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Posted by Staff / Reviewed on August 8, 2013 / review policy

DestingoDestingo makes me pose the question, what does a nice Czech lady know about Italian food? A lot when you're the former wife of chef Felipe Vacca from Yorkville's Vaticano. Monika Vacca's new casual eatery is located in the former Pavillion furniture store. If you ask me, I'd trade patio furniture for patio drinks any day.

DestingoThe 70-seater restaurant also features a massive patio, which just received clearance days ago. It's refreshing to know that Vacca has ditched her white linen background for something more casual, in what she says "pays respect to her Queen West surroundings."

DestingoThe impressive interior was designed herself and features exposed ceiling, concrete walls, Restoration Hardware lighting and an interesting cooper bar, inspired by a few restaurant abroad.

Detingo TorontoWe start with the Prosciutto di Buffala ($13.95). It's your standard antipasto with slabs of thinly sliced prosciutto, cherry tomatoes and a mountain of fresh buffalo mozzarella, lightly drizzled with a balsamic reduction. Standard, yet impeccable.

Destingo TorontoNext up is the Margherita pizza ($12.50). It may not be cooked in a wood-burning oven, but the recipe in itself is very traditional. You won't be disappointed by these thin and delicate pies.

After that we try a fresh and simple pappardelle dish (lead photo), tossed in a gorgeous Marsala wine and funghi sauce. It's light with a hint of sweetness. The kind of dish best enjoyed on a patio with a glass of white wine.

Destingo TorontoNext, we indulge in Vitello Destingo ($21.95). A delicate veal dish topped with scallops, sundried tomatoes and a thick and creamy rose sauce. Perhaps this dish is a bit dated, but what does it matter when one else on Queen is doing it anymore.

Destingo TorontoAs much as this is an Italian joint, there is one thing on the menu that differentiates itself: The shrimp burger, priced at a modest $11.50. This soon to be house favourite is made with huge chunks of minced shrimp, smothered with an addictive seafood aioli and rested between a fresh Brioche bun. The combination of ingredients are divine. And the house cut frites dusted with Parmigiano is the perfect little accompaniment.

Destingo TorontoNaturally there was no room for dessert, but how could we skip it? Italian food, after all, is about overindulgence. And we definitely indulged in the Creme Brulee ($7.95), which outdoes a lot of the ones I've tried at French restaurants.

Destingo TorontoBy my favourite dessert had to be the homemade pistachio gelato. If you're looking for the overly sweet, neon green version, you've come to the wrong place. It's clear Destingo doesn't take shortcuts, and that's why their pistachio gelato actually tastes like pistachio. You'll be taken aback by its intensely nutty and almost smoky flavour from the roasted nuts.

I could've chosen to wash it all down with a nice espresso, but I opted for more wine. And you'd be foolish not to since Destigno is one of a few restaurants in the city with a state-of-the-art Enomatic wine system. This means you can taste expensive wines by the glass without taking out a mortgage on the bottle. As for bottles, prices range from a modest $30 to an opulent $625. And if you're just looking for a patio drink, try the red and white wine by the keg, 6oz of Cabernet or Chardonnay for just $7.

Destingo TorontoItalian food, at least for me, is about conviviality. It's about making your guests feel at home. And make no mistake about it, the top-notch service here is warm, friendly and they take pleasure in feeding you. Call me old fashioned, but there's something nice about stuffing your face with someone who truly wants to see you stuffed. Toronto needs more places like this. Come to think of it, so does the world.

Writing by Toto Schillaci / Photos by Ike Ford



aporia / August 8, 2013 at 02:33 pm
This place looks great. Some small comments: I wish there was more comfortable patio furniture (those chairs don't look comfy to sit back in with a glass of wine). Secondly, who cares if a dish is "dated"? I want it to taste good. The rest is pretentious.
hmmmm / August 8, 2013 at 02:40 pm
"what does a nice Czech lady know about Italian food? A lot when you're the former wife of chef Felipe Vacca from Yorkville's Vaticano."

so she his last wife or did you mean he was the former chef at Vaticano? confused.......
nitpickers / August 8, 2013 at 02:52 pm
Shut up. Blah blah type-o blah blah pretension..

