Nestled in the heart of Toronto’s trendy Queen Street West and Dovercourt neighbourhood, Church Aperitivo Bar gives a whole new meaning to divine experience. Located in what was formerly a Slavic Pentecostal Parish, the space stays true to its holy roots. Opened in 2012, Designer Guido Costantino worked closely with the owners to keep as much of the original structure in place as possible including arched double door entry, exposed brick walls and soaring sixteen foot cathedral ceilings, now detailed with a dramatic cutout which reveals the building's age-old wood beams. Flanked by a white marble bar and sleek seating area, the original church aisle cuts through these two spaces and leads up to the raised altar which houses, quite appropriately, the open kitchen of Calabrese Chef Fabio Sacca, whose modern interpretations of traditional Southern Italian fare will make you weep with joy.
The flavours are authentic, the menu inspired, bringing back delicious memories of regional dishes enjoyed from Parma to Positano: Gnocco Fritto with prosciutto di parma and stracchino cheese; Arancini; Polenta Fritta; Tagliatelle ai Funghi with mixed mushrooms in a light truffle cream sauce; and Zuppa di Pesce with calamari, mussels, clams, scallops, shrimps in a light tomato sauce and grilled calabrese bread — Chef Sacca's "vera cucina italiana" feeds the soul. Church Aperitivo Bar oozes warmth while being unapologetically hip, elegantly fusing together the sensibility of old world charm with the cosmopolitan vibe of a city sanctuary. With a hope and a prayer, I'll be back again soon. Take note: their Winterlicious menu is on until Februray 12th.
The original church aisle now cuts through these two spaces, leading up to the raised altar,
which houses Chef Fabio Sacca's open kitchen
Warm candlelight and modern table settings with linen towel napkins
Church Aperitivo Bar's Winterlicious menu features Chef Fabio Sacca's classic southern Italian dishes
In celebration of my friend Paul Wysmyk's opening night of his new exhibition 'Remnant' at David Kaye Gallery, we raised a glass of Prosecco to honour the occasion
Light, crisp and bubbly, the Canti Prosecco was an ideal aperitif
After enjoying the Prosecco we were handsomely served a delicious red wine from Tuscany
2010 Caburnio, Tenuta Monteti, Toscana
Eggplant Parmigiana with burrata, mozzarella, homemade tomato sauce and fresh basil
Caprese with roasted beets, Italian buffalo mozzarella in a white balsamic vinegar
Polpette: veal and pork meatballs in sugo and topped with pesto genovese
Costata di Vitello alla Griglia: grilled veal chop served with peperonata and asparagus
Gnocchi in a veal and pork Bolognese sauce
Penne alla Norma: eggplant, tomato sauce and shaved ricotta salata cheese