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Posted by Guest Contributor / Listed on February 19, 2011 / review policy

Parkette TorontoParkette has opened its doors just steps from Trinity Bellwoods in the old Tern Art Supplies space. Walking in, we're greeted by friendly wait staff who seat us at a table in the middle of the intimate 34 seat restaurant. I sit on a park bench painted the same emerald shade of green as the exterior.

Parkette TorontoThe custom made salvaged wood tables are set simply with stemless wine glasses, plain white side plates, and cutlery rollups reminiscent of picnics in the park. Tea lights on each table give the restaurant a warm glow, and the room is quiet with the exception of the occasional burst of laughter from a large group of friends dining at the communal table across from ours.

For drinks we settle on a Gamay/Pinot Noir blend from 13th Street Winery ($40). As our wine is being poured our waiter informs us of the evenings specials: Lasagna stacked with Melanzane Impanato (breaded Eggplant $15) and a trio of Bruschetta for $10.

Parkette TorontoWe start our meals off with two Italian classics - Arugula with grapefruit and shaved fennel and a grilled Radicchio salad with Gorgonzola, pear, and walnut ($7 each). The radicchio is served as a head with the leaves gently sagging as a result of being grilled. The crunch of pear and walnuts make a perfect match with the softly grilled radicchio leaves and smooth Gorgonzola.

Parkette TorontoThe arugula is equally pleasing with a great mix of texture and flavor, however I'm disappointed to find that the greens are in fact a mesclun/arugula mix and slightly overdressed.

Parkette TorontoNext, the bruschetta arrives but I find it difficult to eat - as each piece is slightly larger than a one-bite finger food and tedious to cut through.

Parkette TorontoThe charred octopus ($13) comes to my rescue: cooked to perfection and served with a white bean, lemon, parsley, and smoked paprika mash that is nothing short of fantastic. Whipped and delicately flavored, I would like to have ordered that white bean mash as a side with my main instead of the fingerling potatoes ($5).

Parkette RestaurantAs for my main, here arrives the best plate of the night - ricotta gnocchi served with oxtail and oven dried tomato ($14). The gnocchi and oxtail are both melt-in-my-mouth tender with the gravy from the oxtail acting in place of a traditional sauce.

Equally sublime is the evening's feature - lasagna (top photo) served in stacked tower form, layered with fresh tomato sauce, breaded and fried thick disks of eggplant, traditional lasagna noodles, and fresh creamy ricotta cheese. The crisp coatings on the eggplant contrive to perfectly balance the creaminess of the ricotta.

Teddy Roosevelt once said, "Build it, and they will come". And so they shall. West Queen West residents can look forward to Parkette opening for lunch and weekend brunches in the near future and I'll certainly be back.

Parkette TorontoParkette is currently open for dinner service from Tuesday to Saturday.

Writing by Giuliana Pennachetti. Photos by Ian Peters.



