Woodlot Restaurant in Toronto’s Little Italy

Woodlot has been on the tip of everyone’s tongue for the past year. I have had it on my to do list for all of 2011 and was finally able to make a visit with my good friend Erin shortly before the holidays.

Woodlot Restaurant has earned a reservation reputation that resembles some of the tales we hear about the best eateries in New York. When I called their reservation line the voice mail message advised that weekend dinners were fully booked for the next two months. Thank goodness I was keen to eat directly after work on a week night.

It was freezing cold that night. We hustled along College Street, I took a few snap shots of the restaurant exterior but the lighting was dismal and my fingers were freezing so I just ran inside. We were seated at the top of the staircase overlooking the main dining room and harvest table below. We could stare down at the cooks and chef working their way around a large wood oven.

The service at Woodlot was exemplary. The food was one delight after the other and by the time we left the Woodlot space was jam packed full of eager eaters. There is something that had me leaving the restaurant with a sense of patriotism. Maybe it was the excellent food being served up just a few minutes from my house, the brilliant bread they are baking or the celebration of Canadian camp culture with Ojibwa wallpaper outside of the bathroom and memories of a Canada from a bygone era.

Woodlot is that restaurant every Torontonian needs to take their foreign friends visiting Canada for the first time. The food and experience are a whimsical addition to any “I am Canadian,” gastronomic itinerary.

assorted basket of Woodlot bread and cold butter

buffalo mozarella with chestnut squash, spiced apple compote and basil

ember grilled hen o the woods mushrooms with wild rice salad, black walnut mache and balsamic

russet potato gnocchi with salsify cream black truffle and charred leaks

roast flat iron steak with preserved mushroom ragu, sweet chestnuts and cedar jus

yukon gold and porcini gratin with fontina cheese

spiced pumpkin tart with pistachio and cider caramel

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