Husband-and-wife team bring a taste of northern Italy to Forest Hill

Marsida Lazimi and her husband, Melsi, know what it takes to run a successful Italian restaurant.

For just over 20 years, their establishment, Ristorante Della Repubblica, was a known spot for crudités, seafood specialties, wood-fired pizzas and homemade desserts.

“It wasn’t just a restaurant, it was a whole world,” recalls Lazimi.

But with the cost of living in Europe reaching an all time high, in July 2022, the couple made the difficult decision to sell their restaurant and move to Toronto. In December 2022, they opened Rimini Rimini, a new restaurant whose name is an ode to their hometown in Italy, a quaint seaside town called Rimini, which is a favourite spot for local fishermen.

Ristorante Della Repubblica’s specialties included fresh seafood and pizzas. It is Lazimi’s vision to be able to replicate the same quality of seafood her and her husband once offered, which is why Rimini Rimini currently imports most of its fish from Italy and Greece with species found in the Adriatic Sea.

“Our dream one day is to have a big fish market with all different kinds of fish, including whole fish and cleaned fish that can simply be taken home to cook,” Lazimi shares. Like their old restaurant, Rimini Rimini’s menu is centred around fresh seafood and seasonal vegetables. “Melsi goes out to purchase fresh ingredients every day, because quality is very important to us,” she says. “We never sacrifice quality; we always go above and beyond, because food is the language that connects us.”

The antipasti includes delicious starters like the burrata cheese and Cantabrian’s sea anchovies crostini, or the prawns carpaccio with fennel and orange salad. There are plenty of shareables, including a platter of raw yellowfin tuna, salmon, oysters, lobster and langoustines that is priced for two or four people. Of course, a selection of fresh pasta dishes are on the menu—all made with unbleached flour and free-run eggs. While fresh fish is the star of the menu, Rimini Rimini also offers meat dishes, including an impressive 12-ounce Australian Wagyu strip loin served with roasted potatoes and grilled vegetables.

And, just like back in Italy, Lazami is in charge of making all of the desserts, so don’t forget to save room for her signature dulce de leche.

Rimini Rimini is located at 453 Eglinton Ave. W. and is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday to Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

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