Buonanotte Toronto is a chic supper club modeled after the original Buonanotte location in Montreal. Leading the kitchen is executive Chef Davide Iannaci, who boasts an impressive global resume having worked across Italy, Germany and Miami before settling in Canada.
The massive space seats 160 and the decor is swanky but not tacky, like most supper clubs. Other than the lavish marble bar, the most eye-catching element is undoubtedly the gold squared ceiling. Music pumps out of the expensive sound system but is never intrusive during dinner, even when there's a live DJ spinning popular tunes every Thursday to Sunday night.
Before the feast, we begin with Buonanotte's signature drink, The Rustico ($14, 1.5oz). This palate opener is made with muddled fresh fruit, housemade candied orange, Bulleit Bourbon, Fernet Branca and is shaken not stirred. These days you can get a Negroni just about anywhere, but not one of these.
Our first dish is the Beef Carpaccio ($22) topped with arugula, shaved Parmigiano and artichokes marinated in high quality olive oil and herbs. The delicious raw beef effortlessly melts in our mouth.
The Swordfish Ceviche ($23) is marinated in red wine vinegar instead of traditional lemon juice and is topped with red onion and vibrant pink peppercorns. The wine vinegar packs more punch and kick than the traditional Peruvian preparation.
Next is the Pan Seared Octopus ($23) topped with black olive tapenade, potatoes and cherry tomatoes. Again, the presentation is spectacular and the dish is light and cheerful. The octopus is meaty but tender, and it soaks up the Mediterranean flavours on the plate.
You can't even think to call yourself a true Italian eatery unless you have a brick oven and pizza maker who speaks broken English. Check and check. The Pizza Buonanotte ($30) is meant to be a flashy pie that reflects the restaurant's space and clientele. How's this for flashiness? Thin slices of Prosciutto di Parma, fresh porcini mushrooms, mozzarella di bufala and truffles. Yes, this pricey pizza is all show and all go, and the crust is like biting into a soft, fluffy cloud.
Then there's the Tonno and Fregula ($35), which is pan-seared tuna on a bed of a unique Sardinian pasta that resembles Israeli couscous. I've yet to see this dish in the country, let alone the city, so it's definitely one to try. The fregula, which has a consistency like risotto, is simmered in a shrimp, mussel and tomato pesto sauce that's full of life and flavour.
If you're lucky enough to be a VIP, or at least look like it, the good folks at Buonanotte just might send over a dessert platter that has it all. From a limoncello based tiramisu to bombolone, which are fried balls of dough filled with chocolate or fresh custard.