It doesn’t get much more authentic than Vos Restaurante Argentino.
The “first restaurant in Toronto serving traditional Argentinian cuisine,” according to owner Vicente D’Agate, specializes in Argentinean delicacies, including the nation's world-famous grass-fed beef and award-winning wines.
Between that and the resplendent setting, you’ll feel as if you’ve traveled to Buenos Aires or Mendoza.
At the center of Argentinean cuisine is beef. Mainly Aberdeen Angus – though sometimes mixed with Hereford – from the Pampas region, it’s considered one of the best in the world, thanks to being grass-fed, resulting in a lean cut that’s full of omega three fatty acids.
Argentina’s regulation “doesn’t allow producers to give any kind of antibiotic or hormone to the cattle” and the country’s production system is not based on feedlots. It “costs 50 per cent more than the best Canadian and U.S. beef,” D’Agate says, and wasn’t allowed in Canada until 2016.
Cooked over a mix of charcoal and wood, the result is divine meat that’s soft, surprisingly light – though deeply satisfying – and full of minerally richness.
Other made-from-scratch delights include empandas, starters such as choripan (sausage on a bun), salads, pasta, traditional paella, seafood including Argentinean hake (similar to Chilean Sea Bass), chicken, veal, and dessert. All mains are meant to be shared.
With 1300 to 1400 bottles, and 75 per cent Argentinian, “We have the biggest collection of Argentinan wines in Toronto,” D’Agate says. Choose from 45 to 50 different types of Malbec, and be sure to try Torrontés, a white Argentine wine grape variety produced only in Argentina.
The cocktail menu features fun drinks inspired by Frenet Branca, a digestive popular in Argentina. The El Flotador Fernet ($15), for example, features two scoops of vanilla ice cream, Fernet, a bottle of Coca-Cola (Fernet and Coke is an every day drink for everyone from young people to seniors), topped with fruit compote and candied almonds? Drink? Dessert? You decide.
Fixtures and Fittings
A former chiropractor’s office has undergone a most stunning transformation.
The space, designed by D’Agate, features an enticing mix of old and new features. From the 1950’s ceiling tiles to the live edge custom countertops, to herringbone flooring and a modern temperature-controlled wine room, there’s something captivating everywhere.
The dining area, too, is lush, with high tufted banquettes topped with real cowhide and tuck-and-roll leather chairs in antique blue, so whether it’s a casual night out with friends or date night, it always feels like a special occasion.
Off the Menu
Bread and butter (complimentary)
Whole wheat baguette with whipped Roquefort and fresh herb butter (the herbs are picked from the little herb garden onsite, which currently features basil, rosemary, oregano, mint, thyme and sage).
Rose De Vida ($14)
Gin, Fernet Branca and rosemary simple syrup gets shaken, topped with club soda, and garnished with a stick of fresh rosemary.
Carne de Ternera/Beef Empanada ($5)
Delicate pastry gives way to tender, spiced ground beef.
Humita/Vegetable Empanada ($4)
You’re not compromising by getting the vegetarian one. A complex, enticing blend of corn, pumpkin, onion, red pepper, mozzarella and basil, with a hint of smokiness.
A modern take on the classic salad, with palm hearts, roasted pecan, apple, celery, and Greek yogurt, refreshes the palate.
Beet salads can be unimaginative, but Ensalada De Remolacha, Palta, Huevos Duros ($14) changes that with a combination of beets, creamy avocado and organic eggs in a lively vinaigrette.
Verduras Asadas Con Langostinos Salteados ($18)
Wild caught Argentine prawns get a smoky char, herbaceous profile from a fresh herb marinade, and salty finish thanks to sea and black salts. Alongside vegetables treated to charcoal, it’s a compelling dish that you’ll no doubt order upon every visit.
Sorrentinos De Calabaza Con Pistacchio ($22)
Tender packets of pumpkin stuffed pasta gets a bright, vibrant lift from pistachio pesto arugula, a Sicilian recipe, finished with cherry tomatoes.
14 oz. Ojo De Bife Ancho ($38)
Delivering a wagyu-esque silky softness with a slight smokiness that never overwhelms, this ribeye, cap off is meant to be shared, but you’ll be tempted to finish it all on your own.
14 oz. Bife De Chorizo ($38)
New York Cut, Argentinean imported steak is so tender, so good on its own, no sauces are needed - though these two are the perfect compliment.
Variedad De Hongos Salvajes Al Chorizo ($7)
An enticing mix of wild mushrooms and chorizo.
Papas Fritas Paja El Tomillo ($7)
Straw frites with rosemary are your new addiction.
Desserts are an absolute must, including:
Don Pedro ($10)
An Argentian dessert served in a glass with whisky (!), walnuts, pecans, vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche and whipped cream.
Budín De Chocolate Con Helado De Vainilla ($9)
A chocolate bread pudding made with dark chocolate, topped with vanilla ice cream. It’s not like the bread pudding you’re used to – this one’s light, like chocolate mousse. Oomph.
Vos Restaurante Argentino accommodates 56 guests for dinner and drinks seven nights a week.
At the Stove: Chef Pablo Gianelli
Head Honcho: Vicente D’Agate (also owner of La Risata)
Map it: 847 College St. (at Ossington)
Monday to Wednesday: 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Thursday to Saturday: 5:00 pm - 12:00 pm
Sunday: 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Phone it in: 647-951-0365
How Cool is This?! The modern wine room downstairs converts into a private dining space for up to 16 guests.
Check out our Facebook page for more photos.