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Restaurants

Local Kitchen & Wine Bar

Posted by Staff / Reviewed on June 10, 2010 / review policy

Local Kitchen & Wine BarThe Local Kitchen & Wine Bar is the first of what I suspect to be many interesting restaurants popping up on the western edge of Parkdale. Open for about a year, this tiny dining destination which placed third on our list of the best restaurants to open in 2009 is still buzzing every night of the week, and with good reason.

Since there's extremely limited seating we arrive early. Smart idea. Minutes after taking our seats (shortly after 6:30), the entire restaurant, bar area included, is full.

Local Kitchen & Wine BarGazing at the surroundings, we notice the interior is simple, rustic and warm. Milk crates attached to the wall beside the bar hold bottles of wine. Simple wooden, candlelit tables fill the room, and at ceiling level a clothes line is strewn with Parkdale-themed t-shirts.

Our friendly server in jeans and an I heart Parkdale t-shirt walks us through the night's specials, also displayed on a nearby chalkboard.

We begin by ordering a bottle of wine from a small, carefully selected wine list that includes options from Ontario and BC, as well as wines from southern Italy, a sentiment reflected in the food as well, described as locally sourced and Southern Italian-inspired.

Local Kitchen & Wine BarThere's also a daily cocktail special as well as a selection of beers. We order the Nero D'Avola-Shiraz ($38), which is rich and full-bodied, a great accompaniment to our first course comprising both the salumi and cheese plates.

The small salumi plate ($15 - top photo) arrives on a slab of tree trunk lined with parchment, and is great value for the price, with five different kinds of cured meats and plenty to split between the three of us.

The salumi is accompanied by a small plate of perfectly pickled, absolutely delicious asparagus. From the slightly spicy soppressata to the paper thin strips of prosciutto, this plate is definitely all it's cracked up to be.

Local Kitchen & Wine BarThe cheese plate ($16) features Ontario sheep's milk cheese, Quebec goat cheese and P.E.I. aged cheddar, local honey, a drizzle of maple syrup and a small sprinkle of spiced walnuts.

Local Kitchen & Wine BarOur second course arrives in the form of two salads ($8). One selected from tonight's specials, a chicoria salad with guanciale vinaigrette ($8), is a small mound of bitter greens in a tangy vinaigrette, topped with crumbly bacon. I enjoy the salad, but I love my bitter greens. An acquired taste, this dish may be too bitter for some, and my dining companions find this to be so.

Local Kitchen & Wine BarThe second salad is a generous heap of crispy fresh asparagus topped with shavings of pecorino cheese, drizzled with a lemon basil vinaigrette, extremely simple, yet so tasty that one of my friends barely refrains from licking the plate.

Next comes the homemade pasta, the unanimous highlight of the meal. The gnocchi ($10) is smoked potato dumplings in a sauce of telleggio cheese and small strips of rapini. Light, fluffy, and melt-in-your-mouth, the smoky flavour is a perfect pair with the cheese and the slightly bitter rapini, though a little extra seasoning would make this dish even better.

Local Kitchen & Wine BarThe all around favourite, however, is the spinach tagliatelle with spring lamb ragu ($10). Homemade spinach noodles, cooked perfectly and sauced with a rich, deeply flavourful lamb ragu is pasta like you rarely find it.

The striploin ($16) pales in comparison to the pasta dishes. Our server informs us the steak will be prepared medium rare to rare, but it arrives closer to medium. The meat is a little dry and lacks flavour, but luckily saved by the accompanying tangy pickled onion.

Local Kitchen & Wine BarEven though the restaurant is busy, there's just the right amount of time in between each course, and nothing seems rushed or delayed. We finish our meal with two featured desserts ($6), a tart lemon cheesecake topped with rhubarb preserve, and a tasty deconstructed cannoli filled with lemony ricotta cheese.

Local Kitchen & Wine BarParkdale is full of great places to eat during the daytime, but at night it's a different story. Aside from the recently opened OM and a few stand-bys, a good evening meal can be hard to come by in these parts, but the Local Kitchen & Wine Bar suggests that this strip of bars and antique stores has a transformation coming its way.

Writing by Meaghan Binstock. Photos by Taralyn Marshall.

Discussion

19 Comments

Neene / May 1, 2010 at 12:27 pm
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OMG... we are your new biggest fans. We LOVE eating at your restaurant and have done so a handful of times already this year... eh, so it's small and a bit tight on a weekend, but who cares?! Your food is delicious, nutritious and the Friday nigh vibe is hard to beat. One request though... PLEASE bring back the chocolate cakes from Yummy Stuff. I actually think about those at random times during the day and look forward to eating them after dinner at your restaurant... noticed they're not on your menu the last time I visited (2 weeks ago) :( Otherwise, keep up the GREAT work... I heart Parkdale!
Walla / June 10, 2010 at 10:20 am
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Do they serve PBR here?
Mike / June 10, 2010 at 10:22 am
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i booked the chef's table recently and it was incredible. every plate (all 7 i believe!) were stellar, and their salumi plate is unreal!!
N / June 10, 2010 at 01:19 pm
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When I first noticed this place, it looked interesting and I wanted to try it, but then I read this: http://www.torontolife.com/daily/daily-dish/restauranto/2010/01/26/no-reservations-policies-drive-people-outdoors-crazy/

The owner just sounds incredibly contemptuous towards customers. No one likes to wait an indefinite time in line.

