Chef Kyle Rindinella of MICHELIN Bib Gourmand–recognized Enoteca Sociale shares his favourite spots in the city.
For Kyle Rindinella, la dolce vita in Toronto is influenced by his upbringing in Milan. It influences everything from where he gets his coffee to how he shops for his own kitchen at home in the west end Junction neighbourhood.
Chef of Enoteca Sociale—a MICHELIN Bib Gourmand–honoured restaurant in Little Portugal—and the recently opened Ristorante Sociale on King Street West, Rindinella is a self-proclaimed creature of habit. “I go to the same places very often,” he says. Here’s where you’ll find him.
Food shopping and restaurant hopping
“My father lives in Florida, so the couple of times a year he comes up, it’s always a great time to show him where we’re in love with right now—the new, exciting restaurants in particular, because my family is about eating, drinking and being together around a table.
We get excited to show off a new restaurant, new grocery store, or a new boutique like Alimentari and Lardo. It’s nice to see these little shops that are doing Italian or Spanish foods strictly as grocery stores.”
“I go to places because they’re consistent and friendly, and I know I’m going to get great food, whether it’s locally sourced or just really good product, well taken care of in terms of service, and just have a great time.
I often end up at Union on Ossington—it’s about the classics: you always get a Union salad, you always get a beef tartare and we usually end up getting one or two mains to share. Richmond Station is always a great time and they’re always reinventing their menu, and the chef’s tasting menu is great,” says Rindinella.
For a special meal, Rindinella recommends the One MICHELIN Star restaurant Don Alfonso 1890.“When my father was in town last, I took him to Don Alfonso, and it completely blew me away in terms of their style of service.
Even though you might have 15 to 20 people touching your table through the night, it never feels overbearing. It was fun to experience something like that, which is so European in Toronto. Being in the Waterfront’s Westin Harbour Castle Hotel, the view is just gorgeous.”
“The days I’m at Enoteca, three out of five days, I end up at Milou for a late lunch. I love it around 2 or 3 p.m. because it’s not busy, you can just sit at the bar. I’ll always have a croque madame there. It’s just a nice, quaint neighbourhood gem,” says Rindinella.
“For coffee, I end up at Zaza Espresso Bar in Yorkville or the one in Bloor West Village for a good classic espresso. I like that deep, dark, bitter, strong short espresso, and for me, Zaza is where you can get that traditional kind of coffee.”
Cheers to beer and wine
“Bevi Birra is quickly becoming my family’s go-to, once-a-week spot. We can go in and have a great sandwich, hang out for an hour and just sit and chat, have a great beer and grab a few to go to enjoy later.”
“Midfield Wine Bar is my favourite bar in the city. I love [co-owner] Giuseppe Anile, I love everything they do there. It’s no fuss, just good wine in a great little room, there’s always someone there you can talk to and enjoy your glass of wine, whether you’re sitting or standing at the end of the bar like I tend to do. I’ve been going since it opened, it feels very European—you can just stop in for a good glass of wine.”
“I love going to Project Gigglewater cocktail bar after service as they’ve got a great late-night menu. After service, you can usually find me there with a smash burger and a gin martini. Crybaby Gallery is another great cocktail bar—they change their cocktail menu often and they’re just great people,” enthuses Rindinella.
Explore local culture
Outside of Toronto’s restaurant scene, Rindinella enjoys exploring other attractions solo or with his family. “I’m a member at the Art Gallery of Ontario. I just love being able to go there any day of the week with my daughter.
There’s always something new and exciting, whether it’s a new exhibit or just a room that we may have walked by in the past. When I was growing up, no matter where we were travelling, whether for vacations or just for a day, we always ended up at a museum or art gallery. So that’s something I want to instill with my daughter,” explains the chef.
The waterfront trail is another west-end attraction for Rindinella. “When I hop on my bike to just clear my mind, I go down on the lakeshore and see how far west I can get. There’s a beautiful view of the city when you get out to Etobicoke, and you look east.”
Just north of the waterfront, Rindinella recommends visiting Roncesvalles Village. “I love Roncey so much! When I lived there, going for a walk every day, just picking up things for dinner, I would stop at three or four shops because you go somewhere to get your bread, somewhere to get your produce, a butcher shop to get a nice piece of meat, maybe for the BBQ.
Then maybe stop for a quick bite in the afternoon and a glass of wine, then pick up a dessert. You walk everywhere, you say hello to everyone when you walk in—the living is great.”
Visit Chef Kyle Rindinella’s MICHELIN Big Gourmand–recognized restaurant Enoteca Sociale.