I was recently invited to check out a newly-imagined Italian restaurant in the heart of the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto. Say hello to the new Cresta Toronto! Located along The Esplanade strip of restaurants right beside the indoor market, this Italian eatery serves up homemade pasta, pizza and high quality wines in a beautiful venue.
Cresta, formerly known as Pastizza, is a sprawling Italian restaurant with an emphasis on fine dining and house-made, high quality ingredients. The restaurant was recently renamed after one of California's most iconic vineyards, Cresta Ridge vineyard of Thomas George Estates, and continues to serve up delicious, seasonal plates.
Cresta is co-owned by Paolo Paolini, founder of Splendido and Mistura, and Thomas Baker of Thomas George Estates winery in Sonoma, California. Though Paolini's previous restaurants put more of an emphasis on fine dining, this new venture could be described as upscale-casual, with an amazing 5000 square foot, two-floor space that feels comfortable yet modern and trendy.
A giant, awe-inspiring circular bar is situated beside the door as you walk in to the restaurant, and a variety of plush comfortable seating overlooks a semi-open kitchen. The bar has a massive wine rack in the centre stocked with over 600 bottles of California wine.
I had an absolutely delicious meal and amazing experience. Food wise, everything is made fresh and in house, and no expense is spared in having the best ingredients available for the freshest meals. Nothing is outsourced, and the menu is based on seasonal ingredients.
Since I last visited Cresta, the pastas are still made fresh to order, and there is more of a focus on seasonal side vegetables and smaller plates to share, along with the inclusion of fresh seafood.
My friend and I were treated to a variety of delicious eats, from pizza to appetizers and pasta, to small vegetable dishes and a variety of desserts. Check out what we ate below:
Grilled octopus, fingerling potatoes, braised cipollini onions, harissa
Rose of Pinot Noir
$8.00 5 oz glass
$14.00 9 oz glass
House Russian River Valley, California 2012
Brussel sprouts, $10.00
Crispy, balsamic glaze
Roasted, lemon thyme marinade, sautéed beet greens
Canadian Lobster Tail, $39.00
Lobster-infused spaghetti topped with a lobster tail
Margherita Pizza, $18.00
Tomato, fior di latte, basil, parmesan
If you ever have a special occasion where you're looking to rent out space in Toronto, the upstairs party room has a cool view of the St. Lawrence Market, and overlooks the dining room and bar below. I can't wait to see what else Cresta has in store, the large sidewalk patio will definitely be worth checking out in the summertime!