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Oct 2, 2009 06:01 PM

Local kitchen and wine bar

Just tried out this newish place on queen just east of roncesvales.
All in all, great vibe, most dishes were a hit. We loved the pastas (fresh) very simple sauces with good simple, flavourful ingredients - although the gnocchi was a bit soft/watery, it tasted so good, I would order it again. Nice salumi platters. Local wines and some good values esp the ?Sicilian Shiraz at $38. For desert, I really liked the nutella cheescake. And the best part...$168 for the four of us (we shared a salumi platter, salad, two pastas, the duck, trout, bottle of wine and 2 deserts)-moderately filling and very tasty. Service was very friendly, but you can tell the place is new as some small wrinkles are still being ironed out.

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  1. here is my review of our experience a couple of weeks back....

    it opened on thursday, we went in last night (sunday). locally sourced ingredients, their own tomatoes (which they are very proud of).

    2 of us, started out with two of their specialty cocktails, each $8, an apple pie style manhattan and peach infused mojito, the 2 servers looked over some notes for recipe instructions, but executed them well. toasted artisan bread with a drizzle of olive oil was brought out (and offers to replenish). small plate style resto/wine bar with 20 table seats, another 5 seats at the bar and and 2 seats at a food bar.

    we chose a rabbit stuffed tortelli (2 sizes $10/$15), excellent texture, fresh, great flavours. arctic char ($14), perfectly cooked, nice moisture factor, seasoned simply and perfectly with salt and pepper served with a hash of red peppper and what was billed as cetriolo but seemed more like zucchini than cucumber. we also had the seared duck breast with lentils ($15), also very good but perhaps sliced too quickly after searing as some of the juices that would have kept it moister must have escaped-but still very tasty.

    desserts were few-only 2 (each $6) and we tried both. the lemon torta was very good with a mixed nuts and honey syrup and a selection of 5 small biscotti (not the coffee house kind). only the mushroom shapped amaretto flavoured one was really good, but the cookies were served straight out of the fridge and also had a noted damp moisture coating.

    we had a bottle of flat rock cellars pint noir ($45) with our small plates which was served straight out of the fridge and needed a bit of time to warm up. glasses of wine average $10 and bottles $45.

    music started out bluesy rock then a good smattering of huey lewis and the news and hall and oates. the room is comfortable and pleasant. the service was attentive and caring. i'm not sure if it is entirely owner operated but mike-wearing an apron-came over and had a short conversation.

    so, 2 cocktails, the bread, the 3 small plates and 2 desserts with a bottle of wine came to $127. very handy location for us, great little room, the menu is a bit small, but we intend to go back often for wine and for the tortelli. its a great little place.

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    ingloriouseater Sep 14, 2009 09:21AM

    13 Replies
    1. re: ingloriouseater

      We visited Local Kitchen and Wine Bar last night, too. All in all, a fantastic meal in a nice setting. It's right around the corner from us in Roncesvalles Village, so quite convenient. We went around 7pm Saturday night, and had to leave our number, as the wait was said to be about an hour. We were anticipating this, and went for a drink at Mitzi's in the meantime. They called us well within the hour, and had our table ready by the time we made it back.

      The decor of this place is great. Space-wise, it's pretty small, with lots of shared tables of varying origin. As another Hound mentioned, they play lots of 80's rock, and the room is lively when full- hardly an austere dining room. This particular night, we found the atmosphere to be perfect.

      The food is traditional Italian, with some twists here and there. Quite a small menu, with a few daily app specials, and 2 daily desserts. Most of the plates are small, and come in $10/15 sizes.

      We started with the two salads from the menu- a dressed potato one with sea beans and parsley, and a lolla rossa one with beautifully creamy chunks of squash. Both of these salads were delicious, and went extremely well together. We also tried the special of two cherry peppers stuffed with bococinni cheese. This third item was basic, but it also integrated well with the other salads and only cost $5.

      Our main courses were the smoked gnocchi and the whitefish. The former was nice; the texture of the gnocchi was excellent- positively fluffy. The sauce was more of a broth than a cream, which helped lighten the dish immensely. I felt the flavour was good, but not dazzling. It was subtle, but not mind-blowing. The fish was cooked perfectly, and was accompanied by a couple of seared brussel sprouts and some pancetta bits, which made for an extremely delicious compliment to the moist pan-fried fish. A small dish for the money, but quite tasty.

      For dessert, we shared a ricotta tarlet, garnished with dried fruit compote. The filling was nice and not too sweet, but it might have been a little lighter, and the pastry was a little dense. Still, quite enjoyable. I've had better desserts before, but this one was hardly disappointing.

      We weren't drinking much that night, but we each had a glass of a Pinot Noir; one from Jordan, another from Beamsville. They were each $10, and came in nifty little stemless glasses.

      Due to the minimal libations, our bill for two came to a reasonable $100 including tax/tip. We shall certainly return, now that we've been introduced to this neighbourhood gem!

