Toronto, ON M6J 1X7
Little Portugal stalwart Enoteca Sociale has been a west-end go-to for housemade pastas, quality wines, and cosy vibes for a decade. Rather than resting on its laurels, however, the much-loved Italian restaurant underwent a revamp to celebrate its 10th year in business.
Fortunately for existing fans of the long-running restaurant, it’s not a massive overhaul. The interior has been gussied up with a few tweaks, but the ambiance is as charming as ever.
A Chef’s Bar serves as the setting for tasting menus overlooking the now open kitchen.
Led by Chef di Cucina Kyle Rindinella, Enoteca Sociale’s menu has an emphasis on traditional Roman dishes made with seasonal, southern Ontario-sourced ingredients.
The restaurant offers an a la carte menu that focuses on local, fresh ingredients inspired by traditional Roman cuisine.
The restaurant makes its bread and butter in-house. Orders come with a mix of red-fife sourdough and focaccia for dipping in olive oil or smearing with lardo.
The open kitchen gives diners a view of mortadella, which is also made on-site, being thinly sliced for serving.
The crispy arancini balls are stuffed with mozzarella di bufula and ‘nduja, which are cured at the restaurant.
Enoteca Sociale devotees will be happy to see a few familiar dishes on the menu, including the Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe with Pecorino Romano cheese and black pepper.
Mains include the tender roasted half-chicken, sea asparagus, wild fennel, wild onion, lemon sugo and apple-cherry mostarda.
Enoteca Sociale expanded its collection of wines with a revamp to commemorate the tenth anniversary. Bottles are hand-selected by Rindinella, with a focus on Italian varietals that are not typically available in Toronto.
There are a handful of Ontario bottles, but the majority of the impressive selection is Italian.
Although wine is the core of the drinks program, the restaurant also has a large selection of Amari and aperitifs, some of which are featured on a short list of cocktails. There’s a smattering of beers from brewers like Paris Beer Company and Henderson (plus the requisite Peroni).
Enoteca Sociale’s cozy, rustic interior evokes an intimate Roman trattoria. An exposed brick wall runs behind the length of the bar, complementing a reoccurring motif of fluted walnut panelling.
Dimly-lit vintage lights and Persian rugs add an inviting, homey element. A long banquette curves along the bar wall, and a four-seat Chef’s Bar fronts a small open kitchen.
The only area of Enoteca Sociale that remains unchanged is the private dining room on the lower level. The dining table is flanked by the restaurant’s huge selection of wines and offers a view of the curing room where meats are prepared.