Cobalt was the new black up on the Gusto 101 rooftop patio at Portland and King. This industrial enoteca is the first restaurant in Toronto to have a year-round rooftop patio.
Us press peeps (in my other life, I am an editor and work for KingWest magazine) were there to witness the auto-body-shop-turned-resto’s new retractable glass roof. As it opened up to blue skies in just nine minutes, we were lucky enough to dine al fresco on such a sunny spring day, tasting the gems from Gusto’s Nonna family-style sharing menu. (Photo: Henrieta Hansikova)
Gusto 101 is not a gluten-free restaurant but some of its dishes are naturally gluten free, like the salads, including the much-coveted Cavolo Nero. This insalata is insane. Lacinate kale, zante currants, toasted pine nuts, shaved pecorino and lemon vinaigrette. I could have licked the entire platter clean but people were watching.
Beef tenderloin carpaccio with truffled cannellini beans and pecorino was a hit among the carnivores at the table. The beef tartare, polipo (octopus) and most items prepared on the grill, including the salmon and chicken, are also gluten free.
Executive chef Daniel Mezzolo—whose motto when it comes to cooking is “simple is best”—dished up a special gluten-free corn fusilli ai funghi for me. (The regular version of this dish, fettuccine ai funghi, is Gusto’s most popular pasta.) I completely inhaled it and I don’t like mushrooms. That’s how good the food is here. Any pasta dish on the menu can be made with gluten-free noodles (with the exception of the ravioli). When the waitress asked me if I had an allergy or sensitivity, it made me feel like they understand that there are varying reasons for eating gluten free, some that require more serious diligence when it comes to food preparation.
Post-lunch, the cafe macchiato looked too pretty to drink but my caffeinated colleague said it tasted even better. I was still happily sipping my Gusto Bianco wine-on-tap, made on the premises, which can be had for $1 an ounce.
Our hosts sent us home with this washable “paper” bread bag made in Lucca, Italy. Seeing as our house is gluten free and fresh bread is scarce around here, I found another use for it. The bread bag can be yours too for $20 at Shop Gusto 101.