Located in Toronto’s North York, Paese Ristorante opened over 25 years ago in 1989 offering handcrafted and housemade Italian-inspired menu and wine cellars with over 800 labels from all major wine-producing regions.
Growing up with a passion for food and its preparation, owner and operator Tony Loschiavo was 3 years old when he moved to Canada from Southern Italy in 1965.
I visited Paese Ristorante for a Sunday dinner. The interior was very intimate with dimly lit lights and cozy atmosphere. Definitely a good spot for a date night!
Food at Paese Ristorante
The scallops were thick, juicy and fresh. It tasted refreshingly healthy with the accompaniment of the fennel and tarragon slaw.
However, I wish they roasted it a little more as I prefer the roast to be 1/3 into the scallop. The roasting here was mostly on the top and bottom only so the inside didn’t have much of the roast flavour.
Everything on top of the pizza was really good and the truffle oil taste was quite strong.
I personally wished the dough was different. I felt it tasted like bread more than pizza dough.
Along with the pizza, they brought out their homemade hot sauces: (from left to right) hot pepper flakes, jalapeño + mint, and pepperoncini oil.
I love the pepperoncini oil the most. All the herbs they use to make the hot sauces are fresh from Tony Loschiavo’s small farm.
FUNGHI PIZZA ($16) – Roasted mushrooms, thyme, fontina and truffle oil
The steak came out medium as opposed to medium-rare which I ordered. However, it was still very good.
The beef tenderloin was tender and juicy all throughout so I was still happy with it. I think seared foie gras would’ve been better on top instead of foie gras torchon.
Travelling Foodie Tip: Have the foie gras melt into the steak so it brings out a whole new flavour when eating the steak.
My favourite dish at Paese Ristorante that night was the Sea Bream.
Though the skin looks a tad overgrilled, it was actually perfectly grilled – with crispy and flavourful skin. The meat was perfect and was enhanced by the grilling flavour.
I read from another review that the server does the de-boning tableside, but unfortunately this wasn’t the case for ours.
Desserts at Paese Ristorante
One thing I was surprised to learn is there was no tiramisu in the dessert menu. It’s usually my go-to Italian dessert that I want to compare across restaurants.
Cioccolato and Colonial
I was glad the cake was moist and not too sweet. They gave generous portions of melted nutella as well, which I love.
One thing I really loved about this dessert was the hazelnut brittle. I can have just that and be happy already.
To fully appreciate this, I suggest trying each ingredient separately.
Try a bit of Parmigiano on its own, the honey, then the almond… Then have them all in the focaccia crisp to enjoy.
The new flavour profile when mixing all 3 is very delicious.
Service at Paese Ristorante
One thing to note on my experience at Paese was the service. When the mains arrived, my glass of water, the bottle of still water, and our cocktails glasses were all empty.
However, none of the servers who checked back asked if we wanted more water, get refills on drinks or get another drink. I had to be the one to ask for the drink menu.
When the drink menu came, no server came to check back nor inquire about the drinks – not even the server I asked the drink menu from.
Thirty minutes later, when a server came for dessert order, I had to ask for water as she cleared the drink menu away without asking if I wanted to order drinks.
The servers coming to our table kept changing, although there was one recurring server throughout, so it was hard to pinpoint who this service issue should be addressed to.
For instance, I asked the drink menu from the server who served the mains, who wasn’t the same person who took our initial orders, delivered our drinks, nor took our orders for desserts.
Overall Thoughts of Paese Ristorante
Overall, my dinner at Paese Ristorante in Toronto was very delightful food-wise, which is what matters most to me, though the service did bring down the experience a notch.
There are things I’d like to try when I come back here again. I didn’t get a chance to try any of the pasta so would like to try either the Mushroom and Spinach Garganelli (because I’m a sucker for truffle oil) or the Grilled Shrimp Linguini.
I also wanted to try the Grilled Lamb Striploin, which was my initial choice, but the Beef Tenderloin Medallion won me because of the foie gras and the fact that it was a daily special.
Hope this restaurant review of Paese Ristorante helps you decide where to eat in Toronto!
I’m always down for Italian food so please let me know what you find are the best Italian restaurants in Toronto.
Website / Address: 3827 Bathurst St, Toronto, ON M3H 3N1
Disclaimer: Although the food was complimentary, the opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of the company’s.