Estia is an elegant restaurant specializing in freshly caught whole fish of the day, and cranks out their own cheese, meats, and bread. Almost every item here includes some form of house made ingredient.
The establishment turned over from NAO Steakhouse, offering a breezier, softer Mediterranean approach to cuisine designed to feel like a vacation for the palate.
The interior of NAO was darker, heavier, and now the space is dominated by jewel tones of burgundy and teal and a huge wall of velvet that makes the place feel timeless.
It's named after Greek goddess Estia of the hearth, meant to connote a gathering space of warmth and feminine comfort.
A busy open kitchen is fully visible through a black framed paneled window at the back of the restaurant.
A selection of breads ($10) including red fife, roasted red pepper focaccia and sumac crackers fired in the wood-burning oven are served with smoked eggplant and feta dips and warm olives, a fresh change from plain toasted pita.
House halloumi ($16) has a pleasant texture served with warm honey that combines well with walnuts and grapes deliciously deepened and sweetened through roasting.
Tender charcoal-grilled octopus ($19) is served with house nduja, preserved lemon and a little romesco.
The classic beef tartare ($19) is turned on its head, scattered on the plate rather than compacted in a cylinder, laden with a fresh pile of cucumber, sumac, feta and olives, making this almost more like a raw beef salad served with those same sumac crackers.
Seafood linguine ($28) is a stunner, a wood-fired cherry tomato basil sauce flavouring fresh pasta barely peeking out from under a dome of clams, cold water shrimp, mussels, tiny sweet shrimp and squid.
An Elaine-Benes-worthy big salad of fennel and radicchio ($15) is one of many, a pile of flavourful fennel and sharp, creamy provolone temper radicchio, radish and crushed olives dressed with a slightly sweet thyme and honey vinaigrette.
Humanely killed whole roasted New Zealand red bream ($32/lb) is one of the daily catches served half or whole, dressed with lemon, olive oil, sea salt, and round caper leaves, with your choice of sauce. We try bitter, zesty, savoury dark green charmoula instead of pepperoncini and salsa verde or roasted tomato and eggplant vinaigrette.
Tender thyme-seasoned Yukon fries ($9) and succulent grilled broccolini ($14) with crunchy almonds and tangy romesco provide sides.
Spongy yogurt cake ($10) is full of lemony flavour and topped with yogurt.
Mojitos ($15) use seven year Greek rum Metaxa.
An art deco vibe seeps into the high-ceilinged space, a mammoth chandelier composed of a series of transparent tubes lending a warm glow.