has 170 seats inside and 100 seats in the indoor patio outside the office building’s lobby.
The open-kitchen concept is a central feature, guests can sit up close to the food stations, meet the chefs and see how each Mediterranean-inspired dish is prepared. During breakfast and lunch time, for those who don’t have the time for a sit-down meal, there are made-on-demand and grab-and-go meal options available as an alternative. The bakery and café section will serve freshly prepared desserts, pastries and artisanal breads, paired with decadent coffee roasts.
The menu, created by executive chef Samir Girgis, includes customizable salads, pasta, flatbreads along with a range of appetizers, and other signature entrees. We tried the Grape Leaf Wrapped Smoked Octopus, a colourful dish with tender octopus with a light smoky flavour, accompanied with yellow tomato puree, rich black squid ink aioli, and topped with sorrel.
Another smaller dish we sampled was the Charred Monforte Halloumi, an all-natural sheep’s milk cheese from Millbank, Ontario. The cheese is surrounded by a nice crust, with the inside slightly springy, mild interior that squeaks between your teeth; the cheese isn’t too salty, making a great compliment with roasted red grape, fig, almond and toasted parmesan brioche.
For the main, I chose to create my own pasta; guests can select the region of the pasta, pasta type and an option to top it off with additional protein. From Aegean, the Turkish regional cuisine with concentration on seafood, the seafood pasta contains octopus, rock crab, sea asparagus, confit tomato, shellfish and tossed in sea urchin butter. My favourite was the Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken, locally sourced from a Southern Ontario Farm. I’m not a fan of dried tasteless chicken, so I was delighted that the chicken was crispy and moist; stuffed with halloumi, leek, spinach and served with a nice contrast of wild mushroom, corn, drizzled with black olive & red wine vinaigrette.
We finished off our meal with dessert. My favourite was the Corn Panna Cotta with blueberry compote, salted polenta, sablée, and blueberry meringue; a perfect summer dessert that isn’t too sweet. As a chocolate lover, another favourite was the Chocolate Ganache Torte, topped with zabaglione gelato, cocoa nibs and berries.
After your delicious meal at Ricarda’s, it’s a good idea to take a moment to explore and admire the QRC West building. Attico Bar & Tapas, Ricarda’s chic cocktail lounge is also located in the building overlooking the architecturally stunning atrium.
Ricarda’s 134 is located at 134 Peter St.
For more info visit ricardas.com
Photos by Nick Lee