Recently we were invited to the opening of Osteria dei Ganzi which is located in a old historic mansion at Wellesley and Church in Toronto. It’s beautiful architecture offers a mature and seductive atmosphere. Combined with the lush interior decor (wooden detailing, marble table tops, pop art paintings of curvy women), it brings you back to the 1960s when it was perfectly alright to smoke a cigar while you dine.
As we walked through the doors, we were immediately greeted by a lovely woman who promptly sat us to our table by the window. It was just after 6pm and the sun was beaming through so we were able to enjoy both the natural light and the interior ambiance. The music was trendy and upbeat but was not busy or noisy. It was just a perfect setting to kick back after work.
An awesome benefit of Osteria dei Ganzi is this fine gentleman - João Machado. He is the restaurant’s mixologist. He is quite the genius because if you just tell him what you like, he will create a unique cocktail masterpiece especially for you. I was impressed by what he conjured up for me and it went well with every menu item we had that evening. Or maybe it was just that I enjoyed my cocktail way too much that it seemed that way!! But in all seriousness – my drink just spoke to me. It was soooo me. My drink was light, soft & fluffy, had a hint of grapefruit, a touch of lime with a vodka base. Such a heavenly summer concoction! (see mine below on the right).
The gin had hints of citrus and was light tasting. Perfect for the summer aswell!
We were first served by a plate of Arancini (fried rice ball) with fried olives, sweet vegetable marmalada, marinara sauce and a mildly spicy sauce.
Each piece was flawlessly placed on this plate.
I was surprised how perfect these arancinis were cooked – the outer shell was just perfectly crispy! Not too hard, but just the right amount of density to sink your teeth into and have it crumble in your mouth.
The olives were a great compliment – they weren’t too strong and balanced out the sweet marmalada.
Our second plate was the Misto Cheese Wood Board which actually looked much better than it looks like above but we started eating it as soon as it was placed on our table and we forgot to snap a photo!
As seen in the above, we were presented with prosciutto, spicy salami, besaola, blue cheese, parmasen, gorgonzola and some home made bread. Each item on its own was delectable, the meats were not too salty.
Next up as another summer menu item, but this time in light salad. Here we have Ganzi’s Amaretta Mista (Bitterleafy Greens) which had raspberry, tangerine and infused raspberry olive oil. The vegetable was slightly bitter and dry but was an interesting complement with the tangerine fruits. It was a lovely fresh salad with a balance of flavours but I favoured the second salad we were served.
This was by far my favourite salad of the two! This Rughetta Salad was just beautiful. It included pear, citrus olive oil, shaved parmasen, white raisin and was topped with slice salmon. I devoured this entire bowl up! It was an excellent transition item before we moved onto the main courses.
Before we were served our mains, I had the great pleasure in meeting the Head Chef of Osteria dei Ganzi, Guerrino Staropoli who is imported direct from Rome.
Guerrino was kind enough to present our next plate himself and topped off our plates with a divine bottle of Laudemio Extra Virgin Olive Oil himself.
I don’t usually order risottos but I was blown away about how good this scallop and shrimp risotto tasted. It was packed with flavour from the scallop and shrimp. I just loved how the parmasen cheese was melted right on top. The onion, tomatoes and parsley suited the risotto quite nicely. I can’t tell you how good this was. I would come back to Ganzi just for this risotto alone!
The most heartiest meal of the day was this mega plate of Ossobuco (braised beef shank). It was served steaming hot and was very tender. This hunk of a meal was made after 6 hours of braising and is one of the signature dishes at Ganzi. This is also a traditional meal that is usually served with rice. Here we have it served with potatoes sprinkled with thyme and grilled vegetables. The gravy was quite punchy in flavour.
Pizza topped with mozarella, arugula and prosciutto. Just looking at these photos now, brings me back memories of the time I put this pizza in my mouth. All dough at Ganzi is made in house, and you can just tell as it was very fresh. I just loved how crispy yet easy it was to eat. I am told that if you are on a gluten-free diet – Ganzi can special make the pizza gluten-free too! The prosciutto was not too salty and gave it enough flavour. I loved the fresh arugula placed on top which gave the pizza even more freshness.
At this point, we were sweating in our seats, unbuckling our belts to make way for our expanding waistlines while trying to devour all these amazingly tasty dishes but out came Ganzi’s pastry chef with this pretty thing. Here we have the dessert trio: classic tiramisu, Sicilian style cannoli and Orange cream cheese mousse.
This plate was to die for. No matter how much I had already stuffed myself, I made sure to make way for mouthfuls of this heavenly goodness.
I was told by Ganzi’s pastry chef about how she loved the way she made traditional tiramisu and had replicated her recipe for us. It was a gorgeous blend of soft and fluffiness!
The cannoli was a thick and dense pastry which had been dipped in pistachios and candied fruit with chocolate.
The orange cream cheese mousse was my favourite out of the three but I might be a bit biased as I just love cream cheese! It was like a cheesecake in a cup. All the berries were so fresh. They were firm, sweet and just oh so good.
Osteria dei Ganzi offers an enjoyable night out to experience the joys of Italian food. We received very good service from all the team here at Ganzi. Not only were they extremely friendly, but they had great knowledge of each food item which put me at great comfort in knowing exactly what I was being served. In terms of the food, each item was filled with such flavour and freshness. Each plate was served steaming hot. You can tell that the staff here at Ganzi put a lot of care and hard work into their food to make sure each customer here leaves with satisfaction.