It feels like it’s been a while since we’ve been excited about a new Toronto vegan friendly spot, and I just want to bottle this feeling up and share it with all of you.
Gia is the new “plant-forward” incarnation of the restaurant formerly known as Ufficio. A short walk away from Trinity Bellwoods. They just opened Gia this month, and have a nice big patio area (with umbrellas.) We got take out, and I was very impressed with everything they had to offer AND how well it all survived on the relatively short trip home. Not only did it survive, but it still looked amazing, and was delicious – which bodes well for future in house and patio dining.
They are not aiming to be totally vegan, but they have a significant amount tasty looking plant-based items on the menu. They had also mentioned they were going to keep their menu fresh, so we will see how that plays out, but I feel optimistic judging by these first tastes (and the handful of new items I’ve already spotted since the last time I looked at their menu.)
So what did we order?
I wanted to keep it pretty simple for the first round, we’d had a long day, and this was going to be a late dinner, so we got two appetizers and two mains that we could share. It’s always tempting to order several more items and enjoy left overs for a day or two, but maybe next time.
Crab cakes – These were fried to perfection, and I’m assuming okara based, made with organic soy. The shaved orange fennel side salad that was delicate and flavourful, and I’d order it by itself if given the opportunity. It came with a side of citrus aoili.
Insalata Panzanella – This dish was so much more than it appears – the flavours and textures worked so perfectly together. It has focaccia croutons, heirloom tomatoes, radicchio treviso, crème fraîche, red onion, serrano chilli. There is also a non-vegan version in a different part of the menu, but they confirmed which one we wanted when we ordered.
Casareccia Salsiccia – long spirally noodles (obviously the official Italian name) with pinto bean sausage, rapini and roasted fennel. The dish was rich and creamy with little bites of bitter rapini balancing it out. I loved the texture and flavour of the pinto bean sausage.
Porcini Tortelli – this dish was beautiful and delicious. At the first bite, everything just came together in this powerful hit of umami. Tortelli that are stuffed with wild mushrooms, and tender bits of tuscan kale, and slivers of porcini mushrooms, and all cooked with truffle butter.
Everything is of course subject to change, but our first taste at Gia was great.