This review gave a brief insight into the restaurant, including highlights and key facts (large patio, new wine system, etc.).

I think a lot of you blogTO readers are looking for something else that can be found in the National Post or Globe and Mail.. This is a f*cking blog, you dolts. You get what you pay for.
Ed444 / August 8, 2013 at 02:52 pm
It's clear she is the former wife of an Italian chef. Hence, she knows Italian food. Anyways, food looks pretty damn good. Cool patio too.
horizoncarrie / August 8, 2013 at 02:59 pm
They actually have a website, not just their fb page.
Snake Eyes / August 8, 2013 at 03:05 pm
Cool review. Place looks great. Will definitely check it out.
Marko / August 8, 2013 at 03:06 pm
The food looks delicious. Great photos.
nitpickers replying to a comment from nitpickers / August 8, 2013 at 03:06 pm
I'm not sure what you are saying... Are you saying it is okay to read postings that don't make sense and appear to be written by an eighth grader?

You do realize bloggers get paid for each and every post on most blogs... At least that is how Yahoo works. Why these bloggers won't spell / grammar check is beyond me.

The editor should have caught this stuff too. Drunk in TBP no doubt... How is that pabst bro?
y / August 8, 2013 at 03:14 pm
I think of greater concern here besides all that nonsense, is to ensure that Rack n' Whack is still open above this place?

Best pool hall in town.
nitpickers replying to a comment from nitpickers / August 8, 2013 at 03:40 pm
No, you troll. I'm suggesting that, despite the few type-os that drive you people crazy, this review is PERFECTLY legible.

Get off your high horse, you picture of perfection, you.
Betty / August 8, 2013 at 04:36 pm
I'm looking forward to it. The Czechs sure do love and know how to make rich, rewarding food. Italian or otherwise. As far as the writing... really? "antipasto with slabs of thinly sliced prosciutto" "house favourite is made with huge chunks of minced shrimp"
Mike / August 8, 2013 at 04:59 pm
Well, a burger at an Italian place...and it looks better quality than 90% of burger specific joints in Toronto!

I went here on Tuesday night, but somehow I missed the burger on the menu. Going to have to go back here to try it. The risotto is great, a little lacking on the mushrooms but the taste is right up there.
disappointed / August 9, 2013 at 09:13 am
Went here last night and was extremely disappointed. Service was awful, food was mediocre at best. Will not be returning.
aisha / August 11, 2013 at 12:00 am
Ate there this afternoon and they have a cute patio that is great for people watching. Our waitress was attentive and polite. The veal with scallops in the rose sauce was tasty but seemed like something I could make at home. The small portion and barely dressed spring mix made it hard to pay the price they charged.
jennsanerd / August 12, 2013 at 11:35 am
Great review! Excited to take myself here for lunch sometime soon.
Audrey / August 21, 2013 at 11:16 pm
Today was my second visit to Destingo. I frequent Queen street west almost weekly when I fly in from New York once a week. To start with the woman who greeted me (and whom later on I found out was the owner) actually remembered me and welcomed me. She listened to me when I mentioned my preference for a table location. She stopped over twice to see how my client and I were enjoying our dinner. ....impressive~

Ambiance is special and you are made to feel special (unlike Terronies or should I say "the factory" where rude is on the menu every time and they herd you in and out like sheep...who calls that dinner??? )

Server was personable and attentive and Not on the fly every time we needed her.

Superb thin crust pizza (and I'm a pizza snob). Pasta just right and the freshest fish. Appetizers and entrees were Delicious and beautifully presented

as was the service. And I'm not Italian, but it struck me as authentic and at least had a Fresh Welcoming Personality

I don't remember good service like this unless it cost me a fortune. The Decor of the restaurant is lush and comfortable and the prices are well in line and affordable.

