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Oct 14, 2009 12:28 PM

Scarpetta in Toronto

Anyone know of any additional details about a Scarpetta being opened in Toronto? I saw this a few days ago...

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  1. After having dinner at Marea in New York this past week, I had a chance to speak to Mark Conant's former partners (Alto, L'Impero etc). The word is that the group will definitely set up shop in a new hotel opening in Toronto next year...I would say The Thompson on Wellington. Personally, never been a big fan of Mark's food. Should be interesting to see how Toronto perceives it's first 'New York big chef' transplanted restaurant. Would much rather see something by Batali!

    3 Replies
      1. re: childofthestorm mistake! I do mean Scott Conant! I got him confused with Marco Canora.

        1. re: The Macallan 18

          I enjoy Canora's work too! But I'm a fan of Scott Conant's cooking, his simple pasta with tomato sauce is something else. And frankly, Toronto could use an influx of out-of-town talent.

    1. Scarpetta in New York was sublime and Alto was actually even better - it will be great for the Toronto dining scene if that happens.

      5 Replies
      1. re: uhockey

        I went to Scarpetta for my birthday in New York and if this is true, I'd be first in line to check it out in Toronto. Would always welcome more new italian restos in T.O.!

        1. re: uhockey

          do you have any suggestions for toronto right now? i am going tomorrow and it is hard to tell what a person's idea of a good meal is. is applebee's their favorite restaurant? so i would like the opinion of someone who has a more sophisticated appetite. thanks.

          1. re: zoni521

            Ha, I don't think there is anyone on this board who would like Applebee's (and thank god there are no franchises in Canada!).

            estufarian has one of the best fine dining palates on this board, and he just reviewed the new incarnation of Splendido, which had traditionally been one of the best fine dining options in the city:


            If you want a bit more casual and less pricey, but still excellent, visit Nota Bene, where the former owner and chef of Splendido went.

            1. re: TorontoJo

              thanks for the link. i checked it out and sent a message to estufarian.

              1. re: TorontoJo

                There used to be an Applebee's in Barrie. I'm not sure if there still is, but it was just as terrible as it is in the States.

          2. Update: Scott Conant will be opening his restaurant in the new Thompson Hotel on King West (which will also house a a 24-hour diner)! This is great news for Toronto.

            9 Replies
            1. re: toveggiegirl

              Looks like mid-to-late April opening. This is good news from the point of view that a high end restaurant (if it's anything like Scarpetta in Manhattan) is actually opening instead of closing as has been the trend lately. Lets hope this is the beginning of a new trend of revitalization in Toronto.

              1. re: syoung

                Latest news from Toronto Star here:


                Looks like opening end of May.

                1. re: syoung

                  as a future resident of the thomspon hotel/condo development this is something I'm looking forward to -

                  - I haven't eaten at his restaurant in new york so can't comment - but I do like what these influx of hotel openings and their restaurants might be able to accomplish in this city - competition is a good thing!

                  1. re: syoung

                    Amy Pataki killed Scarpetta in the Star. Take it with a grain of salt, as it is a little over the top. Here's the link:


                    1. re: sloweater

                      I went last weekend and I can't say Amy's too far off the mark. We had some really nervous servers who were clearly not comfortable serving us either food or wine. In general, I thought the food was decent, with some hits and misses. Nice to have gone, not sure I'd be back on my own steam. Would rather go to Buca.

                      Maybe it's just new-opening kinks.

                      604 King St. West, Toronto, ON M5V 1M6, CA

                      1. re: jlunar

                        adding also: I went late on a Sunday. Maybe not an excuse, given the calibre of resto, but still, something to take into consideration.

                        1. re: jlunar

                          What did you have? I can tolerate nervous servers but I won't tolerate sub-par food.

                          1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                            I agree, the nervous server part wasn't the biggest deal. Notable, given the calibre of restaurant we were in though.

                            In short:

                            - Spaghetti (wasn't my thing. sauce too sweet)
                            - Polenta (liked this a lot. mushroom sauce/reduction made this dish. would re-order to share - only b/c it's really rich.)
                            - Beet and Ricotta pasta (interesting. my DC liked it a lot. would re-order to share)
                            - Fritto Misto (well-executed. tasty. reorder)
                            - Waygu tartare (I didn't like the spicing - too strong against the beef imo.)
                            - Lobster pasta (I really liked this one. I'd re-order that one, though my DC disagreed)
                            - The copretta(?) (The young goat dish. wanted it to be more goaty, but that's just my taste. I feel like this was a bit neither here nor there for me. will have to check notes... but that I can't remember seems to back up my tepid opinion).

                            Desserts, I can't remember what they were called, but they were plated really nicely and there were elements that I thought were particularly tasty. Tea was from T in Vancouver. Earl-grey lavender was lovely.

                            Overall - I think the service needs some time to up their game. The food itself isn't bad at all - I just had some high (maybe unrealistic) expectations that went unfulfilled.

                            Unlike AP, I didn't find the tables close-together at all! Thought it was quite well-spaced out.

