We were recently invited to Church Aperitivo Bar on Queen West to check out their menu and Italian-style sashimi - yum! The selection changes daily but we sampled spigola, artic char, yellowfin tun and black seabass. Each was seasoned with a little bit of olive oil and then topped with something special like grilled green beans, roasted pistachios, chives and sea salt.
Cheers to the weekend! The style here is all about small sharing plates, eating family style and a long wine list and cocktail menu.
Hip + urban husband had one bite of what he deemed, 'a homemade pizza pocket' and declared it the BEST appetizer in Toronto. The Gnocco Fritto is a puffy piece of bread and includes proscuitto di Parma with Stracchino cheese drizzled with truffle oil. You stuff the cheese and meat into the hot bread.
This is one of my all-time favourite Italian appetizers. I loved the cheese and olive oil, however the gnoccho is a bit thicker than what I usually like - which is light, fried and airy (like at Buca).
The Veal and Pork Meatball was juicy and tender in every bite and soaked in a homemade tomato sauce. I definitely could of eaten more of these, but luckily I was saving my appetite for the huge tasting menu ahead.
The Polenta Fries ($10) were perfectly crispy on the outside with a softer cornmeal texture on the inside. I would definitely order these again, especially when paired with the spicy tomato sauce that's mixed with fontina, gorgonzola and truffles. It's a great little starter to share.
Filling my vegetable quotient for the day was the delicious Spaghetti alla Chitarra served with diced zucchini and shrimp. It was a nice light pasta, full of flavour and I LOVE homemade spaghetti.
Homemade Gnocchi ($13) with tomato sauce, burrata cheese and pesto was my favourite pasta out of the two. The potato dumplings were not too soft and the burrata added a lovely creaminess to the dish. Sometimes the simplest things are also the tastiest.
The Sesame-Crusted Yellowfin Tuna ($20) with caramelized onions, cherry tomatoes and aged balsamic vinegar could also be an easy item to share if you're just stopping in for cocktails.
The Grilled New Zealand Lamb Chops ($24) with peperonata is what you order when you're hungry. By this point we were SO stuffed we could barely finish our entrees. The peperonata was a nice compliment to the lamb, full of sweet flavour and a good crunch.
If you're looking for a place to meet for dinner before partying hard on Ossington, meet-up at Church Aperitivo Bar. The scene turns more lounge-like on the weekend with a DJ spinning.
Open for dinner Tuesday - Saturday @ 5 PM. Open until 2 AM Friday - Saturday. Closed Sunday & Monday. (416) 537-1090 www.churchaperitivobar.com