Osteria Rialto is an Italian restaurant serving housemade focaccia, cheeses, and cocktails, on the ground floor of the historic Paradise Theatre.
Stretching along the eastern side of the art deco movie house, the restaurant—whose hours differ from the theatre's—is only open during the evenings from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m daily.
Unlike Bar Biltmore upstairs, reservations can be made here. The design is simple, with a mix of teal high top chairs, banquette seating, and stools along the bar that runs through the space.
The name Rialto is an incredibly common one in the world of Italian establishments (the long-gone Empire Theatre on Queen East was once named Rialto) which ties the cinema aspect nicely with executive chef Basilio Pesce's non-regional approach to the menu.
From the kitchen downstairs come slices of housemade focaccia ($6), served with a side of Alhema olive oil and a dollop of olive puree.
Gnocco fritto ($8) is a pair of highly satisfying deep fried dough covered in some mortadella and a layer of shredded grana padano cheese, a cousin of the parmigiano reggiano.
If you like your pasta with a slight kick, a bowl of tonarelli ($24), from artisanal pasta maker Famiglia Baldassare, comes with a thick 'nduja carbonara.
Not to be missed (unless you plan on getting kissed) is cuttlefish arancini, a snack which will leave your mouth completely blackened with ink.
A handful of sweet desserts include an incredible apple crostata ($12) from executive pasty chef Jill Barber, formerly of Blackbird Baking Co.
This take on a mille feuille features multiple layers of slow roasted apple stacked and melted together, topped with chestnut cream and lingonberries.
A super dense chocolate pear cake has some fruit hints thanks to pear puree. It's topped with milk chocolate from the premium French brand Valrhona.
Cocktails here are a blend of French classics with Italian twists. For a Campari kick, get La Rosa ($13), with Maraschino, dry vermouth, and grapefruit oil.
The frothy dessert drink Alexandra ($13) has gin, bianco vermouth, coconut cream, and a pressed chocolate on top.
The Italian Crusta ($15) is a sugar-rimmed mix of rum, Affino, Maraschino, Peychaud's bitters.
For something refreshing, La Bionda ($13) is a grapefruity drink with Bianco Vermouth and elderflower.