                            More details later. Need to process photos and whatnot!

                   -- food. is. love.

                      2. re: sloweater

                        Wow my experience was nothing like that. I had excellent service when I went a few weeks back.

                2. I think Ms Pataki had a bone to pick w/Mr. Conant, possibly because for some silly reason she got offended by his letter on Huffintonpost...she clearly must have been in an angry mood because her review was so far off its embarrassing.
                  Scarpetta is a top restaurant, not as good as Mario Batali's Bobba in NYC but at least it's in the same league. I'm not even sure we have ANY in that league in TO. Sure, Bucca is good, but the fact the she mentioned Terroni or its smaller cousin in the same breath as Scarpetta means she likely hasn't seen what the top chefs around the world are doing to reinvent "simple" cuisines like Italian. Sure, Italian food can be great simple, but it doesn't HAVE to be simple to be great.....master Batali is evidence of that, and Conant's fine addition to the TO dining scene is at least bringing us in TO closer to having a big leaguer in our backyard. I can't comment on her nailing them on service, as my 2 times there were met with excellent service.
                  Ignore Pataki and give the place a's amazing

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jmand

                    I usually disagree with Pataki.. and did not find the same things she did when I ate at Scarpetta BUT I was not impressed either.. The Spahgetti was justa silly rip off no flavour and mushy, the goat tasted bitter and burnt, the fish my freind had was OK but again no flavour and the Raw Wagu was just bad.. I was expecting a carpaccio and it was more like a Tartare but with no seasonings.. and the colour was brown not appetzing when you are eating raw beef.

                    The only good thing (great) was the pollenta, but one dish does not make up for $200 of "ok". Everyone I have taked to has said the same thing.. good to try but we will not be going back...

                    Now I am sure they will do fin because right now it is the place to be "seen" but what is going to happen next year when all these other Hotels open? Trump, Shangrala, 4 Seasons, etc all of a sudden I think Bathurst and wellington will feel like a long way to go for "ok" Italian...

                  2. Okay, made my visit recently and here's what I thought (link to photos at the end or:

                    Polenta. Not my favourite thing in the world, but considered one of Scarpetta’s signature dishes and nothing like the fried puck I had been expecting. It was, however, the mushroom sauce that made this dish. A really fragrant and rich broth spooned upon a yellow bowl of creamy cornmeal – a delicious mouthful indeed.

                    The Fritto Misto was executed quite well and included zucchini, eggplant, and calamari. A light hand with the batter was deftly at work here. The fried parsley was an excellent addition.

                    A very different twist on the standard, the Waygu beef tartare had peanuts, truffle oil, cumin, sumac, coriander, and fennel. I felt it was too aggressively spiced and it drowned out the flavour of the beef.

                    Moist-roasted capretto with rapini, pancetta, and potatoes. I wanted this to have a stronger goat flavour, which is likely the unpopular opinion. I also didn’t find this as moist as I’d thought it would be.

                    The highly touted spaghetti is done simply with tomato and basil. While decent, I can’t say that this was the best I’d ever had. I have a different profile of this dish in my mind and felt the sauce was too sweet, and the pasta just a little too soft, for me.

                    The Red beet and smoked ricotta casonsei came in a poppy-seed sauce. An interesting pasta with a little hit of sweetness.

                    Black tagliolini with Nova Scotia lobster, tomatoes, and basil bread crumbs. Very tasty and visually appealing. I liked the flavours melding and clinging to the delicate bands of black pasta. I would order this again.

                    Originally paired with another dish, I requested a separate order of the burnt-orange caramel gelato to try. Lighter in flavour than I was expecting it to be – I think I wanted something with a darker sugar taste that bordered on bitter.

                    On a whim, I ordered the goat cheese cheesecake sided with mango granita and pistachio brittle. The cheesecake was nice and not as “goaty” as I feared it might be. But the brittle, by far, was the best thing on that plate. I could have eaten more of that.

                    The Amaretto Flan was sided with a rosemary roasted apricot and marsala zabaglione gelato. Somehow, I was picturing a light-coloured flan, so this almost chocolate-looking cube surprised me. I do not recall any specific tasting notes on this dessert.

                    Service on the night we went seemed a little nervous – one server in particular seemed like they had had too much caffeine. Not a huge deal in the whole scheme of things, but notable in such an upscale environment. Still, they were just newly opened and it was a Sunday night – all things to factor in.

                    While I was sad the spaghetti didn’t live up to my expectations, I did find the polenta surprisingly delicious. I enjoyed my meal in good company and the food was certainly of good quality. Still, I feel there are many other places to explore and revisit before I would make a return to Scarpetta.

                    Photos, menu, and intro:

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: jlunar

                      Wait wait. Before I blow a gasket.. I need to clarify -

                      Is that tiny portion of spaghetti actually going for $23?

                      1. re: radiopolitic

                        A-yep, $23!. Note - if this pasta had been something that showed me something I had been missing, it would have been well-worth the price tag. However, it was distinctly underwhelming, or my notion if spaghetti is a far different one from Connat's.