Quadro Ristorante is an Italian restaurant serving pizza, pasta, cocktails and old-world wines.
The College Street spot was opened by longtime restaurant proprietor Tony Longo and fashion designer Joe Mimran, who founded Club Monaco and Joe Fresh. And this is only the first of five locations the powerful duo has planned for the coming years.
Inside, the restaurant is laid-back, yet elegant with black and silver accents popping against the fresh white walls and tabletops. Split logs sit stacked and ready to fuel the nearby wood-burning oven.
Upstairs is a private event space (previously Toronto Temperance Society) with a separate entrance off College. Currently still in the works, there'll be room for 60 people once finished.
The semi-open kitchen toward the back of the restaurant is where chef Nick Delia performs his culinary magic. Delia has been cooking for more than 30 years, starting in kitchens at the age of 12. He's crafted delicious pizza and pasta at Centro, Sotto Sotto and Piano Piano.
Delia brings life to the effortless menu thought up by chef Christine Mast, who cooks at Yorkville's Sofia. Neapolitan-style pies and fresh pasta made with certified D.O.P. products from Italy are the focus, with a few salads and starters to round out the selection.
One of the salads on offer centers around Castelfranco and dandelion radicchio, an Italian and slightly more bitter alternative to lettuce or cabbage ($15.50). Creamy anchovy dressing and cured pork bread crumbs are sprinkled over top.
Bresola e rucola ($19.50) gives you the satisfaction of eating your greens while still providing more than enough salty meat for balance. Air-dried beef and arugula are dressed in lemon, pepper and shaved pecorino.
A starter especially worth a taste is the crispy zucchini fritti ($9.50) with fresh lemon aioli and mint.
Among the five pasta options on the menu is cacio e pepe ($22.50), set apart by the use of the ribbon-shaped Mafaldine noodles. This one is simply made with butter, black pepper and pecorino.
The three ingredients are added in while cooking on the stove and again once on the plate ready to serve. The finished product is a slightly more glorified version of the children's menu star: butter pasta.
A saucier option would be the gnocchi ($29.50) in a homemade wild boar bolognese with freshly shaved parmesan over top. This one started out as a pasta special but has been added to the permanent list of offerings due to popular demand.
There are also seven types of pizza available, with a rotating daily feature option as well. Each personal-sized pie is made with naturally-leavened sourdough and woodfired to achieve a blistery crust.
Also made in the oven every day is fresh focaccia bread ($11.50) with a mix of fresh herbs and cherry tomatoes.
When it comes to pizza, we try the fungi pie ($42) that gets olive oil, rosemary and taleggio in place of tomato sauce. You also won't be at a loss for mushrooms, with plenty and more to cover the entire pizza.
The newest addition to the menu that meat eaters will go crazy for is the 12 oz strip loin ($38). The steak is topped with chimichurri, blistered vine tomatoes and crispy fried onions. You can expect other rotating daily meat and fish options.
Make sure to leave room for dessert – there's a delicious vanilla panna cotta ($12) you won't want to miss. A 20-year-age balsamic is drizzled over the creamy custard, steadying out the sweetness.
If you're more of a chocolate lover, the classic tiramisu or flourless chocolate cake ($10) has you covered. Whipped mascarpone and fresh berries sit on the side of the dense cake.
At the bar, a pretty comprehensive wine list features mostly old-world Italian bottles. The cocktail menu consists of classic negronis and more adventurous options centered around Italian spirits.
Take the Hugo spritz ($18) for instance. It's like a mojito just with Italian prosecco and St Germain in place of rum. Lots of fresh mint leaves finish off the refreshing drink.
Heat lamps make the covered back patio the perfect spot to grab dinner and drinks year-round. Plus, Christmas palm trees from Miami give the outdoor space a tropical feel even with the cold weather approaching.