Friday, January 31, 2014

Urban Eats @ Destingo - Toronto

Destingo might just be my destiny. 

Okay, so maybe fate didn't guided me to the door of this new Italian trattoria on Queen West. More like my nose and rumbling belly couldn't resist the wafting scent of fresh pizzas and pastas. And with a selection of 199 wines and hearty Italian dishes on the menu, does it really matter what brought us together?
The restaurant's name means destined to go – and is the latest creation of owner Monika Vacca. She always dreamed opening a contemporary and casual Italian restaurant where people could enjoy excellent food and wine at mid-range prices. Although Vacca has plenty of experience in the resto biz – she’s the former co-owner of Vaticano in Yorkville.

I stopped by to sample the dinner menu – which turned into an eight-course sensation:
The Bruschetta ($4) is surprisingly light with a big crunch. Breadiness and butter are blissfully absent from Destingo’s version of this starter fave. Instead, the focus is on the chopped vine tomatoes, fresh basil, and balsamic glaze drizzled atop a toasted baguette.
The grilled calamari ($15) is a hearty appetizer that can feed the whole table. It’s also something different from the usual: the squid is grilled with kalamata olives, capers, local grape tomatoes, and roasted garlic, and accompanied with a side of mixed greens. It’s refreshing to bite into squid without the deep fried batter – although the temperature on the calamari could be a tad hotter.

As an antipasta, the wild shrimp ($14) is a winner. Sautéed in lemon butter and white wine broth, the shrimps are meaty and juicy, mixed with greens for wholesome eats.
There’s a blast of tangy flavour with the pollo pizza ($14) -- topped with herb marinated chicken, sundried tomato, dates, tomato sauce, and aged cheddar. The dates and aged cheddar meld together to create a sweet and savoury blend. Figs are an unusual and welcome addition to the pie. Plus, a bright orange pizza is pretty attention-grabbing. It’s a little heavy on the cheese – ask for a lighter version if you’re getting full.
A bowl of Pappardelle alla Marsala ($16) steals the show – thick pasta noodles sautéed with field mushrooms, garlic marsala, and wine sauce. It’s filling but wholly gratifying - a perfect pick for the vegetarian diners.

The rainbow trout ($23) has a unique flavour, pan-seared in cilantro, lemon, and mint. Digging into the meat, the fish is moist and flakes right off my fork. It’s rare to find wild Pacific trout on the menu – so savour it while you have the opportunity.

The tiramisu has layers of rich and spongey cake, with a thick cream filling and pungent mocha flavour. Order this dessert to cleanse your palate.

It’s difficult to describe an eight course meal like this one. Much like trying to describe a stunning sunset, it's the sort of meal you have to see (and taste) for yourself. Make a reservation at Destingo during Winterlicious to sample the menu. 

For early risers, daily breakfast includes an array of fresh juices, pastries, omelettes, classic breakfasts, two types of Eggs Benny and three types of pancakes. It also has an extensive Wellness section for those who wish to start the day with a light and healthy meal. There’s also free drip coffee and tea every weekday morning with breakfast entrées.

Just remember: you’re “Destingo” to eat at this restaurant!

The Details:

741 Queen St. West
Toronto, Ontario
M6J 1G1

Monday – Friday: 
8am to 11am – Breakfast 
11am to 12am – Lunch & Dinner

Saturday & Sunday

9am to 3pm – Brunch

3pm to 12am – Lunch & Dinner

-- Lisa Jackson is a freelance writer and blogs at Eat DrinkTravel Magazine. Find her online @eatdrinktravels. 

-- Lisa Jackson is a freelance writer and blogs at Eat Drink Travel Magazine. Find her online @eatdrinktravels. - See more at:

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