Noce has been a classy and reliable spot for Italian in Toronto for many years. The place still serves Italian bar snacks like olives and crostini along with pastas and pizzas, but now they’re doing it all without gas, cooks jostling in two tiny open kitchens.
Upgrades like splashes of copper and an additional entire back bar were part of a revamp that took place in 2017 along with making former employee Eron Novalski a partner with owners Elena Morelli and Guido Saldini.
The whole interior of the space was redone, the floor the main original element, with leadership from Emily Cade design. Mostly accents that have changed, more of an update to the place’s feel rather than its look.
Pizzas should now be available until 2 a.m., and there are even gluten-free options.
Complimentary bread is standard, crunchy rectangles of very oily and herby focaccia which is made in huge batches in the wood fire oven along with sticks of deep fried pizza dough flavoured by oil, herbs and parmesan.
Eggplant crostini ($9) starts with house baguette, piled with soft eggplant, crumbly ricotta salata, and romesco, tied together with sweet and fragrant thyme honey.
Wood-fired calamari ($18) is stuffed with spicy house-made sausage over a nutty chickpea puree (basically a hummus). It’s finished off with a bitter and aromatic medley of dehydrated olives, crispy capers, garlic, fennel and carrot tops.
Ravioli del plin de mare ($22) is filled with whipped Venetian cod, and is dressed with anchovy-laced puttanesca making it a fish-on-fish experience most ideal for lovers of seafood.
On one pizza, a mix of king, oyster, porcini and cremini mushrooms combines beautifully with taleggio, mascarpone, honey, and a little pepper and chives atop pleasantly chewy dough that measures up to Neapolitan standards with no sugar or oil ($22).
They grill cornish hens, fish, and veal chops, and a magnificent bone-in porterhouse or tomahawk ($120) which can feed over four people, prepared simply with Sicilian sea salt and olive oil.
On the side there’s breadcrumb-encrusted tomato provenciale and surprisingly sweet fennel with oven-roasted olives.
Desserts are shockingly gluten-free, except the steamed date cake ($12) which can be forgiven its little bit of buckwheat topped with a rich Sicilian chocolate gelato.
The Queen’s at 875 ($13) is a refreshingly girly mix of Aperol, St. Germain’s Elderflower, grapefruit and prosecco.
The space is divided into three chambers, one near the slightly obscure back entrance with the back bar and espresso machine where drinks, appetizers and desserts are cranked out.
Behind here a wine cellar where salumi is sliced can be idly gazed at.
In the middle a small area can host private functions.
The elegant and snug front room’s windows look out on Queen Street.