I Tried Toronto's New Glitzy Restaurant & Ristorante Sociale Felt Like A Great Gatsby Party (PHOTOS)
It's a new spinoff to a classic Toronto restaurant 🍝.
This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
Eating at Toronto’s new Ristorante Sociale on King Street West is like taking a trip back in time, complete with immersive theatre performers who will make you feel like you're dining at the fanciest dinner party in 1923 Toronto.
The glitzy restaurant is tucked away from the business of Toronto's Entertainment District and lies in an alleyway that feels like a secret passageway. But, once escorted to the entrance and the doors open, it feels like a totally different world, filled with music, dim lights, aromatic foods and drinks. I instantly felt like I was transported to a Great Gatsby party.
The team behind the bib Michelin gourmand restaurant, Enoteca Sociale, brought their flavours to the busy Toronto district but have put a twist on their classic environment.
You can enjoy dinner and a party at Ristorante Sociale in Toronto! 🎉🍝Created by the team behind Michelin-award recipient, Enoteca Sociale, this King West restaurant not only features an Italian-inspired menu for food and drinks, but also offers an immersive party-like experience on Fridays and Saturdays complete with dancers and a DJ. #toronto #torontofoodies #ontario #kingwesttoronto #canada #narcity
The restaurant was conceptualized by Deni Di Tullio, Chef Kyle Rindinella, Chef Rocco Agostino and restaurateur Max Rimaldi of Michelin-awarded Enoteca Sociale.
"Our goal was to create an all-night affair, where guests can come for exceptional food and drink and stick around for an exciting party reflective of the celebratory approach and traditions in Italy," Di Tullio said in a press release.
I checked out Toronto's newest King Street West restaurant, Ristorante Sociale to give you the inside scoop about the glitzy spot.
Here's what to expect.
Ristorante Sociale sign.Mira Nabulsi | Narcity
Ristorante Sociale is located at 545 King Street West in Toronto, which, if you're using Google Maps, could make finding it a bit difficult because it's tucked away at the back of an alleyway between Mademoiselle and Porchetta & Co.
Walking up to the restaurant, I didn't think much of it. I expected a rustic restaurant with some Italian vibes, but I was amazed the second I walked through the doors.
The bar at Ristorante Sociale.Mira Nabulsi | Narcity
Once you walk down a couple of stairs, you are greeted by the hosts and taken to your tables. The restaurant has a very intimate setting with only a few tables to choose from, which did add charm to the spot.
The first thing you'd notice when walking in is the brightly lit bar, the DJ standing by it, tables and green-colour booths filled with people.
The dining room at Ristorante Sociale.Mira Nabulsi | Narcity
The restaurant is open on Wednesdays through Saturdays and offers dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., with bar service through to 2:00 a.m. from Thursday through Saturday. Guests can book their table using OpenTable.
Dancer at Ristorante Sociale.Mira Nabulsi | Narcity
However, you can expect more than just dinner on Friday and Saturday nights. From 8:30 p.m. onwards, guests can eat and be immersed in a show, including entertainers that go from dancing lanterns to flight attendants and chefs who will take you through a journey that will surely prepare you for your night out.
In other words, it's a party before you go to the bigger party. Towards the end of the night, I was singing ABBA at the top of my lungs and waving my napkin in the air, but the best part is I wasn't doing it alone — the whole restaurant was in on it too.
It seriously felt like I was transported back in time to a different era and living my best life at a secret and glamorous Toronto spot.
Similar to Enoteca Sociale, this spot offers a wide range of flavourful Italian cuisine.
"When creating the menu at Ristorante Sociale, the intention was to have it be a companion to Enoteca Sociale, building on the quality and approach that guests have come to expect from us over the last 10 years," said Rindinella in a press release.
"We've developed an array of new dishes as well as twists on Enoteca Sociale staples like our Beef Crudo and will also be offering a couple of beloved signature items across both restaurants, such as our Cacio e Pepe and Branzino," they added.
Appetizers at Ristorante Sociale.Mira Nabulsi | Narcity
I tried many things when I visited the restaurant during the soft opening, and the options were limitless.
Some of my favourite and most notable items included the Rosemary Foccacia bread, $14, which was made fresh and brought out warm. It came with a side of Green Gold Olive Oil that you can drizzle on top of the bread to give it more flavour.
I enjoyed the fresh bread with the burrata, $14, which was a perfect way to start a meal — very light and refreshing.
Another special menu item that I tried on their appetizer menu, which I believe is a must-try, is their Albacore Tuna, $24. Let me tell you, I didn't know tuna could taste so summery. The tuna was marinating in chillies, citrus and shallots on the plate, and these offered bursts of flavours I didn't know I needed.
Also, Ristorante Sociale's Ricotta Castrone, $9, with truffled honey and pistachio is a menu item I didn't think I'd enjoy but am now thinking about — mainly because I don't like truffles but didn't mind it in the dish.
Cacio e Pepe at Ristorante Sociale.Mira Nabulsi | Narcity
Now for the mains, I had the Cacio e Pepe, a famous Italian dish served as pasta with black pepper & Pecorino Romano.
My favourite item from the menu was the Branzino, and I do not suggest skipping out on this one. The dish, $45, is perfect for sharing because it can be quite filling, especially after so many appetizers. The dish is 150-gram whole sea bass served with chickpeas, saffron and salmoriglio.
Branzino at Ristorante Sociale.Mira Nabulsi | Narcity
It was so yummy and definitely something I will be ordering again. The marinade was flavourful and accompanied the fish quite well.
I also ate the Filleto al Barolo, $45, Green Salad, $16, and the Antipasti.
Dessert at Ristorante Sociale.Mira Nabulsi | Narcity
Now, moving over to dessert, I devoured the cheesecake because it was pretty unusual. The cream was ricotta with amaretti and lemon curd. The citrusy feel of the cheesecake was precisely what I needed to cleanse my palate and feel rejuvenated after a filling meal.
Cocktails at Ristorante Sociale.Mira Nabulsi | Narcity
The drinks at Ristorante Sociale are pretty diverse and offer combinations and mixes that cater to a wide range of people.
They took some classic drinks and put their own twists on them. For example, the Milano is a sour cherry gin-based Aperol drink with orange. Another is the RS Espresso Martini, which according to the restaurant, is one of their best sellers. It has espresso, chocolate liqueur, Tia Maria, Kahlua and Baileys.
Drinks at Ristorante Sociale.Mira Nabulsi | Narcity
Other popular cocktails on Ristorante Sociale's menu include the Cagliari, which has tequila, St. Germain, Cointreau, Thai pepper and Aranciata Rossa.
Mira eating at Ristorante Sociale.
Address: 545 King Street West, Toronto
Why You Need To Go: To indulge in Italian food while also feeling like you've been transported to 1923 Toronto and attending the most exclusive dinner party hosted by The Great Gatsby.