The chefs at Euro Panini stack a choice of chicken, sausage, meatballs, or veal atop breads to form Italian-inspired panini sandwiches, which are flanked with heaping helpings of fries. Patrons can customize their meat-and-bread sculptures by whittling them into busts of da Vinci or adding their choice of toppings such as hot and sweet peppers, onions, and mushrooms. The restaurant's staff keeps the doors open late on Friday nights, creating a beckoning lighthouse for hungry pub-crawlers or off-duty werewolves.
Since its humble beginnings in Edmonton, Alberta in 1964, Boston Pizza has grown into Canada-wide franchise that serves more than 20 gourmet pizzas. The menu boasts more than 100 items, ranging from crispy chicken wings dressed in spicy to sweet sauces and rubs to succulent burgers and sandwiches. Big-screen TVs broadcast hockey or prime ministers' wrestling matches as guests dig into hearty pastas or dive into desserts such as the Chocolate Doughcano.
Though Spigolo Ristorante specializes in housemade entrees—an authentic approach known as casareccia—its daily specials suggest that "home" might be a thriving woodland. The chef prepares wild game such as boar, bison, and pheasant to supplement the menu’s meat and pasta mainstays. Tender bites of braised rabbit or fresh cod might balance out helpings of housemade gnocchi, which mingles with mushrooms in a cream sauce. Other dishes exhibit a calculated mix of sweet and savoury flavours—seared italian sausage arrives dressed in a wine-and-olive-oil drizzle, and an appetizer of prosciutto derives a honeyed touch from poached pears. Every meal begins with a focaccia pizza for the table to share or use for discus practice amid the burnt-orange walls and rustic stonework of the dining room.
By combining the rustic simplicity of Italian cooking with the unmistakable flavours of Canadian ingredients, PAESE serves as a bridge between the Old and New World. The restaurant currently boasts two locations in the Toronto area, and they both honour Canadian heritage and Italian tradition by cooking with ingredients harvested from an urban garden. Created by owner Tony Loschiavo and executive chef Christopher Palik, this quarter-acre plot produces everything from tomatoes and chili peppers for the chefs to mint and lavender for the bartenders and any visiting potpourri artists.
These ingredients lend a distinctive twist to traditional Italian recipes without straying too far from those roots. In addition to meatballs made from house-ground beef short rib, sirloin, and brisket, the menu features pizzas with inventive topping combinations?buffalo mozzarella, sprouts, and squash for example?and a variety of pasta dishes, such as orecchiette with wild boar sausage and foraged mushrooms. Both restaurants stock cellars with hundreds of wines from across the world, earning a Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence for the King Street location as well as the Bathurst Street location.
Although Amaro Pizza's menu boasts an extensive array of traditional finger foods, a selection of familiar and gourmet-inspired pizzas continues to dominate its pages. The cooks can toss together one of their classica pies, such as the margherita classica or the potato alla cream with rosemary and parmesan, or diners can design their own using the 64 available toppings—including smoked salmon, prosciutto, and grilled eggplant—and 19 different polyhedrons of house-made dough. To accompany meals, the kitchen also fries up spicy and savoury orders of wings and layers garlic focaccia bread with extra-virgin olive oil and fresh herbs.
Independently owned and operated, HomeBake takes the concept of take-and-bake pizza to the next level, featuring organic and natural ingredients. Choose from more than 40 toppings, such as fresh oregano or jalapeño sausage, to create a regular ($13.95) or large ($15.95) pizza on organic, unbleached white crust, or upgrade to a multigrain, yeast-free, or gluten-free crust. Eleven specialty HomeBake favourite pizzas—all of which start with a base of shredded mozzarella and either organic tomato sauce, organic-roasted garlic glaze, or pesto sauce—salads, and cookie pies are also available on the menu. Check HomeBake’s website for baking instructions and tips after your grand-slam gastrolith arrives safely at home base.