Thursday, July 12, 2012


After relocating to Liberty Village with what seems like a gazillion years working in the financial district, The Gabardine became the only reason why I would think about venturing into the financial district to eat. Well, I'll be adding Vertical (@VerticalTO) to the list now.

Located on the mezzanine level of First Canadian Place, Vertical is seen by many as a trendy spot for corporate lunches, dinners, and after-work drinks. In spite of the corporate / suits image, I was still eager to try out Vertical because I've been hearing a lot of positive feedback from friends about the restaurant. I went with my friend Ed (@PrettyBoyLarge) last week and ohhhhh my goodness, it would be an understatement to say that chef Giacomo Pasquini (@giacomo81) completely spoiled us! His 8-course tasting menu that night was so exquisite and so very, very delicious.  I'm eager to bring my friends and family to Vertical.

Inspired by his Italian heritage and training, Chef Pasquini, Head Chef of Vertical, has a seasonal menu which uses local and organic products; whole fish, fresh handmade pasta and naturally-raised Ontario beef are all specialties in his menu. Chef Pasquini is also a firm supporter of the sustainable movement and his menus have been endorsed by Oceanwise.

This is Vertical's main dining room. The restaurant also features two private rooms as well as a separate bar / lounge.

Vertical's new patio & lounge is pretty incredible; it overlooks the parkette and waterfall of First Canadian Place (facing King Street). 

It was extremely hot and humid that day that even I, who normally loves the heat, could not imagine eating on the patio. Kudos to these people. Honestly. 

Chef Pasquini in the kitchen.

Vertical Spiced Caesar - Tito's Vodka, Clamato, Pickle Juice, Horseradish, Sriracha, Mrs White's Pickle

Course 1: Sustainable White Shrimp and Panzanella Salad, Watermelon, Ontario Heirloom Tomato, Basil, Mint, Crostini

Course 2: Raw Scallop with Apple, Cucumber Celery, Horseradish Dressing Sprouts

Course 3: Lobster Salad with Crunchy Artichoke, Lemon Pith Puree, Sorrel, and Bisque Reduction

Course 4: Chitarrina with Calamari, White Wine, Botarga and Basil Oil

Course 5: Tortello with Sweet Potato and Broccoli Filling, and Zucchini Marjoram, Homemade Butter

Course 6: Ontario Duck with Pioppini Mushroom, Endive, Roasted Fig with Duck Jus and Macis

A glass of Inniskillin ice wine to start dessert.

Course 7: Monforte Buffalo's Milk Panna Cotta with Rhubarb and 50 y/o Balsamic Vinegar.

Course 8: Montforte Sheep's Milk Cheese Cake with Elderberry and Walnut Granola

Chef Pasquini is putting out really solid food at Vertical. Keeping his plates simple and fresh, chef Pasquini's tasting menu for us that night truly showcased his Italian background and heritage. The courses that I found absolutely fantastic were the Lobster Salad (the slight bitterness of the lemon pith puree really elevated the dish and went surprisingly well with the lobster), the Chitarrina (pungent and distinctively "fishy", the botarga was a huge hit for me), the Tortello (a creamy and decadent pocket filled with sweet potato and broccoli? Yes please!) and finally, the Sheep's Milk Cheese Cake (not your typical looking cheese cake, the exceptionally smooth sheep's milk with the slight crunch from the granola was a perfect light ending to our meal).

Superb dinner. Makes me regret not going to Vertical earlier...but better late than never right? 

Vertical Restaurant and Bar on Urbanspoon

 Vertical at