I came to this one on a recommendation from a local, via Instagram. I truly appreciate how social media and the Internet has brought people closer, and has made such suggestion giving easier. You don’t need to meet anyone face to face to ask them for help, or to even consider them a friend.
I was thrilled to have taken his advice just by how the restaurant looked. This was some fancy Italian. This would be the nicest restaurant I visited during my stay in Toronto, and I would say, nicer than most restaurants I have visited in Vancouver. The decor could be best described as artisan bodega. Things you would find from your local mart, stacked as if it was on sale.
The entry in itself was an experience. Set with its own flags, it was like walking into an gallery with stone columns and a bold arch way. Reading online, I learned that “Terroni Adelaide” is inside the historic York County Court House. This court house served the city court from 1852-1900.
And if you thought the exterior was impressive, the interior would blow you away. With camera ready I took captures 360 degrees, everything was noteworthy. Just inside the front doors is their enoteca. An “enoteca” is literally “wine repository”. It is used to describe a special type of local or regional wine shop that originated in Italy. This term perfectly described their coffee and wine bar. It was so extensive that the labelled bottles went all the way from the counter to the ceiling.
The pantry had the same style of dark wood shelving, and just as much piled up high. Classic Italian ingredients on every shelf level, it made a great display and was reassurance of what went into your food. Baskets of oranges and lemons, tins of coffee, bags of pastas, jars of preserves, and all the accoutrements needed to prepare a handsome meal. There was even a family style wood table ready to serve, it was set with chargers, cutlery rolled up in cloth napkins, and several glasses; dependent on your beverage of choice.
But what truly drew my breath was their in-house butchery, where in back lit fridges hung chunks of meat. Pork carved and suspended by rope, tied at its bone. Wrapped in parchment and tagged, each piece had its own characteristics and name. I didn’t think to ask, but I wonder if you were actually able to shop from here and take home any of the canned and dried goods from the pantry. The butcher’s scale affixed to the counter led me to think you could. However I have also seen a restaurant go through lengths for a cohesive theme, buying realistic props, and replicas such as this. Either way this was doing it for me and it made me all the more excited for the dinner to come. I made a mental note to order something that would come from the butchery.
Everything was so grand that my description just doesn’t do it justice, neither does my photos, or the little booth I ended up seated at. I would recommend visiting just to be able to enjoy the foyer and ask to be seated there. This, instead of the more generic dining area, with the typical two top table and booth, or chair.
The only thing that distracted me from enjoying the feeling and end hey of the place, was the live DJ and the music they decided to play this Saturday. I get that the music was meant to set up a party vibe; but where the theme takes you to Italy, the music brings you back, and reminds you that this is Toronto. 90’s pop, rock, and then modern hip hop; the music got harder as the night progressed, and further from the intended Italian feel. “Backstreet Boys”, “Alanis Morissette”, and the worst was the dance version of a “Smashing Pumpkins” hit.
I was so excited by the restaurant that I didn’t further take the advice of the person who recommended it to me. He strongly suggested checking out their menu first. I didn’t, and as a result, I was not prepared for a $$$$ rating. Instead of leaving with my tail between my legs, I decided to snack on appetizers and to enjoy some wine. I rather spend more on a carafe of nice Italian wine, than a full plate of pasta always; it only seemed right, having seen their enoteca.
The wine that was recommend was a $10 for 5oz. And with so much body, it was the perfect Italian red to go with my Italian starters.
Luckily my appetizers for dinner would start with a complimentary serving of bread and olive oil. This, and my two small plates were more than enough to keep me full for the result of the night. When you think of real authentic olive oil you think of this. It is dense with a slow growing flavour. When it hits the back and bottom of your throat you truly taste its natural essence. It was deep like a good scotch, which then finishes strong and pure. The bread no doubt was shadowed by the oil. It was cold and chewy with a crisp crust, it simply made a good base to highlight the olive oil with.
Remembering the butchery I had the “Prosciutto e melone”, which was Culatello paired with fresh sliced cantaloupe. It was just meat and fruit for $16. But you pay for the quality of meat, and the skill of having it cut this fine. I was actually surprised that the order was this large. I was actually expecting the one piece of melon and a few pieces of prosciutto. In total it was half a melon with six pieces of thinly sliced meat draped over each. I thought this was totally worth the price. Each slice of fruit was even partially cut from the rind for easily removal. I made quick work of this, using a steak knife to cut chunks down to size. Sincerely, this was the best prosciutto I have ever had and have ever seen.
Looking for another appetizer that would be a tad more filling, I went with the “Crocchette di patate”. They are deep fried potato and prosciutto croquettes, served with a basil pesto that is made with pine nuts. I liked the prosciutto so much that I wanted to try it in another application. This was a French style croquette based on the whipped nature and texture of the potato within. The Italian influence came from the basil dipping sauce. It’s flavour was so well pronounced with the nuts and herbs. As for the croquette, it was incredibly crispy outside, with a soft pillowy filling; the perfect texture. Although I was not able to taste the prosciutto, or make out any of its pink within. Though truth be told, it wasn’t needed.
Given the lavishness of this place, I was disappointed by their washrooms. Like with many other, older Toronto buildings, the facilities were in the basement. It required a trek through a winding labyrinth, only to reach a dinghy hold. What baffled me was how large the restaurant space was, to only have two narrow stalls in the women’s washroom. I bumped into the wall trying to escape one. But at least it was wallpapered nice.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
This one came highly recommended by an Instagram friend. It was a decent distance from my hotel, but definitely worth the trek. It has the best Prosciutto I have ever had to date, and nothing disappointed. Everything I enjoyed was well worth what I paid. And if you like good food but are short of funds, just get a taste from their appetizer menu; it is more than enough for a sample of the good life. Truly one of the best Italian restaurant I have been to. When I return to Toronto, I will definitely be a stopping by this one again, and this time I will save plenty to indulge in lots. And best of all they have several locations within the Toronto area to meet all your cravings. Although I don’t know if the others will be as nice as this one. Don’t deny your cravings.
57 Adelaide Street East, Toronto ON, M5C 1K6