FIGO, offering Italian-inspired cuisine, is the newest restaurant to join the Icon Legacy Hospitality and INK Entertainment empire of restaurants including Byblos, Patria, NAO Steakhouse and Weslodge (Citta closed a few weeks ago). Located at the corner of Adelaide St. W. and John, FIGO (Twitter: @FigoToronto, Facebook: Figo) officially opened on Monday, November 2nd, and is serving lunch and dinner Monday to Sunday, with a lunch menu that offers puccia (oven-baked sandwiches) and a $19.95 three-course prix fixe. Sunday brunch features classic brunch plates and an assortment of pastries.
The FIGO space is stylish and elegant, with an open kitchen at one end of the restaurant framed by a subway-tiled archway. The traditional wood-fired oven is for their pizzas and sandwiches.
A shot of FIGO's long dining room. This was taken from my table which was at the direct opposite end of the restaurant from the kitchen. Notice the beautiful hand-painted roses on the ceiling. I really like the interior at FIGO - the whites and pastels give a very contemporary and stylish feel to the restaurant, and it's very different compared to Byblos, Patria, and Weslodge, where darker shades dominate. The restaurant seats 13 people at the bar and 105 in total, with plans for an outdoor terrace in the summer with seating for 80.
FIGO's cocktail list includes shareable beverages, like this Punch Americano, a four-person cocktail served in a crystal decanter:
PUNCH AMERICANO ($15/ glass, $60/decanter)
Cocchi americano + cocchi rosa + bacardi superior + vino bianco + white cranberry + fresh lemon + peychauds + angostur
Nothing against Sangrias but it's nice have another shareable cocktail choice. This punch didn't seem boozy until five minutes in....that's when you will feel it :)
FIGO's dinner menu is divided into eight sections: House Ricotta, Salads, Starters, Pizza, Pasta, Seafood, Meat, and Sides. Below is what I had for dinner last week at FIGO:
SEA BREAM CRUDO ($14)
With less than a handful of ingredients, the delicate sea bream was allowed to shine on its own. This plate was very light and fresh.
HOUSE RICOTTA ($9)
Red grapes, speck, chili oil, house baked crostini
I enjoyed the sweetness of the grapes with the smoky speck. All the flavours worked well together and didn't overpower the creamy ricotta. I couldn't really taste the chili oil, though. The thin and crispy crostinis were the perfect vessel here.
Melon, huckleberry, crispy bread
I absolutely love burrata and this one was no exception (FIGO's is made using a 100-year-old recipe). However, I would've liked a sprinkle of good sea salt to enhance the flavour of the soft cheese.
ZUCCHINI FRITTI ($11)
Lemon crema fresca, honey
The most surprising dish (in a good way) of the night was this right here. The zucchini ribbons - sliced paper thin - were light and fried to a perfect crisp (and not oily at all!) The subtle acidity from the crema fresca with the sweetness from the honey made me want to keep eating it and eating it. This is a must-try dish.
Preserved tomato, mozzarella, black olive, honey
The pizza came with a bottle of chili oil (top left) which I used generously on my slice. I came to realize that spicy and sweet (from the honey) on a pizza is amazing! More restaurants need to get on that. The crust here is thin, but thicker than a traditional neapolitan pizza, and a bit chewy. Overall, a pretty good pizza.
Wild boar ragu
I would've loved to have this all for myself. The ragu was hearty without being heavy. FIGO makes all their pastas daily in-house.
Rapini pesto, goat cheese
I was told that people either love this dish or hate it, mainly because of the bitterness of the rapini. I love rapini, I even love bitter melon (the more bitter the better!) but I can't say I love this dish. I'm thinking it's because I'm not crazy about the bitterness from the orange zest on top. Having said that, the goat cheese really helped and I still couldn't stop picking at the pasta because the texture of the casarecce was superb (think little twisty "scrolls" done al dented with a nice chew).
MENNONITE LAMB ($38)
Half rack, pine nut-artichoke puree
The lamb was very meaty and was cooked to a nice medium rare. No complaints here.
Taggiasche olives, preserved tomato
Four big and plump scallops seared to perfection garnished with finely chopped preserved tomatoes, mildly sweet Taggiasche olives and drizzle of olive oil. Delicious.
SAVOY CABBAGE ($9)
To be honest, I would've never ordered cabbage as a side but I'm so glad I tried this. I liked the sweetness of the mostarda with the shredded cabbage. After having this I'll never look at cabbage the same way again.
Bonet, sponge toffee
A soft, rich dessert that you can easily eat with a spoon, bonet is the cousin of the crème caramel and is enriched with amaretti, cacao and rum. Order this if you love rich chocolate desserts.
Chocolate, coffee, mascarpone
In contrast to the bonet, the tiramisu was light as a cloud.
Executive Chef Anna Chen (formerly Lee, Scaramouche, Buca Yorkville) brings her own inspired approach to Italian cuisine at FIGO. By sourcing the best ingredients possible and using just a few key ingredients for each dish, Chen's plates are simple and uncomplicated. Each component on a dish can stand on its own without having its flavours masked or overpowered. By using contemporary techniques, Chen's interpretation of Italian cuisine at FIGO is clean and modern.
*This meal was complimentary. The opinions and views expressed on this post are my own*