If you’ve asked me for a restaurant recommendation lately, I’ve probably suggested you try Noce. Over the last year I’ve been there a few times, both spontaneously and for official tastings. Each time I have left more impressed with the food, the team and their commitment to creating an authentic Italian dining experience in Toronto.
Believe it or not, you’ve probably walked or driven by Noce at least 100 times. They are located at a prime location in Queen West and have occupied the space for almost 22 years. In a city where restaurants barely make it past the 1 year mark, Noce has relied on its consistency, quality and ability to evolve with what Toronto diners are looking for.
They underwent a renovation last year and added an open kitchen with wood fire ovens to get their pizza oh so perfectly crispy and created three different rooms all serving a specific function.
The front room looks out on to Queen West and has floor to ceiling windows letting in beautiful light during the day and providing a cozy yet romantic setting during the evening.
In the middle, there is a smaller more intimate space that can be booked out for private dinners and events. There are longer tables and more dim/ambient lighting.
Finally the back entrance features an expansive bar where the bartenders are whipping up some of the most inventive cocktails I’ve ever had including a White Negroni. Try it, you won’t regret the decision. The area features smaller tables where you can indulge in drinks, appetizers and desserts.
And now the food. I’ve had the chance to try quite a few things on the menu and they just revamped their offering to include gluten-free and plant based options all at accessible price points. The pizza was definitely a stand out for me. Even the simple Margherita Cruda was so perfectly cooked that I could have literally eaten the entire pie to myself. Shocking, I know.
The Fritto di Mare is made up of fried calamari and pink shrimp paired with a smoked tartare sauce. My favourite part about this appetizer is how the calamari didn’t feel heavy even though it’s a fried dish. Just crispy enough and the smoked tartare sauce is perfect for dipping.
The Crostini was made up of a very interesting combination of a soft stracciatella di burrata, topped with a house smoked salt spring island mussel. Really enjoyed this version of a crostini as I typically tend to order “safer” options.
The Bastoncini di Melanzana was a unique take on traditional french fries. These were eggplant fries drizzled with fennel honey, chilies and pecorino. Not for everyone but definitely feel like this could be a great share plate.
The Sella di Agnello was just perfection. If you’re looking for something other than a pizza or pasta dish, this is the one for you. Lamb saddle plays the hero paired with water buffalo yogurt, fermented peppers, charred greens and lemon. I’m not the biggest lamb fan but I couldn’t help but appreciate how tender and juicy it was.
And finally. The dish that you will probably find me eating at the bar regularly, Sex in a Pan. A pecan crust, Nutella and vanilla pudding, mascarpone, whipped cream and sprinkled with sponge toffee. To. Die for. I may or may not have the recipe…
These photos don’t do the food justice. Everything is just so delicious and you can taste the love and care that has gone into each plate. If you’re looking for a place to celebrate something special, a first date or just want really good Italian food, I highly recommend you book a table at Noce. You won’t regret it.