SIP Wine Bar
SIP Wine Bar opened recently in the Yonge and Eglinton area. Following in the footsteps of Libretto , Pizza e Pazz i, Queen Margarita, and Via Mercanti, Sip is joining the growing ranks of AVPN accredited sites that serve pizza under the strict criteria laid down from Italy.
Owner Carmine Constantino (of the ZaZa espresso bar chain ), has hired a team of cooks directly from Naples (as well as importing the pizza oven) to make his pizza. Following the AVPN regulations, all the pies are made to the same exacting standards that Toronto Neapolitan pizza lovers are slowly becoming accustomed to.
Taking a full year to renovate a former apartment block into a full service restaurant, Constantino has opted for a semi-rustic aesthetic, with grainy wood offset by industrial-style drop lighting. It's a gorgeous space, and clearly no expense has been spared on the details. But what about the food?
The Pizza SIP ($16.99) is a half-calzone, half-pizza that offers the benefits of a regular pizza, with fior de latte , mushroom, olive, and huge basil leaves, but with a folded corner stuffed with ricotta and prosciutto cotto. The crust is light but beautifully blistered, and competes comfortably with the bigger names across the city.
Pizza Blanche ($14.99) is similarly executed, with a simple blend of salt, olive oil, arugula, slices of lemon and parmesan.
The house made pasta may well outshine the pizza, however. The Linguine al Frutti di Mare ($26.99) is stuffed with clams, mussels,crab, shrimp, scallops, and squid. Served in a pizza dough bread bowl, there's a nice 80's aesthetic to the dish that straddles the line between comfort food and serious cooking without ever feeling cheesy.
The drinks, on the other hand, are in need of some fine tuning. The wine program is currently limited, but promising, with sommelier Andrew Paradis' picks by the glass served across two enomatics, with wine flights on offer as well as wine tasting education planned in the coming months.
Sadly, the cocktails draw upon the aforementioned 80's inspiration, but without enjoying the same benefits as the food, with the bartender producing some lacklustre martini variations on request. I don't recommend venturing beyond ordering a glass of wine or beer.
SIP Wine Bar is open daily 11:30am-11:30pm. The bar is open until 2am.
Photos by Jesse Milns