Page 1

Chefs and the City: Rob Gentile’s Toronto

Rob Gentile

Rob Gentile, the Buca group’s culinary mastermind shares where he eats, drinks and plays


I only drink Italian-style espresso. The beans should have zero acidity with a dark chocolate charred flavour. It should not taste like you dipped a rotten peanut into citric acid powder, then sucked on it like a candy (that’s you, hipsters). Pop into Faema on Dupont and ask for Rocco. He will pull eight shots in five minutes for you so you can smash your day.

Viva España!

For late-night drinks and snacks there is no better spot on the planet than Bar Raval. Our city’s finest Cava, cocktails and pintxos any time of the year.

Restaurant for any occasion

For an excellent selection of wine by the glass and killer food to pair, my pick is Dandylion, one of our city’s best.

And for special ones

Alo has resurrected the fine-dining scene. I would be happy to pay double the price at Alo—that’s how spot-on and perfect it is.

And for getting away from it all

I like to go right o the grid and hit Lahore Tikka House on Gerrard Street East. It feels like you’re not in Canada. Butter chicken, kebabs, any of the biryani rice dishes, naan bread and don’t forget the charred chilies. An authentic slice of Toronto’s great multicultural mix.

Free time

I live in Riverdale, a wonderful area with tons going on. I’ll walk with my dog to Withrow Park, get an ice cream on Queen Street or a solid workout at Forme Fitness. On weekends, I’ll take my dog out early and hike around the Brick Works. The farmers’ market there is a bonus.

The ultimate meal to pack for a flight

One word: muffuletta. Pick up this epic sammy at Cheese Boutique, which is on the way to Pearson Airport or just around the corner from Billy Bishop. Half is enough for a long flight. Eating it all will knock you out.

What’s in your shopping bag

I’m at Hooked for fish, call my meat into Woodward—Dale is the only guy I trust. I prefer farmers’ markets and my garden for vegetables, and there is no better than Afrim Pristine for cheese. Don’t be afraid to haggle with him!

Next big thing?

Hands down Brandon Olsen, such an incredible talent. His creativity is explosive—expect big things in 2017.