Via Allegro: NEW Tasting Menu and Prettiest Garden Patio

Via Allegro Ristorante in Etobicoke may seem far for those living in Toronto’s core but it’s a not-so-secret go-to for many seeking exceptional Italian fine dining for many years. Iconic is what comes to mind at this landmark restaurant located just across the street from Sherway Gardens Mall. Don’t let its location fool you. Once you step through the doors it’s a whole other world.

Via Allegro: NEW Tasting Menu and Prettiest Garden Patio

A tastefully appointed formal dining room greets the eye once you pass the wall of flowers. These walls also hold the iconic restaurant’s collection of bottles from wine to whisky, gin and other spirits.  Via Allegro is actually known to have one of the largest curated wine collection in the city, maybe even the country, with over 70,000 bottles lovingly stored and valued at over $10 million. Their in-house lead sommelier Wendy Votto is the keeper of what she calls “the encyclopedia” of wine. She has been building this collection for over 26 years and has a passion for wine that is incomparable. Not tied to any specific region or wine country she is a wealth of information. Not only will she recommend a wine, she will explain why.  And if you have a chance to chat with her you’ll want to tap into her knowledge. As one of Canada’s most respected sommeliers, she’s could very much be considered a national treasure.

Via Allegro: NEW Tasting Menu and Prettiest Garden Patio

The formal dining room isn’t the only space. A walk through the main area and peel back the velvet curtains to reveal a stunning back garden patio.  Here, the sun-filled covered space is one of the prettiest around. With cascading cherry blossom trees throughout, it’s the perfect setting for special occasions and dinner dates with friends and loved ones.

Executive Chef Marco Zandona has been at the helm of Via Allegro wowing visitors for over 20 years. Known for bringing a modern take on Italian cuisine with bold flavours has solidified a loyal following for those in the know. Chatting with friends and they will tell you it’s a treasured restaurant. Now, with Culinary Director, MasterChef Canada Judge, Claudio Aprile, the restaurant continues to attract both loyal and probably piquing interest with new diners from near and far.  Yes, it’s worth the drive to Etobicoke!

Left to right: Chef Marco, Chef Claudio, and Sous Chef Sean. Photo by Carla Silva.

While Chef Zandona’s dishes, including the Golden Spoon Duck Risotto, are legendary it was the new Tasting Menu that had us get the car and drive across the city during Toronto’s rush hour to Via Allegro. Although it was my first time to the restaurant, it definitely wasn’t for my dinner date which has been raving for years. He was just as curious to see what was on this menu.

I fondly remember dining at Senses and then at Chef Aprile’s restaurant Colbourne Lane in Toronto. He was my first, and probably the city’s first foray into the world of  “gastronomy”. Dining became more than a meal. It became an experience in food, culture and art that fed one’s soul. Chef Aprile became one of the most innovative chefs on a global scale.

We followed Chef Aprile’s culinary journey in awe of his meticulous attention to detail. He has no hesitation in how he plays with flavours to this day. Now, along with Chef Zandona and the team at Via Allegro, we were excited to see what was on the menu!

Via Allegro: NEW Tasting Menu and Prettiest Garden Patio

The recently launched 5-course tasting menu is a showcase of “Aprile-style” dishes. Exciting ingredients and vibrant flavour were inspirations from Japanese, Mediterranean, and Eastern European cuisines.

Chef Zandona tells us the menu will also be tweaked based on what is also available seasonally. Currently, he’s incorporating locally sourced asparagus as well as morels —  what he describes as “ingredients that evoke emotions and memories.”  It’s very much about that connection we have with food.

If you asked me what were the highlights…honestly, everyone seems to ask and I would tell them ALL OF IT. The Tasting Menu is a real showcase of techniques and harmonious blend of flavours. I won’t give it all away but the Citrus cured Hamachi Crudo with seabuckthorn sweet potato, and polenta crisp is just one shining example of that “Aprile magic”. The Ravioli al’uovo with wild leek and hazelnuts is a dish that will make your heart swell with love. Paired with Wendy’s wine recommendations brought the experience full circle with some surprising discoveries that had us taking notes.

By the way, Wendy is Joey Votto’s mom. Search him up if you don’t know who he is. Just a little fun fact!

Via Allegro: NEW Tasting Menu and Prettiest Garden Patio
Sommelier Wendy

Via Allegro Ristorante’s new Tasting Menu is available Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday by reservation only HERE.  Full dining menu also available.

Price: $190 per person and an additional $95 wine pairing per person

Address: 1750 The Queensway in Etobicoke

About Sonya Davidson 936 Articles
Covering events, openings and all the deliciousness in Toronto.