"Inspired in Italy, Made in Canada"
Paese Ristorante has been serving Italian inspired food for over 25 years in North York. Owner and operator Tony Loschiavo was three years old when he moved to Canada from Southern Italy in 1965. Growing up with a passion for food and its preparation, Loschiavo’s early start in the restaurant industry was with two acclaimed Toronto restaurants of the time: Fenton’s and Noodles. In 1983, he founded L-eat Catering and in 1989 opened Paese Ristorante (Instagram: @paeseristorante, Facebook: Paese Ristorante). The L-eat Group cultivates a 3,000 square feet urban garden in midtown, producing fruits and vegetables used for their catering events, and everything from tomatoes and chili peppers for the chefs, to mint and lavender for the bartenders at Paese.
I visited Paese for some Italian cooking on a Saturday night. As usual, we started with cocktails.
PAESE COLLINS ($14)
Beefeater gin, lemon, thyme-infused syrup
OLD ITALIAN FASHIONED ($14)
Campari, Maker's Mark bourbon, sugar cube, orange
Tapenade made of tomato, roasted eggplant and red pepper.
Paese's dinner menu features a selection of salads, antipasti, pastas, pizza, fish and meats, and sides.
GRILLED OCTOPUS ($16)
Potato, grilled escarole, mint, lemon and chill
This was a marvelous appetizer, and it's no wonder that this dish is so popular at Paese. Coupled with an impressive presentation, the grilled octopus here is soft and tender yet still had good texture and chew. The creamy sauce and the hearty potatoes were perfect accompaniments to the octopus.