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No. 17

Osteria Giulia

THIS LUXE AND POLISHED Yorkville restaurant from David Minicucci and chef Rob Rossi (Giulietta) packs a daring move for an Italian eatery in Toronto: no pizza. Instead, Rossi’s preoccupation here is with the cuisine of Liguria. The birthplace of pesto and focaccia di Recco also enjoys 350 kilometres of coastline, so the culinary focus is piscine. The setting — long and narrow, with pale tones and a handsomely minimalist design from Guido Costantino — is posh and elegant.

The blond wood of the spare, sexy dining room is the perfect foil for the simplicity of its Ligurian cuisine, pristine grilled seafood and the country’s best pesto. ADRIAN MYERS

Get started with a shared plate of umami-rich Cetara anchovies, draped over whipped butter and grilled sourdough. Note that the luscious and delicate vitello tonnato is easily the best in town. Among the pastas, the trofie al pesto genovese is a pesto to be reckoned with, interpreted with great finesse. But then all the pastas are exceptional here. Still, it’s the beautifully executed simplicity of the seafood plates that sets this place apart — to wit, that finest-quality Chilean sea bass, Glacier 51, with mussels and red prawns in a tomato-laced broth. When you’re dining à deux, the mixed grill is always pleasing. Chef de cuisine Shuning Tang executes desserts with the same reliable finesse he brings to the rest of his program; do not miss his tropical fruit millefoglie. The restaurant is perpetually full and bustling, helped along, no doubt, by an exceptional Italian-centric wine list that has great matches for every dish, even by the glass. Service is consummately professional.

Best Seat
At the bar or, for a group, at one of the round tables along the north-side wall, numbered 1, 2 and 3.

Photography by Ali Kaufman

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