Ascari on King West Will Transport You to Italy

By Alisha Mughal

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What: Enjoy the best of Italian fare with this new King West restaurant.

A sleek, retro trattoria straight out of Sophia Loren’s dreams, Ascari on Toronto’s King Street West neighbourhood has arrived to satisfy all your Italian cravings. The name of the game at Ascari is elevated rustic, from the ingredients to the interior, paying homage to communal Italian traditions with a modern twist. 

Ask any discerning culinary enthusiast and they’ll tell you — it’s not about the quantity of ingredients, but about their quality. Few, simple and natural ingredients make up the signature dishes at Ascari. Executive Chef John Sinopoli and Chef de Cuisine Michael Lam update time-honoured Italian dishes with their selection of the freshest ingredients, which will always play centre stage at Ascari. With mains such as Agnello (lamb rack and braised lamb neck with spring peas, farro and onion puree, accompanied by a side of grilled Rapini con Alici), and house-made pasta, such as Spaghetti alla Chitarra, made in the same way as it has been in Italy’s Popoli since time immemorial — this is a place you can rely on to wow a guest

And of course, the wine. The vino program at Ascari King Street West is more than inspired by the mountain ranges. The wines come from the Alps, the Dolomites, the Apennines, and the Volcanic islands, giving their selection unique personality you’ll not find elsewhere.

If ‘50s Milano has captured your imagination as it has ours, then the interior will not disappoint. Designed by Joven Huard, the piazza throbbing at the heart of the restaurant pays homage to Milanese sharing traditions, with its U-shaped bar and communal harvest table. This common space is bordered by seats lining the outer walls allowing for more private gatherings, if that is what you’re after. 

With pastoral exposed brick, reminiscent of cobblestone streets, and wood-planked floors, Ascari on King Street West will have you spellbound and coming back for more.