Toronto has slowly been gaining a reputation as a bastion of food innovation. This is unsurprising, considering Toronto is now one of the world's most ethnically diverse cities, with 120 official neighbourhoods that still feel linguistically and gastronomically distinct. And while there are a multitude of ethnic food choices, including many cross-over and fusion restaurants, sometimes it's the classics that surprise us the most.
In its offerings, ViaVai Pizzeria and Wine Bar is nothing new. However, the way in which it serves up pizzeria staples is at once both refined and imaginative, thanks to seasoned owner and chef, Joe Friday (also of Luma).
Occupying a slice of prime corner real estate at Bay and Grosvenor, ViaVai's soaring ceiling, colourful murals adorning white walls, and minimalist furniture serve to create a kind of airy 'art gallery' feel. We love the sculpted 'tower of wine', which is art in itself! Set against the backdrop of three walls of glass, the visual is quite magnificent, and definitely heightens the dining experience. Perhaps this is why the pizzeria is considered a well-kept secret; from the street, the beauty of ViaVai's edifice implies that it is a more expensive establishment than it actually is. You definitely get the appropriate bang for your buck here!
Photos courtesy of BlogTO
The entrees boast ingredients that we've seen before, but proportion and flavour are re-invented in such staples as the Margherita and the Diavola. Pasta is also plentiful on the menu - like the delectable duck ragu in tomato sauce - and while the servings are on the small side, they are satisfying and filling! Probably our favourite!
What’s any sort of Italian food without wine, right? And we give their superb wine selection two thumbs up! Much imagination is injected into the libation offerings by cocktail designer Tynan Cavanagh, who invents (moderately-priced) seasonal specialties like the 'Italian Garden' ($10).
Photo courtesy of ViaVai
ViaVai is a standout in a city teeming with Italian eats. Next time you're craving a pie or creamy pasta (or a Big Gulp of Merlot!) we suggest you follow your growling stomach to their sparkling atrium at Bay and Grosvenor. We might just see you there!
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832 Bay Street (Corner of Bay and Grosvenor)
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