I could see it being a regular hangout for the Toronto locals....and me when I'm in town.
Yuanna / August 22, 2013 at 08:28 pm
Very disappointed with the service...

My boyfriend and I thought this would be a great place to sit down and have an espresso (since it's supposed to be a nice Italian restaurant). But when the server found out that we just wanted to have espressos, he treated us as if we weren't as important as the other guests. We waited for quite a while until he got to our table (served tables who came in after us). And to top it off...the espressos tasted like regular burnt coffee. Not cool, Destingo. Not cool. :/
Destingo replying to a comment from Yuanna / August 23, 2013 at 02:49 pm
Hi Yuanna,

I am so sorry about your experience with us last night. We would like you to come back and have espresso and dessert on us with your boyfriend. Please email because we would like to discuss this issue further and express our apologies again. We have let this server go as we will not tolerate this kind of service. Please remember we are a new restaurant and we are still working things out!

I am so sorry again and I hope you will email to discuss your next visit.

Destingo replying to a comment from Audrey / August 23, 2013 at 02:49 pm
Thank you for the kind words Audrey. We hope to see you again soon!

Destingo replying to a comment from jennsanerd / August 23, 2013 at 02:50 pm
Hope to see you Jen!

Destingo replying to a comment from disappointed / August 23, 2013 at 03:01 pm
Hey Dissapointed!

Email us and let us know about your negative experience. We want to know what went wrong.

LV / August 28, 2013 at 06:37 pm
Dropped by a couple of nights ago instead of the usual Terroni. The patio is a great spot for dinner on the warmer summer nights. Looks great, food was very good and we loved the gluten free pasta option as well as the option to purchase half litre of chianti. Server was very nice but slightly on the shy side. Good work, we'll be back!
Alex / September 9, 2013 at 12:26 pm
My husband and I went on Friday evening; food was mostly fine but not a standout, and we probably won't return (although the shrimp burger sounds interesting). The risotto was undercooked.
Reader replying to a comment from hmmmm / September 24, 2013 at 09:57 am
Maybe your humour escapes me...
She is the "last wife". "Former" appears immediately before "wife", not before "chef".
...What's your point?
Maria / September 26, 2013 at 06:36 pm
I went here for lunch earlier this week and was pleasantly surprised by the service and quality of food. As someone from an Italian heritage I am often hesitant about ordering pasta when I am out but was in the mood for it so thought I would give it a try. I had the spaghetti al pomodoro and have to say that it was perfectly cooked and the sauce was light and delicious. Everyone in our group ordered something different and our entire table loved their meals. The space (both indoors and out) is gorgeous and makes a great addition to the neighborhood.
Kiki / May 24, 2014 at 10:30 pm
Awful. The first warm evening in toronto ruined due to poor service and incompetence. Who runs out of chicken? Waitress asked us for our order 3 times. An evening ruined. Great location but complaints from diners sitting all around us. Do not recommend.
Adrian B / May 26, 2014 at 12:27 pm
Ate here on Saturday because the restaurant could accommodate a large group. This restaurant is all about the patio, because other than that it doesn't have much going for it. The food was so bland, and the service was mediocre. Why do places like this survive in Toronto? Because we reward mediocrity. Would be surprised if this places lasts another year.
Unsatisfied Customer / June 9, 2014 at 10:40 pm
Horrible management, no organization, horrible service. Sat on the patio this weekend waited for 20 mins before anyone noticed us,our drinks took over 15 mins, and our food was over an hr. Just ridiculous. No one seemed to know what was going on, just very unorganized. Not impressed.
Derek / June 18, 2014 at 10:00 am
How is this place still open? Do they train their staff? The bartender has no idea what she's doing, if it's not on their cocktail list of 5 drinks she has no idea how to make it, clearly unexperienced. The waiters are all over the place. This place is a zoo. Was not a pleasant experience, deffinatley will not be returning or recommending. Sure it looks nice but that's about it. Disappointed, but from all the other recent comments I guess I'm not alone with this opinion.

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