With décor running more to modest than stylish, and only 30-odd seats spread over its twin main floor rooms, this restaurant appears to the uninitiated as your average neighbourhood bistro. But its foodie following borders on cultish. Part of the reason is husband-andwife co-owners Michael Caballo (chef) and Tobey Nemeth (sometimes chef, sometimes front-of-house) have an enviable devotion to making everything from scratch—properly. Or failing that, procuring it from the best possible sources. For example, the meal starts with crusty house-baked sourdough served with artisanal fermented butter from Quebec. Caballo and Nemeth’s culinary passions are strictly Western European. Sometimes the focus falls on France, as with their special-order canard à la presse, the finest example this side of the Tour d’Argent. More often, though, they find their inspiration in Spain—say, with charcoal grilled clams with artichokes, jamon iberico and ajo blanco. But with the new five- and seven-course tasting menu format, daily inspirations are increasingly supplanting the classics. The wine list is modest, but replete with bargains. The mood is always convivial.
169 NIAGARA STREET, 416-703-4222
TORONTO, ON M5V 1C9