“Inspired in Italy, Made in Canada”

Paese at night late 80's

For those reading who don’t know about Paese Ristorante, it started from humble beginnings in 1987 out of the extra room acquired for L EAT Catering and has gone on to become a North York institution.  Housed in the same complex as the catering kitchens along Bathurst St. and Wilson Ave., we have been happily serving customers for over 22 years.

The original signage

Back in the day

Hearts of palm salad

Al ferro pizza

Original decor early 90's

Before the transformation

Before the restaurant became known as a wine and food destination it went through several transformations. Starting out as a little store front sandwiched between a hair salon and a kosher wine store, it has expanded taking over the spaces bordering both sides of the restaurant. A major renovation of Paese inside as well as the front of the entire building took place three years ago. Paese transformed itself from an unlikely little pizzeria to a comfortable, yet sophisticated, eatery where families, people in the neighborhood, foodies, wine connoisseurs, and the rest of us have come to consider as their “kitchen away from home”.

Tony, making it happen during the Paese remodeling

Paese now

Want a great bottle of wine to go with dinner?  No problem. Paese sports a wine cellar with over 500 different labels from the diverse lists of major producing wine regions and has been given the “Award of Excellence” by Wine Spectator magazine for the past 18 years.  In a move completely bucking the trend, Tony decided that it was time to let the customers taste the wines he had been collecting all these years.  With the assistance of General Manager and Sommelier Sharon Correia and Wine Director and Sommelier Derek Danilewski, they put in place a wine philosophy that simply stated:  “We like to cellar fine wines and not collect them”.  In an unprecedented move, they took the current LCBO prices for the wines on the Paese wine list and added only a $25.00 dollar per bottle mark up.

The lower cellar at Paese

The wall of memories

One of the cork walls down by the cellar, more memories

As a chef, I was entrusted with putting my spin on the no-nonsense approach of Italian home cooking.  “Inspired in Italy, made in Canada” is the way I describe my thought process when it comes to the food we serve.  We are not trying to be authentic, traditional or regional; we understand our influences and our roots but we also understand that we live in Canada. We work with local produce and Canadian meats and seafood, but we also import Italian specialties like Mozzarella di Buffalo and Parma Prosciutto and find that our menu has a place for both.

The original Paese menu

An early 1990 menu

The mid 90's

The late 90's

The current menu
The current menu

Roasted golden beets with pistachio's, pomegranate and arugula

Rare tuna, fennel and string bean salad, puttanesca dressing

The Paese and L EAT Catering ideologies and philosophies about food, wine and customer service that have made us successful and have made our clientele so loyal will continue at both this original and our new King St. location for many years to come.  Here is to a great 22 years and continuing at our Bathurst St. location.

Paese after dark, 2009


6 Responses to ““Inspired in Italy, Made in Canada””

  1. November 23, 2009 at 3:22 am

    I love the blog, Christopher! Nice to see that Paese is getting Web 2.0 savvy.

  2. 2 garnier ludovic
    November 24, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    hello tony [ boss] is ludovic garnier [ bloody french boy ] , today im don t now im like to remenber the pease [ so happy im see so many people wis as was working toguether ] so you open new place [ some of my conctact tell me ] nice for you , im very happy for you boy , now im in moscou loocking for some new job , juste after you im get single so im living the french county for CYPRUS , nice resort[ aphrodite hill] hotel 5 star and 7 restaurant beside im was executif souschef , but the time to living is here so im come to moscou , give my some news from you [ the picture wis the fish , im taking this picture im remember , please tony say big hello to every one , thank you
    best regard GARNIER LUDOVIC

  3. December 22, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    hey dude
    hope that all is well in whistler
    i just visited the blog and holy…… you really put aton of work into it
    it looks awesome thanks for being the lead on this and such an intregal part of our success
    you rock and you almost made me cry dude 🙂 and 😦

  4. December 21, 2012 at 1:28 am

    Aw, this was a very nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to generate a good article… but what can I say… I
    put things off a whole lot and don’t seem to get anything done.

  5. 5 Kim
    January 3, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Your mode of explaining all in this post is really pleasant, every one can simply know it, Thanks a lot.

  6. August 7, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    I like the valuable information you provide in your articles.
    I will bookmark your blog and check again here regularly. I’m quite certain I’ll
    learn a lot of new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!

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