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Restaurants

Pisco Restaurant

Posted by Liora Ipsum / Profiled on July 15, 2013 / review policy

Pisco restaurant torontoPisco, a contemporary Peruvian kitchen and bar, opened in June on Yonge Street north of Lawrence Avenue. The restaurant comes from brothers Giancarlo and Alessandro Colombaro and aims to introduce South American comfort foods to midtown diners looking to try native preparations of current trend-piquing foods like quinoa and ceviche.

The Colombaro brothers come from partly Peruvian heritage and have bonafide Toronto restaurant pedigree. They grew up working in their father's 28-year old eatery, the still thriving Gamberoni Restaurant just across the street.

Pisco restaurant torontoThe new dining room takes over the former site of Fratelli Trattoria, though the decor is still a work in progress with plans in place to replace the white-clothed tables with sleek new surfaces and to paint murals on select walls. The bar and front room now boast Machu Picchu-inspired canopies and bright patterned textiles are used sparingly throughout.

Pisco restaurant torontoIn the kitchen, Giancarlo and Chef Jason Koos prepare Peru's national dish, ceviche to order, by just barely marinating nugget-sized morsels of sashimi grade mahi mahi in lime juice. The plate is finished with a quenelle of earthy, sweet purple potato mash and a sprinkling of crunchy concha corn kernels. It tastes as vibrant as it looks.

Pisco restaurant torontoI also sample two entrees; the Pisco Lomo Saltado ($23), a stir-fried mix of chopped beef tenderloin, red onions, tomato, cilantro and yellow amarillo pepper served over jasmine rice and potato wedges; and, the Anticucho de Corazon ($22), an ultra-lean, thickly sliced beef heart steak, grilled to medium rare and served over sweet corn purée and Yukon potato wedges.

Pisco restaurant torontoBoth mains are well cooked, the meat still pink at the centre and juicy. The prices are, however, somewhat tough to swallow given that these are based on traditionally, ultra-cheap, peasant foods. I know tenderloin isn't cheap, but I can't help but feel that neither dish is as indulgent or rich as I'd expect of the price tags. I could've gone for more - not portion size wise (that heart steak was enormous) but more fun, more experimentation, more chicharrón... seriously where's the pork on this menu?

Pisco restaurant torontoAt the bar, Chicha Morada ($6), a non-alcoholic brew of sweet purple corn, pineapple, cloves and cinnamon is served out of a large spigoted vessel. Pisco is available straight or in cocktails like the Pisco Sour ($10). The intent is to offer eight premium piscos once supply lines are sorted.

The restaurant is open daily for dinner from 5pm. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday lunch is offered from 11:30am to 3pm. Reservations are accepted.

Pisco restaurant torontoPhotos by Morris Lum

Discussion

20 Comments

b.craftie / July 15, 2013 at 10:46 am
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It's nice that you seem to know Peruvian cuisine.
Since the restaurant is named "Pisco" - a grape brandy - it would have been helpful to explain what "pisco" is, especially when you mention there will be eight premium piscos offered soon.
An oversight, I'm sure.



Hillary / July 15, 2013 at 12:02 pm
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No one seems to complain about the prices at Buca, which really just serves Italian peasant food lika mia mama a-make-a.
heidi / July 15, 2013 at 01:49 pm
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how much was the ceviche? it looks stunning !
lol / July 15, 2013 at 04:23 pm
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lol @ "sushi grade". The unicorn of raw fish.
Barbara / July 15, 2013 at 10:49 pm
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After travelling to peru many times I can truly say this is the only Peruvian restaurant in Toronto duplicating the gourmet fusion peru is now producing. The quality is superb and by far worth the price
If you prefer cheap and lower quality go to the other Peruvian Restos in the city
The best Pisco sour in town!
Only the best for me!
mario / July 19, 2013 at 03:15 am
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i have not been there but for what i can see , smaller portions and high prices dont get along, i do not mind paying if i will get enough food on my plate, seems that some comments must be related to the restaurant's owner's friends.
anyway i dont foresee me going there.
DINE replying to a comment from b.craftie / July 31, 2013 at 06:06 pm
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We tell you about what Pisco is in our review of this new Peruvian restaurant - read all about it here: http://www.dinemagazine.ca/2013/07/where-to-dine-now-pisco/
Sarahlee / August 4, 2013 at 11:54 am
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Mario, I hear McDonalds gives good value for your money if that's what you're looking for. You should check them out.
Perucho_Chef / August 20, 2013 at 11:30 pm
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I have to disagree with you Barbara. I am a Chef, Born and raised in Lima Peru. Studied and traveled all over Peru learning modern Fusion. This in the other hand is an attempt to reproduce it!, I have never in my life seen someone make a ceviche with a purple potato quenelle. I do in the other hand, give them credit for promoting the brand.
Fernando D / August 21, 2013 at 03:24 pm
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I have lived in Peru for my entire life and this food, although not identical to the cuisine in peru, is a phenomenal fusion of great peruvian dishes with a north american twist. So put that in your quenelle and ceviche that!
Rosina / September 7, 2013 at 03:31 pm
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Finally, a quality Peruvian cuisine restaurant in Mid Town Toronto! The service and atmosphere is impeccable and the food excellent. I most definitely will not only go back but also bring friends and guests.!
Ena / September 10, 2013 at 06:45 am
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I went to this restaurant on Sept 7, and I must say the food was phenomenal! I am peruvian and have enjoyed great food back in Peru and have been looking for a restaurant to match it in Toronto. Finally I can say I found it! Pisco not only has great food but the service is also amazing. I will definitely be going back!
isabel / September 14, 2013 at 09:16 pm
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I went to Pisco Restaurant once I knew they had a new Peruvian Chef. We were a party of 6 and pretty much we tried everything on the menu. All of us were absolutely amazed by the beautiful flavors of all the dishes. it is worth every penny! Quality and taste, beautiful presentation and excellente service and ambiance. Finally there is a Peruvian restaurant I can recommend to my friends. I am Peruvian and I am very proud of this new concept of Peruvian Fusion. Bravo for the owners and bravo for the new Peruvian Chef!
Isabel / September 14, 2013 at 09:20 pm
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Saharalee, I absolutely agree with You. If you want quantity over quality, go to McDonalds!
mariana / September 17, 2013 at 10:39 pm
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I went to Pisco few weeks ago. I didn´t like the ceviche or the pisco sour that they served, sorry!! We spent too much money and we didn´t like it. If you wanna try a good and traditional peruvian food go to El Cafetal, Paracas, or at least El Fogon. Good luck!
Jane / September 24, 2013 at 04:38 pm
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This is an amazing restaurant. I have seldom seen such creativity, which does not forgo on the presentation and incredible taste. The restaurant is a beautiful ambiance as well.
Lady / September 29, 2013 at 09:42 am
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We enjoyed our appetizer and meals and the portions were reasonable. I will definitely eat here again. Service was a little slow, but hopefully this will improve as they are still new.
Octopus / December 5, 2013 at 12:02 pm
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Too expensive, and the portions small, I'd say very small, there are much better options in town for the money we paid.
asphalt 8 hack coins / March 8, 2014 at 05:27 am
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WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for Pisco
Restaurant
Dissatisfied customer / March 23, 2014 at 02:55 am
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I would not recommend this restaurant. Group celebration and we waited 2hrs to receive our food. When we asked the female bar tender and waiter they gave a poor explanation. Not compensated for our meal. The owner or staff never apologized or checked in with our group to explain the situation. Received terrible service. There drinks were $12 for a small glass. Very over priced. The owner should have come to our table to check in and apologize. Can't believe there are still in business!

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