The funny thing is, I live in that neighbourhood and I've NEVER seen a line-up outside this restaurant.
The Shakes / June 10, 2010 at 03:24 pm
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I live close by and really enjoyed my experience here. food was awesome, atmosphere was great, and service was knowledgable and friendly. The restaurant is very small, so i can see why they don't take reservations. Allowing reservations would tie up perfectly good tables long before a party actually arrives. And what happens when the party is a no-show. If they allowed reservations they would be pretty much kissing any walk-in business good bye, cause as much as standing in line sucks, standing in line and seeing an empty table with a reserved sign on it sucks even more.
KL / June 10, 2010 at 04:48 pm
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Are the prices correct? If so, that's way below market. I'm going to check it out.
Jenn / June 16, 2010 at 02:51 pm
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I have been here twice...disappointing really. Cool atmosphere but the food is just not good.
JoeParez / September 13, 2010 at 01:53 pm
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I just ate here this past weekend with my girlfiend, and I was impressed. I like the modern approach that's been taken on "classic Italian" -- great food, great atmosphere, great service. Very charming. You can take your girlfriend for a romantic evening, or hang out with friends and share wine and salumi. Would recommend! A+++
Tony / January 23, 2011 at 08:23 am
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My advice would be, if Mike tells you a table is not available, don't go to Salumi to wait for one. Chances are the wait will be much longer than he tells you.
Orbit / January 24, 2011 at 12:30 am
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Had an odd experience with one of the owners, Mike. We arrived at 7:00 and were told the wait would be 1.5 hours, which we expected. We went to Salumi for drinks. After 50 minutes the waitress asked if we wanted more drinks. We decided on wine, but didn't know if we should order it. We wouldn't be able to bring the bottle to The Local if our table became ready. Our waitress suggested that she ask Mike how much longer it'd be. He came back with her saying it would be another 1.5 hours. We politely told him that's what he said 50 minutes ago. He became defensive and said he had told us 2 hrs and that we had been waiting only 30 min. We calmly said he was mistaken. He said he knew what he told us and walked away. The waitress was embarrassed and apologized.

Mike could have said that he misjudged the wait time and would seat us as quickly as possible. If he had, we would have ordered the bottle, enjoyed the salumi and waited however long it took. Instead we left and had a great meal at Cowbell.

Mike is definitely the weak link at The Local.
Daniel / August 4, 2011 at 11:16 am
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I agree with the above. "Odd" is definitely the word to describe Mike. We had a very similar experience, however, we maintained an open mind. By the end of our meal we left gratuity that we felt was reflective of the service we had received from beginning to end.

Mike proceeded to tell us that we had "no class" and asked us not to return. Although the food was fantastic, this was the strangest experience I have ever had at a restaurant.

To conclude, Mike is extremely arrogant - you will have the best experience here if he can be avoided.
joe-e replying to a comment from Daniel / August 4, 2011 at 02:06 pm
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I might just check the place out for the food, but leave this little mikey an underwater tip.lol
Rob / January 15, 2012 at 09:38 am
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Food: Charcuterie was good, pasta dishes were ok but not phenomenal - had the gnocchi special which was mushy and over-salted.

Service was rude: our waiter complained to us that our 15% tip was too small and that they expect 18% on the *post-tax* amount. He proved to us that he deserved 0%. Although we didn't catch his name, based on the above comments I must assume we were dealing with "Mike".
Maureen replying to a comment from Rob / January 16, 2012 at 12:54 pm
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Rob, my uncle encountered the same kind of idiocy from a rude waiter a few years ago. He simply tore the 'insufficient tip' from the waiters grubby hand and gave it to a very grateful busboy. Even the manager got a chuckle out if it. I think the waiter is now the bus boy. LOL.
Mike / September 3, 2012 at 10:08 pm
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Food? Not bad... Ownership, however, is so cocky/impersonal you would think they were the only place in town serving Italian food! Call up sociale or maialino instead any day....
Tony replying to a comment from Mike / September 4, 2012 at 09:43 am
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I had such a poor experience thanks to the owner Mike, that I will be telling as many ppl as I can to not step near this hole-in-the-wall.
Flo / October 10, 2012 at 09:00 pm
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Are you kidding me!! Never seen that before how dare they served 5 raviolis for 17$? oh ok pastas are homemade! that's why! i'm sorry i don't get this!! scandalous... At least the waitress was kind... which is the least she can do
Nick / November 27, 2012 at 11:27 am
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Went here last Saturday in hopes to have a delicious meal of freshly made dishes. I was thoroughly disappointed with the quality of food that I got for the price I paid. I had the freshly made mozzarella, which did not come with bread - had to pay extra for house bread. The mozzarella tasted and resembled the consistency of an eraser , in fact in some ways wish it was an eraser, so I can erase that taste and texture from my MIND!
Only good thing was the bread, nicely seasoned and perfectly crispy - well done on the bread but it ends there.
We ordered the specials of the night Frog's Legs and Crispy Pig Snout - sounded interesting and we wanted to try something new and it being a special should be prepared fresh.
Frog's legged was horribly seasoned, there was so much black pepper on it that my tongue felt numb even 3 hours after leaving the place, it ruined the dish and could not taste even the cold side dish that accompanied it (perhaps it was for the best).
Crispy Pig's Snout - Liked the sweet maple glaze and the crispy texture, however, the beans that came with it tasted like flavourless paste that was also ice cold. It was an odd pairing to have piping hot Pig's snout with ice cold beans.
In retrospect, perhaps we should have raised it with the waitress with our dissatisfaction given the items were a bit pricey however, we thought in the end it would be a lost cause as each dish was consistently a FAIL.

By the way I reviewed this place on yelp gave it 1 star and it was filtered, I think it is very deceiving to filter bad reviews. People should have the choice to read every review and decide for themselves.
christopher hayes / June 28, 2013 at 07:50 pm
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I was suprised to see them mentioned. Last time I was there they would not accomedate my girlfriends allergies. They refused to make any replacements. Have not gone back since. Live in the area and them seem to be a lot less busy.

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