NEAR: Local Kitchen & Winebar

6 Feb

Local Kitchen's Ragu Gnocchi. PILLOWS OF HEAVEN. Photo:

Where do I begin?! This was on my restaurant Resolutions list and I said I was most excited to try this one.

I’m so glad it was! We were in holdover at Bar Salumi for about 15 minutes. I’d hate to say that the service was off there but Local is a different story. Now I’m wondering why I haven’t been here before!

Seven down. Three more to go!  And I’m on Yelp for more reviews.

The chandeliers here really make the atmosphere. They are gorgeous.

Amazing. Intimate. Romantic. The reason you wait is because there are only 30 seats. The soundtrack in the background is fantastic. We were delighted to find out we had the chef’s table and though it was jam packed inside (and a bit warm) when our friend came, they got him a stool so he could sit with us.

The decor in this place is out of control. Amazing hand crafted chandeliers adorn the place; chalk board menus; and vintage photos of Toronto adorn the back wall of the bar.

And the bathroom! One of the coolest bathrooms I have seen in the city. They have a screen playing Sideways which is in a beautiful frame. Plus, a lovely mention from En Route as one of their favourite restaurants in 2010. I can see why!

Duck. Mmm.

Oh, we ate. We started with the bocaccini cheese in red chilli peppers drizzled with olive oil on romaine. A nice little starter for $6. You can get a cheese tasting: one for $7 or three for $16. We chose one and got their focaccia for $3. This is a must! It’s toasted, soft and chewy. We were eating the whole bowl in no time!

Then it was on to our mains. I loved that our waiter was the owner and we could also see the other owner and chef, Fabio in action. It’s so fun to see how focused the chefs are but also multi-taskers. I’m fascinated by it all. I felt a bit rushed when deciding on what to eat but Michael answered our million and one questions.

I picked off the daily specials and got the Ragu gnocchi. Not your typical gnocchi, it looks like little circular wheels because in Sicily they roll it out. The ragu was steaming hot and delivered in this little pot (it looked like creuset). AMAZING. Someone had said “pillows of heaven.” I would say this was accurate.

Lamb Tartare with quail egg. Yum!

My dining companion had the Duck. Anatra + cannelini beans + fennel. She seemed to love it. I had a taste and the duck was very moist.

Our friend ended up popping by and he had the lamb tartare + crispy pig cheeks mint + quail egg I am not a big tartare fan but I was starting to eat the whole plate. It was delicious!

The guys also customized our wine to our meal and gave us something off the list. It was the Nerojbleo and it went down SMOOTH!

The bathroom at Local Kitchen plays Sideways. "If they're having merlot, I'm leaving." Photo:


As local as you can get. Definitely one of my new faves.

These guys really do put their heart and soul into the food. We were even lucky enough to get a mini tour of the kitchen, where they’re cooking a lot of the food on a FOUR BURNER STOVE. Crazy!

I even got a story lead out of talking to Fabio. It was quite incredible how helpful people in the city are if you just ask!

I’m game to try more of their pastas though I wish there were more meat/pasta combinations like the ragu. Our neighbours had the ribeye steak and wow, it looked pretty incredible.  It’s a day later and I already need to go back!


4 Responses to “NEAR: Local Kitchen & Winebar”

  1. Nomadic Samuel February 10, 2012 at 1:35 am #

    Gnocchi! Duck! Need not say anything more 🙂 The food looks delicious. I’m glad to have discovered your blog today 🙂

    • nearafar February 10, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

      Yay! Thank you. 🙂 Where are you from?

  2. Jen Laceda March 1, 2012 at 5:58 pm #

    Oh, Local Kitchen is so close to where we live…and close to my hubby’s work at St. Joe’s. Why we haven’t eaten here, I don’t know. Oh wait, I DO know…’Coz we have 3 kids. I’m gonna have free up some time and make it a date night with the husband! I always go to Black Pug DMK and the Painted Table antique stores there to hunt for food styling stuff. Next time, a dinner at Local is in order!!

    • nearafar March 2, 2012 at 10:38 am #

      Cool! At first I thought you were talking about St. Joe’s Media. 🙂 Do make it a date night. It’s a GREAT date place and get the chef’s table. It’s phenomenal. The guys really take care of you over there. It’s all such a treat. 🙂 I’ll have to take a peek into the antique stores. There are *so many there but this is across the city for me so sometimes, it’s hard to get out somewhere so far. 🙂

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