LIBERTY ENTERTAINMENT GROUP KINGPIN NICK DI DONATO had long harboured a plan to deliver to Toronto a dining experience of uniquely European grandeur. In 2017, while holidaying on the Amalfi Coast, he found the partner he needed, just outside of Positano, at the two-Michelin-starred Don Alfonso 1890. The restaurant had already launched satellite Don Alfonsos in New Zealand and Macao. Next stop, the Rosewater Supper Club — transformed by designer Nadia Di Donato to feature a blinding quantity of shiny white marble. Midsummer 2021, the restaurant moved to a temporary new home at Casa Loma, also managed by Liberty and also a marvel of marble. The food remains the same, with some classic dishes lifted from the mothership unadulterated, others a riff on their ideas adapted to local ingredients and, occasionally, local originals. With their arrestingly contrasted colours and elaborately dotted sauces, the plates are always pretty, though their Italian identity can be subtle. Typically, the tasting menu begins with an array of tartares (bison, tuna, beet) arranged on different puffed chips. Pasta courses include provolone- stuffed ravioli, sauced with celeriac purée and saffron foam. Mains include seared Muscovy duck with apple purée, balsamic reduction and demi-glace. New Age petits fours arrive in a cascade of smoke from dry ice. The wine list is solidly international. This summer, Don Alfonso reopens in The Westin Harbour Castle hotel, which is purported to be its permanent home.
Photography by: Paula Wilson