Vv Magazine’s newest contributor, Aly Zorn, gets an up close and personal look at Cresta, the new St. Lawrence Market Italian-inspired concept restaurant formerly known as Pastizza.
With Spring around the corner, Cresta Toronto is right on cue blooming into a sumptuous Italian-inspired, California-cultivated experience unlike any other. Formerly known as Pastizza, the new concept launch spurs Cresta out from the haze of run-of-the-mill Italian restaurants, a glittery haven amid the quaint cobblestoned St. Lawrence Market Area.
Old charm compliments the traditional elements of the Italian cuisine, infused with contemporary touches thoughtfully added by Executive Chef Tri Tran. Seamlessly paired with wines of Thomas George Estates (TGE) in Sonoma County California, one’s palette is transported to a warm and delighted state – close your eyes and it’s not unperceivable to believe you are in the Russian River Valley.
Each TGE wine is a perfected medley of complex tastes; sweet notes of fruit, balanced by the acidity of seductive tannins and only produced in small lots to entrench quality. The menu mirrors the unique flavouring of the wine, as the traditional Italian is embellished with seasonal ingredients from the St. Lawrence Market and local companies.
Succulent steak tenderloin, exuding the perfect shade of pink, is skewered along with roasted potatoes, cherry tomatoes, fragrant roasted garlic and beef jus. Jumbo black tiger shrimp in a bed of empty ravioli, red onion and tomato salsa is cooked to perfection. Brussels sprouts are braised meticulously with balsamic glaze, resulting in a magical wonder that is perfectly crisp and arguably too delicious to actually be a brussels sprout.
However, the pizza is perhaps the mainstay with a truly scrumptious crust – the perfect marriage of crisp and chewy textures. The menu offers a Funghi Pizza with mixed mushrooms, arugula, rich truffle oil and fontina, as well as an Heirloom Tomato Pizza with red onion, olives, shaved parmesan, basil and tomato reduction. Both are certain to play with your emotions as you question your prior relationship with most other pizzas, surely now mundane in comparison.
While the TGE wines pair beautifully with the cuisine, Cresta also offers an exquisite cocktail list for those thirstier thrill seekers. If you’re reading this in the morning no judgement will be made over the strong penchant just developed for liquor. The Cresta Negroni is artfully concocted with Bombay Saphire Gin, Campri, Dolin Dry Vermouth, Sparkling Brut and grapefruit for a hint of citrus. The Amaro Express, another noteworthy choice, is made with Amaro Averna, Frangelico, Espresso and Aztec Chocolate Bitters.
The location of Cresta is equally enticing as the menu. Nestled on the corner of The Esplanade and Market Street, in a modernized 19th century heritage building that captures the same elegant juxtaposition of new and old. Floor to ceiling windows yield an airy atmosphere, while a mezzanine overlooks a 35-foot wine chandelier; a grandeur spectacle that may induce wide-eyed yearning in the hearts of wine lovers.
The ambiance and Italian menu are quite alluring enough for foodies everywhere, but the unconventional, yet satisfying dialogue between cultures is definitely what makes Cresta a budding fusion of tastes on the horizon of Spring – the perfect antidote for the Winter blues.
Will you be visiting Cresta Toronto? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below, or tweet us @ViewtheVibe.