When it comes to food and a fun night out, you would be hard pressed to find a better city than Montreal to cater to your gastronomical and going out needs. When in Montreal, Buonanotte can always be counted on for a delicious meal, well crafted cocktails and a wonderful night out. So when I heard that Buonanotte had open its doors in Toronto, I knew I had to join Addicted editor Nadia in this Montreal style indulgence, without the six hour drive.
Modeled after its Quebecois predecessor, Buonanotte Toronto is a chic supper club with all the character, class and quality of the original, with a distinctly Toronto feel. The supperclub has been more club than supper in its early days, with Friday and Saturday nights being its busiest times. Wanting to give the supper aspect our undivided attention, we came out on a Tuesday night and were delighted to find a relaxing yet luxurious environment, attentive and thoughtful service and of course exquisite food. And after meeting chef Davide Iannaci, it was clear that he was the source and inspiration of the restaurant’s warm, charming and inviting nature.
“We don’t eat for living but we live for eating”, chef Davide is fond of saying. Hailing from Gorgonzola, Italy (near Milan), this kind and exuberant character inherited his passion for cooking from his mother and grandmother back home. Pulling from the culinary traditions of Sicily in the south, Trieste in the east and Liguria in the west, andfrom all across his food loving country, chef Davide curated a beautiful and varied menu at Buonanotte in Montreal for four years, and and since 2013 he has brought his expertise to Toronto to give us yet another taste of Italy.
Our meal started in our favorite manner, with cocktails! Upon our lovely server’s recommendation I had a Blind Pilot, a delicious whiskey based (my favorite!) classic cocktail and Nadia tried out the Aperol Spritz, made with aperol and Prosecco, which was a lovely and refreshing way to start the night. From that point on in the Italian way we shared every dish, family style, which was perfect as we couldn’t resist tasting everything we were offered.
For appetizers we were brought an incredible selection of dishes, each more delightful than the last. First up was the insalata di ceci, a refreshing combination of albacore tuna confit with cherry tomatoes and a creamy saffron mayo. The Polipo Grigliato was Nadia’s favorite, combining tender grilled octopus in a black olive pesto that was just salty enough and so very savoury. The Carpaccio di Barbabietole, made with delicious white and dark beets was fresh and delicious, the sour cheese a sharp contrast to the sweet crunchy candied walnuts. Since we can never resist prosciutto either, we had to try the prosciutto d’oca affumicato, a different take on the traditional version using smoked duck that was incredibly tasty.
Once chef Davide heard that Nadia loved risotto he insisted we sample some, also letting us know that it was one of his favorite things to make. That love translated into the dish: creamy and delicately flavored with delicious tender mushrooms. The gnocchi di spinaci, our other pasta dish was equally creamy and so divine. The combination of gorgonzola and parmesan cheese had just the perfect amount of sharpness, the black truffle adding more richness to the overall flavor of the dish.
We would have been remiss to eat at Buonanotte and not try its name sake pizza. It was the right decision. With Bufala Mozzarella, Porcini Mushrooms and Crispy 24 Month Aged Prosciutto Di Parma, it was the perfect combination of creamy, crunchy and salty. And if that wasn’t good enough, the drizzling of truffle oil added a wonderful decadence to this hearty pizza.
Despite the fact that we were already bursting out of our clothing, we let chef Davide convince us to try a sampling of some of Buonanotte’s desserts, and are we ever glad we did. The traditional Olive oil cakes were so wonderfully homey; the ultimate Italian comfort dessert. No Italian meal would be complete without Sicilian cannolis, and these were done to perfection. And finally bomboloni, delectable little donuts filled with caramel sauce were completely orgasmic – we could eat those for our entire lives.
We found the supper experience at Buonanotte to be superb, well worth venturing out to Mercer street on a weekday for dinner, rather than just waiting for a traditional party night. This is the kind of meal worth focusing on.