A new Little Italy restaurant promises to bring rustic homestyle Italian food to Toronto.
Il Padrino, set to open in March of this year, is the first restaurant from Concetta Amaral, a Bari-born chef who attended culinary school in Milan.
After her mother passed away, Amaral decided it was time to put her mother’s culinary mentorship to good use.
“I grew up watching my mom cook and her dream was to open her own restaurant,” says Amaral. “With this restaurant, I’m going to make all of her dreams come true.”
Found at 579 College St., the goal of the family-oriented restaurant is to bring back what’s been lost — the authentic, rustic, homestyle Italian food that Amaral feels is missing from the landscape. The restaurant will serve unique dishes from the southern Italian city of Bari.
Standout plates include the cavatelli con rapini in a garlic enriched olive oil and lasagna al forno made with minced veal in a béchamel rosé sauce. Alongside pasta, the restaurant will offer a variety of pizza options, including the Il Padrino, which features the restaurant’s signature tomato sauce, parmigiana eggplant and mozzarella, and the Barese, with green olives and rapini. Bianco (white) pizza options are also available, including the Il Padrino Cesare topped with grilled chicken, pancetta, brioche croutons and creamy garlic parmigiana.
There are also salads and shareable appetizers, including spring rolls Italiani, nachos del Padrino, salumi and calamari e gamberi fritti. Traditional Italian meat dishes include the classics like pollo alla parmigiana, served with oven roasted potatoes and mixed peppers, and parmigiana alla melanzane (eggplant).
The name of the restaurant means “the godfather” in Italian, which to Amaral is the meaning of family — being together and being united.
“We want to be the godfather of Italian food,” she says.
Il Padrino’s interior will be decked out in gold and black decor and feature 10-foot ceilings (also gold) and a garage door front opening. Large tables set the scene for an evening of eating and drinking extremely well. The restaurant seats approximately 40 diners, with outdoor seating planned for an additional 30.