Copetin is an attitude to chef Claudio Aprile. It’s also the name of his multi-concept restaurant replacing Origin, which encompasses an outdoor cantina, bar lounge, and fine dining room. He partnered with Henry Wu, who he previously worked with at Senses and Origin, to create the place.
Aprile’s mother named Copetin. Rough translations of the word lead to definitions of small plates and apeterifs, but its myriad meanings in South America refer from anything to community and socializing to what you say to yourself in the mirror on your way out to party.
The three disparate areas of Copetin all come with their own vibe, and their own menus.
The patio has its own kitchen area and bar with an emphasis on Botanist gin, and along with it its own menu of simple, casual, fast-paced cantina snacks like power salads and grilled sandwiches.
The bar lounge area introduces more of the feel of the space designed primarily by Aprile himself, an elegant pastiche of dark shades and circles.
A standout commissioned portrait by mysterious artist Stikki Peaches hangs on the wall.
A beet tostada ($9) from the bar snack menu tops a crispy tostada with hacienda mole, several kinds of beets, a light flurry of goat cheese, and brightening herbs. A chorizo tostada ($10) has romesco, Spanish Idiazabal cheese, and butter beans.
Beef tartare ($17) from the a la carte dinner menu is one of those dishes that’s excellent when done well, and even better with a twist. This version does it right with smoked egg yolk, beef fat vinaigrette and pickled chanterelles highlighting a nicely acidic, delicate dish topped with crispy pasta that stands in for typical crostini or chips.
Rosehip bavoir ($12) is a fantastical dome of thickened pastry cream served with blueberry snow packed with concentrated flavour and freeze dried blueberries. It's presented with dry ice poured all over the fairytale dessert.
The Pollenator ($16), one of Copetin’s many dramatic cocktails, combines two ounces of fragrant chamomile-infused Bombay with tart yuzu juice, sweet and smoky maple syrup, and peach bitters.
It’s garnished with dried flowers from a botanical tea, so every drink is unique.
Beyond the bar lounge, there’s a twelve-seat private dining area with walls plastered in album covers Aprile chose himself. A chef’s table of sorts peers at the central open kitchen and will have its own tasting menu.
The main dining area is literally quieter, with different music, low tables and more of a focus on full, multi-course meals. Despite frilly dishes and a dazzling space redesign, the attention here is on stunning food and beverage service with a definitively Canadian feel that celebrates Toronto’s multicultural food scene.