After a week of keeping Passover, a Jewish holiday where you can’t eat bread, I was quite excited to have an amazing doughy bread filled meal. I’ve also been wanting to try Gusto 101 for quite some time, but it’s just too damn awesome so it’s always busy and hard to get reservation. As a result, this restaurant visit was a perfect marriage to fill all of my wants and desires.
Gusto, literally meaning “tasty” in Italian, is located at 101 Portland Street in the heart of the Fashion District along the hub of foodie filled trendy restaurants on King West. The place has a casual yet impeccability classy feel. It’s like those people you meet who are incredibly cool without even trying.
What’s cool about the space is that it’s an abandoned, industrial auto body shop turned into an Italian Trattoria. The top floor has a beautiful skylight roof, and with the sun shining through it finally felt like spring!
“It’s industrial, but somehow warm and romantic.”
Moving onto the food, ohh the food. The way they describe is “classic tastes from Southern Italy with some twists”. Owned by Janet Zuccarini, who also happens to be the owner of Trattoria Nervosa in Yorkville since 1996, Gusto has a state of the art European kitchen, a house-made wine on tap, and a great team of wait staff and hostesses so you know this place is gonna be good.
For our dinner, we started off with the Polipo, grilled octopus, chimichurri, olive tapenade, piquillo pepper purée, lemon potatoes, and fried capers.
The octopus had an amazing charred flavour which comes from their Tuscan grill that adds a special deliciousness from the distinct smokey wood fire. And P.S. does that not look like a work of art!
Then it was onto the pizza and pasta. I know what you’re thinking, ugh another Italian place with some pasta and pizza, but you would be wrong. Executing what may seem like simple dishes effortlessly is something than cannot be accomplished by many.
Mafalde ai Funghi
The waitress told us that this was one of the most popular pastas- and after tasting it I understood why. Perfectly cooked pasta with an array of portobello, porcini, and oyster mushrooms all came together with a mouthwatering truffle cream sauce.
For me the level of deliciousness in a pizza is quite heavily dependent on the dough. Its got to be thin enough so you can get the full flavour of the toppings but still have a good chew and texture. That is a exactly what this dough was, and topped off with spinach, buffalo mozzarella, pecorino, a dollop of fresh ricotta, and roasted garlic, I was in pizza heaven.
Gusto 101 is definitely a must-try spot in T.O