mike / February 21, 2011 at 10:22 am
Please get over yourself and your silly use of extreme depth of field in your photos. Ok, we get it. You have a fast lens or some other combination of optics that lets you achieve this. Unfortunately, when I read a review with pictures, I sometimes, just sometimes, am more interested in seeing the food instead of out of focus lasagna.
Daniel Robb replying to a comment from mike / February 21, 2011 at 10:28 am
Yes - your depth of field is a bit shallow, even for food photography. Plus, everything is heavily underexposed. I know you're working under challenging conditions, but the result just doesn't do the food justice.
Sean / February 21, 2011 at 11:00 am
Note to self: when telling people that Toronto is not full of haters, do not link them to the BlogTO comment section.
dg / February 21, 2011 at 11:05 am
Dear mike and daniel robb. You realize that you both sound like losers right? Get over yourselves.
visitor / February 21, 2011 at 11:37 am
I'm a visitor, and Sean I feel the same way. Unfortunately or fortunately Blogto is a great source of information to checking your city out, I just tell my visiting friends not to read the comments on these things. It really puts a negative impression on Toronto people.
Sugar / February 21, 2011 at 11:58 am
No dessert????
EMS / February 21, 2011 at 12:10 pm
They're bored. It's family day and they have nothing better to do.
I actually had to scroll back up to the pictures to see what they were talking about. I still don't get what the problem is.
On a more relevant note, Parkette seems nice - I'll have to go try it out.
Rachel / February 21, 2011 at 12:34 pm
This place looks great but are there any vegetarian options? I wish BlogTO made an effort to note if a place is veggie-friendly. Please consider that!
G / February 21, 2011 at 12:46 pm
I agree with the first 2 posters. If you can't see the food on a plate, what is the point of showing it? Keep the bokeh for a gallery not a food blog posting.
Peter Jackson / February 21, 2011 at 01:34 pm
Thanks for the review, and seriously who cares what the photos look like. Do you think the writer got paid extra to shoot those photos? Do you pay anything to visit this site? So why do you feel entitled to criticize?
photosnob / February 21, 2011 at 01:48 pm
These are pretty terrible photos. The food looks cold and icky because of the photos, which is a not doing the restaurant any favors. If you're doing food photos, stay away from cold, blue tones. I pretty sure tomatos are red, not blue-ish maroon.
kev / February 21, 2011 at 02:22 pm
look how dark it is, you idiots. of course it's underexposed and f1.4. frankly, i don't want to see a studio photo of food. but these photos give me a sense of what to expect. keep up the great work blogto
b.craftie replying to a comment from Rachel / February 21, 2011 at 02:58 pm
The daily feature - lasagna - certainly sounds completely vegetarian, and the salads fit the bill. The reviewer raved over the white bean mash, which suggests a chef who understands what to do with vegetarian options. A quick glance at their website shows that their menu includes other veggie-friendly dishes. Worth a try...
Stra / February 21, 2011 at 05:45 pm
I like the photos. Food looks appetizing in its natural setting. You people with your expensive DSLR's and Photoshop and Lightroom or whatever the frig you use, get over yourselves.
Marco / February 21, 2011 at 06:04 pm
I find it fascinating that you decided to enjoy your salad as a starter. (In Italian culture, a light salad and finocchio is typically enjoyed after the main as a pallet cleanser.) As for the photographs, I find myself squinting as I try to see and understand the details of what you were lucky enough to taste.. I guess I'll just have to go and try it out myself! Haha. Thanks for your review. Cheers.
Giuliana / February 21, 2011 at 06:40 pm
On the menu (see the salads are listed after the mains, however when actually being served, they arrive before second and main courses.
kendall / February 21, 2011 at 09:19 pm
if you would like your salad after your main course, please just specify with your server.
jackie / February 21, 2011 at 09:36 pm
please calm down, the food is absolutely delicious.
i generally refrain from eating meat and my friend is gluten-free and we both had a lovely, enjoyable, and inexpensive meal at parkette....despite these "blurry" or "overexposed" photographs. please remember that restaurants are about the food, the company and the atmosphere opposed to the pictures on a review.
Gregor / February 21, 2011 at 10:32 pm
Food looks great, looking forward.Thanks for the review.
mike / February 23, 2011 at 11:04 am
Two thumbs up. I ate there last night and I'm already looking forward to going back, a welcome addition to the neighborhood.
Giuliana replying to a comment from jackie / February 23, 2011 at 11:45 pm
Thanks Jackie. You're absolutely right :)
Sarzilla / February 25, 2011 at 10:08 am
Hilarious comment section. Food looks great. Haters gonna hate!
Andrew / February 25, 2011 at 11:06 pm
Shockingly disappointing. We made a reservation for 8:30 on Friday night. Arrived early as they said they walk-ins earlier - "no. Come back at 8:30." Okay. Return at 8:30. "Umm, so sorry, but there's no space - we had a big rush."

Someone needs to explain to this restaurant the concept of reservations. Anyone can just take a reservation. The point is to hold a table.

So, with all of the other nearby restaurants rammed (Oyster Boy, Teroni), we're without any other options. Night ruined. Thanks Parkette. You will surely be a great success with this service.
Zoe / February 27, 2011 at 05:01 pm
Oh Toronto, lift up your eyes from your shoes, look a passer-by in the eyes.

Unclench yourselves and let it in...
Ryan / March 6, 2011 at 08:09 am
My New favourite restaurant. Went there last night and our group ordered a bunch of things off of the menu to share--the beef cheeks and the gnocchi are both to die for. The server was also very friendly and attentive.

They also just started doing brunch so I'm looking forward to going back!
S. Rose / April 21, 2011 at 09:02 pm
The food is good, interesting and nicely done. The charred octopus on bean mash is wonderful. Fish is perfect, the gnocchi is light and nicely handled. The restaurant is dimly lit, hard to read the menu, so photos of course are dark. I liked the espresso containers--elegant and easy to handle. Looking forward to watching this place grow.
amy / June 20, 2011 at 04:48 pm
meh, went last week. the bread was burnt and bland. the arugula salad was pretty good but tiny and the pizza totally collapsed. also, there were wine stains all over the menus, kind of tacky. might go back if everything else (swan, oyster boy, fresh)was too busy.
RuffRuby / April 13, 2012 at 01:39 pm
After wanting to try Parkette for ages, finally got around to it last night. Unfortunately, highly unimpressed. Mussels were amazing, but because they were perfect and plump not because of the tomato sauce (which was pretty good, but not great). The fluffy ricotta gnocchi was ruined by an extremely oily sauce, and the pizza was lacklustre (I guess due to the same oily mushroom combo used in the gnocchi). Molten lava choc cake was like every other one out there. We didn't say anything to the very nice waiter and maybe it was an off night, but won't be going back.
misstdot / August 26, 2012 at 10:23 pm
Finally took in Parkette Saturday evening. The service was attentative. Our group had the salmon, steak and gnocchi.
All of our entres were heavenly. The steak was a perfect medium rare. The salmon was moist with crispy skin. It was like butter! The gnocchi was heavenly. Plan to return soon. This could be my new local hidden jewel.
Pinar / April 21, 2013 at 03:36 pm
I was at parkette yesterday night for a friends birthday party. I did not visit there before so had no idea what to choose from the menu. Luckily "a friendly, gentlemen waiter" advised the steak meal. It was definitely awesome! Organic beer was also a good companion :) I am visiting parkette again, for sure!
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