Tucked away from the street at 99 Yorkville Ave, INK Entertainment’s sprawling new spot Sofia Restaurant is much larger – and more photo-worthy – than one may assume. Taking over the real estate of the former Moroco Chocolat and beyond, the fancy new see-and-be-seen Italian restaurant may easily become your next place to celebrate everything from a career win or a birthday, to the fact that another summer weekend has arrived Toronto.
Just be prepared to drop (worth it) dollars.
Officially opened in early May, Sofia is designed as a destination of upper-tier (yet completely comforting) dining under the direction of executive chef Christine Mast (the former sous chef and butcher at Canoe). It’s also a place of art, design, and entertainment. This is reflected in everything from rich, lustrous crimson fabrics throughout thanks to the seasoned touch of award-winning design firm Studio Munge, the David Drebin mural that encases the bar, and other playful, Instagrammable art throughout.
First, we need to talk about the food. Made with fresher-than-fresh ingredients, the menu features a well-balanced assortment of pasta, meat, and fish (like the quick crowd pleasing Branzino) prepared daily in a charcoal, wood-burning fire to achieve a delicately smoky flavour that doesn’t take away from the foods’ natural flavours. If you have a soft spot for seafood, the fresh crab-filled zucchini flowers definitely don’t disappoint as a starter (to the point that you’ll be tempted to get another order). The traditional, Italian heritage Chianina florentine steak is also particularly worth the indulgence, as is the satisfying lobster fettuccine, which doesn’t skimp in the lobster department.
'A place to celebrate everything'
At Sofia, it’s evident that emphasis is placed on the details – especially those inevitably noticed by Yorkville’s seasoned set of restaurant regulars. Delicacies including olive oil varietals, Bagòss cheese, and Calabrian chilis have been directly sourced from Italy and handpicked by Chef Mast.
While a selection of quality wines – including an assortment of vintage options – is inevitable from the INK brand, the cocktail program is worth posting about, featuring a refreshing assortment of signature drinks complete with an Italian twist and well-received additions to tables on the spot’s two breezy patios. Crafted by expert mixologist Nishan Nepulangoda, cocktails are enhanced by regional herbs and fresh in-house cordials. With names like Nights of Cibiria, Sorrentino, and Amarcord, the cocktails are named in tribute to Italy’s vast geography and pop culture history.
Other notable talking points of the space include a diverse selection of live entertainment throughout the week, a private dining room, and art from Canada’s first Taglialatella Gallery, which sits adjacent to the restaurant and marks another new venture from INK Entertainment. The coveted gallery will feature works from Banksy, Mr. Brainwash, and Jeff Koons.
Weekly programming includes daily aperitivo with half-priced select cocktails and appetizers Monday through Friday from 5pm to 8pm, Jazzy Brunch and Family Style Dinner Sunday, and Pop Art Tuesdays with prosecco-based cocktail promotions.
Sofia is open seven days weekly for dinner at 5pm, with lunch now served Monday to Saturday.