      Local Kitchen and Wine Bar
      1710 Queen W. (at Roncesvalles)

      1. re: Marumari

        i love this spot! so cute and cheerful. the food is good. a bit confusing to have two places called "local" in the exact same neighbourhood, though.

        1. re: Sarah Cat

          it used to be worse when the horrible 'open kitchen' was there as well. So we had 'the local', 'open kitchen' and 'local kitchen and wine bar'

          1. re: ingloriouseater

            Cozy atmosphera, good service and excellent Food. Great place!!!

            1. re: johnki81

              Dined here on a saturday night recently. I was looking forward to this restaurant as the reviews here and Toronto Life made it sound so tempting. I sadly have to say it was a disappointment.

              Ordered the gnocchi (again the description by critics and past diners prompted me to order this dish), and while the texture was soft, not mushy - it was the flavour or lack thereof that surprised me. Let me preface by saying that i am not one for spices, or even sodium. In fact our household runs on low sodium. But when I had this dish, i actually had to ask for salt. It was just , what's the word, completely bland and boring. I'm really hoping it was an off-night. I don't know though if I'd be willing to go back, as my other dinner companions were not that thrilled. It was okay at best. Dessert of lemon ricotta cheesecake - again just ok. A bit dry.
              The space is as described by others - cute and simple. I liked that part, i just wish i liked the food too.

              1. re: 111HI

                what else did you have as one can live on gnocchi alone? I have never been a fan of the desserts at Local, but the rest of the meal has always been top notch.

                1. re: 111HI

                  Hmm. That's too bad. I've had the gnocchi twice and have been blown away by the complexity of the flavour both times. Sounds like an off night. I hope that's all it was!

                  1. re: Sarah Cat

                    i had the gnocchi last night , and i have to agree with 111HI , the sauce was nice (i love taleggio) but the gnocchi itself was terribly bland . i would say that the dish would have been perfect if the gnocchi was properly seasoned and there was more rapini (added a nice texture and a fresh , bitter counterbalance to the rich sauce, but there were only a few little pieces in the otherwise generous serving of minidumplings)

                    i have to add that the best gnocchi dish i have ever had was the squash gnocchi in sage butter at libretto . altho im not a huge fan of their pizza , i have had quite a few items off of their assaggini menu that were great , and the gnocchi were way on top of the list .

                    1. re: witloof

                      My wife and I had a date at Local last Saturday night; we had high expectations after reading a few very positive reviews. And while we enjoyed the warmth of the service and vibe of the room, I don't think we'll be back. We found the gnocchi had a nice mouthfeel but lacked enough oomph (flavour), ditto the salad with gorgonzola dressing. One of the specials that night was pasta with boar or was it a venison ragout, again pleasant but verging on a Bolognese sauce. The best item was the cured sardine, unfortunately it was so so small a serving, it was more fitting to be considered an amuse-gueule. A nice neighborhood spot rather than the destination visit for us.

                      1. re: lightbulb

                        Funny, we were there the night before and had the same pastas, and enjoyed both of them. It was the third or fourth time I'd had the gnocchi (although I don't think it had rapini the previous times), and while the smokiness might've been a bit more subdued than previously, it was still fantastic. The Bolognese-style sauce on the other pasta surprised us a bit, the venison added a nice depth of flavour, and the pasta (squash in... not ravioli, but another pocket/dumpling style pasta that I can't remember the name of now) was excellent.

                        1. re: gregclow

                          i enjoy the pastas and the protein plates, but the boys there really take pride in their salumi. judge them on what they do best and the overall experience not what you read in toronto life. if the parkdale tourists are fewer and futher between it will mean less waiting time for the rest of us locals. once they have opened up bar salumi it will be better for all

                            1. re: Sarah Cat

                              local boys are opening up another space a few doors east

      2. was there last night:
        - the Ontario Berkshire Pancetta was so good! as described on the menu, maple cured then smoked. it had that nice combination of flavours and it was cut so thin that it just melted in your mouth. one of my favorite things i've eaten this year.
        - the steak tartare was good but not exciting, though i prefer it more spicy.
        - the Ontario lakefish was perfectly done. my wife doesn't normally like fish, and she couldn't stop raving about it. the skin had a nice crisp to it, and again, this is the one part of the fish she normally would not touch, but loved last night.
        - the gnocchi, as described below, very soft and nice texture. flavour was nice, but i would have preferred it to be a bit stronger.
        - their special cocktail of the night was very refreshing, a gin and tonic, with cucumber/mint/lime

        overall, we really enjoyed our meal.

        1 Reply
        1. re: igk

          I had some of the same dishes a few weeks ago......

          lakefish - cooked well, nice crispy skin, could be a tad less cooked as I find all fish in Toronto whitey restaurants.

          steak tartare - beef shone first, good quality beef at that. I prefer stronger seasoning.

          gnocchi - one of the better renditions I've had in the city, good pungency w/ the taleggio. Again though, I could use more of the cheese. The best of the night for me.

          The cocktail was soothing in the heat, but I could use more booze. See a trend? Maybe I'm a man of excess.

          Not a destination joint, but I can bike to it so I'm glad to have it nearby.