The Gist: Oretta is open all day from 8am in the morning until 11 at night.
Inspired by the Italian way of life, a café and bakery in back offers espresso-based coffees, in-house made pastries, pizza al taglio, salads and Panini’s that can be enjoyed at the communal table or packed to go. Come summer, dine al fresco on the patio.
Lunch and dinner of "authentic Italian fare with modern day classics" may be enjoyed in the stunning room up front, but it’s all about casual dining here.
Grub: Everything from bread and pastries to pastas and pizza dough are made in house, while products from both Italy (doppio zero flour, Burrata) and Canada (local food distributor 100km Foods Inc.) are highlighted throughout the menu.
Dinner items include per cominciare (nibbles to share) such as fried olives stuffed with pork ($7) and crispy artichokes with truffle sauce ($7). Antipasti ($8-$14), salads, pizzas and pastas, as well as four mains ($24-$120) and sides offer a wide range of choices.
Libations: Cocktails ($12-$15) include a classic Barrel Aged Negroni ($14/2.5oz) with Tanqueray, Dubonnet Rouge, Averna, and Campari. In the mood for something fruity? Pazza di Te ($14/2oz) pulls you out of winter doldrums with Finlandia, Briottet Creme de Fraise, Soho, lime and cranberry juices, and fresh strawberries.
A host of wine selections, beers and non-alcoholic options are also available.
Fixtures & Fittings: Commute Design (formerly known as Commute Home) took charge of the space, breathtaking in both size and scope.
At 6,500 sq.ft. over two floors (the second floor includes a state-of-the-art presentation kitchen and event space), there’s room for everyone -140 downstairs (with 25 in the café and 14 at the bar) and 65 seated /100 standing upstairs.
Due to the modern structure, "We wanted it to look like it’s been here awhile," says owner Salvatore Mele (also owner of Capocaccia). During the year long build-out, towering ceilings were brought down to a staggering 20 ft. (you’ll look up as often as you look around).
Despite the luxe look and materials – leather booths and banquettes, long stretches of marble and brass, temperature controlled glass wine cellar, electric ovens from Italy – and modern palate of teal, ochre, salmon and pink, servers are in sneakers and tees to lend a casual feel to the space. You’ll notice it’s all Adidas, who have sponsored the restaurant.
Mele says "It’s supposed to be fun, load, and boisterous."
Oretta also has its own brand ambassador – celebrity chef and TV host David Rocco.
Off the Menu:
Fritto Misto ($14) The gluten-free seafood dish is a favourite of Chef Christian Fontolan. He’s from Senigallia, a small port town in Italy, where this dish is enjoyed on the beach with white wine. "It’s a classic," he says.
Deep fried calamari, smelts, shrimp and haddock, are served with beet chips and fresh lemon. You can practically hear the crashing waves.
Pizza Sbosso ($18) A thick chewy crust is topped with Mortadella, mascarpone, pistachio, fior de latte, and candied orange.
Fiorentina Steak ($120) More than enough for two and could easily be shared by three or four, this sumptuous, staggering 2 lb. T-bone is done simply with herbs and butter, and served with your choice of three contorni.
- Erbe di Campo (chard, dandelion, cabbage, roasted garlic, rosemary)
- Patate arrosto with pancetta and rosemary
- Roasted carrots (no longer on the menu)
Zeppola ($9) This traditional Italian deep fried fritteris filled with rich chestnut cream, set on an artistic brush of dark rum chocolate sauce, and sprinkled with candied chestnut. Decadent, yet impossibly light.
At the Stove: Head Chef Christian Fontolan
Head Honcho: Salvatore Mele
Map It: 633 King St W. (at Bathurst)
Visiting Hours: Daily 8am to 11pm
Phone It In: (416) 944-1932
Deets: Open Daily Cafe/Bakery 8am-4pm, Dining 11:30am-11pm
How Cool is This?! Soon to come – Oretta’s own cold pressed juices.
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