Review: Bravi, Toronto

At 40 Wellington Street East, just a stones throw from the St. Lawrence Market sits one of Toronto’s top Italian fine dining establishments. My friends at Krombacher put me in touch with the owner of Bravi, and I invited a few of my best friends to enjoy a fantastic meal to celebrate my sisters 28th birthday.

We were greeted by the restaurants affable owner. With a twinkle in his eyes he walked us to the back of the restaurant where we sat at a large table just in front of the restaurants famous elevator private dining room for two. The chef came out to greet us and promised a well prepared and tasty meal. I skimmed the menu and put a little X with my pen on each dish that we would be ordering. I passed the menu over to our charming waiter David who passed it on to the artists in the kitchen.

We all started our meal with a cloudy, floral and sweet pint of Krombacher Weizen. The chef sent large serving plates, one after the other starting with antipasto, then salads, pastas, mains and desserts. We all shared with serving forks at the center of the table.  You simply must order the Antipasto it offers so much to the palate at the start of the meal. The butternut squash ravioli made me faint at the table, all of the buffalo mozzarella in our dishes was a highlight as was the lingering aroma of truffles. The steak was melt in your mouth (like a marshmallow) and featured large semolina fried gnocchi which were covered in cheese. We sampled a trio of desserts my favorite being the tiramisu which showcased three heavenly liqueurs.

The owner of the restaurant sat and entertained us with colourful foody stories as we enjoyed our pasta course. He is supremely passionate for Italian and Californian Wines (the wine list is a clear indication of this stark preference). He told us a magical story from several years ago when he roasted a pig in a parking lot with famed chef of The French Laundry, Thomas Keller. He repeatedly told us that Napa Valley was the most beautiful place on earth. By the end of his vino banter I think we were all hoping to take a red eye flight to San Francisco in search of the great grapes of Napa and Sanoma.

During the duration of our meal there was an overtly romantic couple dining in the restaurants famous elevator private petite space (read: always caressing each others hands and fondling with each others excessive showy jewelry). The elevator space seats two and is lit with one luminous candle. When their food came out from the kitchen it was placed at their table, the server then pulled a lattice gate over the entrance. They were then sent up into a vintage elevator shaft to dine in the dark by candle light in complete isolation. We were advised that thousands of people have gotten engaged in the “elevator private dining room.” Once the couple had finished their meal we all scooted outselves into the elevator and headed up a level or two to see what it was like. It was pitch black with the flicker of a candle. There were literally thousands of etched hearts with the names of couples along the wood panels that surrounded us.

Bravi most certainly serves fantastic, authentic Tuscan inspired cuisine which is best enjoyed in their elevator shaft with your hot crush, moments before you get on one knee and ask them to marry you. Le sigh. I fell in love with the food now I just have to “fall in love.”

We enjoyed:

Krombacher Weizen

Cake Bread Cellars Chardonnay Reserve, Carneros Napa Valley


Proscuitto di Parma, Wild Boar Salumi, pickled fennel, buttered mushrooms, asparagus, buffalo mozzarella and cippolini onions

Toscana Salad

vine ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, buffalo mozzarella, garlic crostini, herbs and olive oil

Arugula Salad

Bosc pears, toasted pistachio, pecorino, Meyer lemon and olive oil

Beef Carpaccio

Watercress, aged balsamic, horseradish, Parmigano, white truffle oil

Baked Portobello

Young goat cheese, roasted pepper and zucchini, sun dried tomato vinaigrette

Butternut Squash Ravioli

Parmigiano cream, baby spinach, aged balsamic

Gnocchi Alla Romagna

Veal ragu, rosemary, fresh ricotta

Risotto Calabrese

Grilled sausage, field mushrooms, scallion, white truffle oil

Veal Osso Buco

Parsnip mash, grilled asparagus, gremolata, natural jus

Grilled Beef Tenderloin

Semolina gnocchi, rapini, veal jus, white truffle oil, crispy leeks


Roasted yellow tomatoes, capers, pickled raddish, beach mushrooms and watercress

Stawberry Rhubarb Blossom

vanilla gelato


triple sec, frangelico, khalua

Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake

Lavendar shortbread

#172 restaurant reviewed in Ontario since moving to Toronto in 2010. 

Bravi Ristorante on Urbanspoon

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