Café Cinquecento, Toronto
The first thing I noted about Liberty Village’s Cinquecento Trattoria, the newest project from Lili Mancini (who also owns the original Cinquecento on King West) was how lively the space was — people were spilling out onto the street-level area, and the rooftop was just packed. We claimed the last two seats in the house. Evidently, Cinquecento 2.0 has managed to capture the attention of Liberty Village crowd quite effectively.
Cinquecento Trattoria really does feel like the original’s bigger and newer sibling. It shares some design elements and the same warm lighting, as well as a retro wink — in this case, evoking the rustic aesthetics. Smooth concrete abounds, while the garage doors roll up, blurring the lines of inside and outside areas. But this is a grander, larger space in a severely cool location, with a round-the-clock crowd of hipsters filling the chairs.
While the décor concept is fairly standard — a 60-seat capacity street-level area and 60 seats on the rooftop patio. During the day, the lower half acts as a tavola calda — where a long unorganized line of hungry diners place order and get their fare — and in the evening, the space operates as a typical trattoria. And though it’s hard to see from the street, the rooftop patio is heady fare — and a lot of fun (even though having to order from the lower level is just plain weird).
The food is not quite as precise and magical as at the original, but it is recognizably Cinquecento and strong: big flavours tied together with herbs and acids.
Menu offerings include classic Italian pizzas, like the uncut Margherita ($12) Tomato sauce, mozzarella and fresh basil; the Cinquecento pizza ($14) Tomato sauce, mozzarella, chicken, roasted red peppers and mixed forest mushrooms; and La Fiat pizza (14.00) with tomato sauce, goat cheese, artichokes, roasted red peppers and black olives. Non-pizza options include the Pennette Primavera, Gnocci, or Spaghetti Pescatore pasta. Entrée items include Veal Chop, Grilled Salmon Filet or Brick-pressed Cornish Hen.
At two and a half hours, this visit felt too short. That is one of the highest compliments I can give Cinquecento.
109 Atlantic Ave, Toronto, ON
Mon-Thu: 10:00am-10:00pm; Fri: 10:00am-11:00pm; Sat: 5:00pm-11:00pm; Closed on Sundays.
Cuisine – Italian
Area – Liberty Village
Price – $$ (Affordable)
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