After a failed attempt of flying to Toronto for Memorial Day weekend, I had much better weather Labor Day weekend. It was a short flight and only took about an hour and a half to arrive at Pearson International – made it!
I found a pretty good deal for a room at One King West. The hotel and residence is located in the financial district near Union Station and many attractions. The building was originally a bank and the historic vault can be found in the middle of the lobby.
It was my first night in Toronto and I was in the mood for Italian food. It seemed like Gusto 101 was one of the most popular options in the city. The name, Gusto, means tasty in Italian. Since 2012, they’ve been serving their own modern take on southern Italian classics.
As I approached the restaurant, I noticed a few people waiting outside already. The dining room looked fully occupied. I gladly took a vacant seat at the bar.
I started things off with a glass of wine. The guys behind the bar were extremely nice.
The menu was presented on a clip board and included many familiar dishes along with a few daily specials available after 6pm. I decided I wanted to try a couple of their most popular items.
From the antipasti section, I ordered the Polipo – grilled octopus, chimichurri, olive tapenade, piquillo purée, lemon potatoes, and fried capers.
The octopus was tender with a nice crispy char on it with the lemon potatoes underneath. The sauces were tasty and scattered around the board allowing you to mix and match flavors as you please.
For my entrée, I ordered the Mafalde ai Funghi – malfada pasta in a truffle cream sauce with portobello, porcini, and oyster mushrooms.
I love mushrooms and this dish sounded delicious. The pasta was a bit too al dente for me though. I enjoyed the truffle cream sauce which was not too overbearing with truffle flavor.
After the food and a couple glasses of wine, I wanted to try a cocktail. One of the bartenders presented me with one of his special creations. It was fresh and not too sweet. I also received a few suggestions of other bars and places to check out.
I really enjoyed my time at Gusto 101. The food was very good, despite the pasta being a bit too firm for me. I appreciated the lively ambiance and industrial setting. The service was great and the guys behind the bar were fantastic. I would love to come back to try their other dishes, they all looked so good.
101 Portland Street
Toronto, Ontario M5V 2N3