Where Toronto’s Michelin-recognized chefs eat cheap: Lawrence La Pianta of Cherry Street Bar-B-Que

Although inflation has caused the cost of dining out to soar, there are many standout restaurants in the city with quality food at reasonable prices. And when it comes to restaurant recommendations, who better to trust than a chef — and a Michelin chef to boot!

Chef Lawrence La Pianta recently awarded a Bib Gourmand for Cherry Street Bar-B-Que — a drool-worthy barbecue joint serving up delicious smoked meats like Texas-style brisket and St. Louis-style ribs, recently shared his favourite affordable restaurant in Toronto where two can dine with wine for under $100. Read on to find out which spot he selected.

Chef La Pianta wants to eat at: Ascari Enoteca

Photo: imyourguyde/Instagram

“Italian food is my comfort food, and Enoteca is just super good,” he recently told us.  “The menu changes seasonally, but two of my absolute favourites right now are the carbonara and the Barese sausage  — delicious every time.”

Ascari Enoteca

The Carbonara at Esacari Enoteca

There are three things the folks at Ascari Enoteca love: food, wine and racing. Named after the famous Formula One race car driver, Alberto Ascari, the menu at this classic Italian eatery is rooted in simplicity and executed extremely well. Guests will love the intimate atmosphere at the restaurant’s Leslieville location, which accommodates 38, where the relaxed vibe invites guests to linger late into the evening. When it comes to the food, handmade pasta is the star of the show. The angnolotti di barbabietola is elegant and colourful. Another favourite is the mezzo paccheri di sepia nero, a squid ink pasta with calamari and clams. A superb wine list, featuring international stars, includes top sellers from New Zealand, Italy, Spain and France. One piece of advice: come hungry.  1111 Queen St. E.