Monday, August 26, 2013


Basilio Pesce, former executive chef of Biff's Bistro, opened Porzia with business partner Marco Petrucci earlier this year in Toronto's Parkdale neighbourhood. As chef and owner, Pesce (@BasilioPesce) is all about emphasizing and highlighting the classic flavours of Italian cuisine. He uses local, ethically grown and raised ingredients to create dishes that vary depending on the season. With all the breads and pastas made in-house, you can expect honest, home-style Southern Italian cooking without all the fuss and frills at Porzia (Twitter: @porziaparkdale, Facebook: Porzia). From their website: 

"Our staff believes in building memories around food and eating. It’s simple: We like feeding people." 

What?! It must be fate 'cause I love being fed too! 

Speaking of being fed, I remember Pesce fed us proper when my friends and I visited Porzia during their soft opening in January. He fed us the entire menu! Good times :)

Anyway, fast forward a few months later and I was back at Porzia again. Here's a shot of the 68-seat restaurant with its massive 21-foot bar on the left. The room is long and narrow with a decor that's both modern with a hint of vintage.

A custom built host stand made with old warship and plane parts.

It's always more fun to sit at the chef's table :) That's Pesce on the right in black.

bourbon, amaro montenegro, berchovka, pistacio, lemon, egg white

Torveto Vermentino Chardonnay – Lungarotti ’09 Umbria ($60)

My friend Jason and I shared five plates plus an assortment of desserts:

with preserved lemon & radish

with treviso & 15 year old balsamic

Snuck in another shot of Pesce.


with snails & gremolata

with semolina, apple & peanut


To start off, I love all the sharing-friendly plates at PorziaYou will never have to finish a giant plate of pasta by yourself or get stuck with just one entree for your entire meal. At Porziaall the portions are just right with an opportunity for everyone at the table to try a bit of everything. Secondly, I'm particularly fond of the execution of all the dishes. By keeping things simple and uncomplicated, Pesce lets the ingredients speak for themselves allowing their natural flavours to shine through. Highlights for me that evening were the hamachi crudo, octopus and lasagne. Although I had the hamachi crudo at the soft opening, I couldn't resist not ordering it again. The thinly sliced fresh hamachi was just fantastic. Light and refreshing with a hint of citrus-y lemon and a drizzle of olive oil, the hamachi crudo was a brilliant start to my meal. On a bed of smooth and creamy semolina, the grilled octopus was ridiculously soft and tender. Finished with crisp julienned apple, this dish is hard to beat. As for the lasagne? Best I've ever had! Although Pesce claims that his lasagne is not nearly as good as his Mother's but rather just "good enough", it is still #1 in my books.

Porzia on Urbanspoon