Old Hollywood Glamour Meets 2018 Opulence

Sofia, Yorkville

Interior design genius Studio Munge and Toronto’s nightlife king Charles Khabouth, have teamed up once again to combine art, entertainment, and dining into one experience. Earlier in May, the doors opened to Sofia in the heart of Toronto’s upscale Yorkville neighborhood. It’s a destination for upper-tier dining with décor that resembles swanky Hollywood glamour. The restaurant serves authentic Italian cuisine prepared by executive chef Christine Mast. Christine was born and raised in Toronto and is a former butcher and sous chef at Canoe Restaurant. Chef Christine drew on her Italian heritage to create a menu that didn’t seek to reinvent the wheel, but rather to bring traditional dishes into the modern day, keeping charm intact. The restaurant is committed to sourcing top quality ingredients, and delivers them to the table with outstanding presentation.

Sofia is both a restaurant, as well as a bar and lounge. Inside, you can find guests enjoying their meals to a live piano playing in the background, famous pop art on the walls, a cocktail named after an Italian journalist, fresh pasta, and overall décor that will take your breath away. At Sofia, it’s all about the details. “This is like a little jewelry box, everything needs to be perfect,” states Charles Khabouth when asked about his latest restaurant venture. The quasi-hidden space designed by Studio Munge is huge and comes with both north and south facing patios. The dining area seats up to 24 guests. There is a wraparound mural painted on the walls by David Drebin. Apparently, the whole bar was inspired by David who is an internationally-renowned and New York City-based photographer and multidisciplinary artist.

Throughout his career, Drebin has worked with many A-list celebrities and global powerhouse brands such as Mercedes, American Express, Adidas, MTV, Nike, Sony, and many more. He’s contributed to top publications such as Vanity Fair, New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, GQ, National Geographic and ELLE. His work is represented by some of the world’s finest art galleries. He is originally from Toronto, and has been in New York City since 1994. His collections include sultry photographs of women which you can find in his “Femme Fatale” collection. There isn’t a single project on Khabouth’s radar that doesn’t have massive sex appeal, so it is no surprise that the pair teamed up together.

The night scene inside Sofia is just as impressive as the dining. The lounge features a circular bar wrapped in dark red leather, surrounded by sapphire banquettes and black chrome accents.

The bar menu was created by Nishan Nepulangoda, formerly of Blowfish. The menu includes lots of rarer scotch and bourbon like Macallan 30 Year Old, and Louis XIII. There’s also a list of signature cocktails. Our favorite is the “D’Annunzio” for $19.00 which is named after Italian poet and journalist Gabriele D’Annunzio. It is made out of Bulleit Bourbon Whiskey, accented by Cynar, sorrel syrup and bitters. It is beautifully garnished with Australian sorrel flowers that have been rehydrated with simple syrup.


- Charles Khabouth
What impressed us most about the venue is the one of a kind artwork wrapped around it’s walls. Our favorite was the glitter Brigitte Bardot portraits in the dining room, and the “life is beautiful” pieces at the entrance. Most of the art inside the venue is from Charles Khabouth’s personal collection.

The lighting inside the restaurant is impeccable. You can find LED Philippe Starck lamps on the tables and stunning white chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. A white baby grand piano is gracefully placed on a podium facing the front of the room. It is played by a white vested pianist while guests enjoy their meals.

The wine menu includes a $1300 bottle of champagne of Dom Perignon which is an Andy Warhol Tribute Collection from France. If you’re having the steak, you can enjoy the Angelo Gaja Sorì San Lorenzo, Langhe DOC, 1600 Nebbiolo, Piemonte, Italia 2013 which you will not be able to find at your local LCBO.

Sofia is the definition of old Hollywood glamour and 2018 opulence. I was afraid of the restaurant having gorgeous young waitresses hired strictly for their looks, but my presumption was quickly shut down when I saw the professional staff grace the restaurant in their sophisticated attire. Even the women wore white blouses, vests, and ties. The staff’s demeanor and professionalism very much impressed me the entire evening. Each employee was polite, knowledgeable, and extremely well mannered. It’s obvious that the team was hand-picked and carefully selected based on experience, conduct, character, and performance.

If I were to guess, I think that Charles got some of his inspiration from Hôtel Costes in Paris. Hôtel Costes is a unique and posh hotel located in the heart of the Rue Saint Honoré fashion district, away from the city and crowd. It’s known for its hotel bar which is basically a paradise for people watching and being seen. The chic ambiance at the Paris hotel is very similar to that of Sofia with stunning Italian Baroque-style décor.

“We are incredibly excited to be back in Yorkville and open Sofia during this time of significant revitalization,” says Charles Khabouth. “The neighborhood is developing beautifully, with much to offer in food, culture, luxury retail and entertainment.”

Like any passionate and dedicated entrepreneur, you can frequently find Khabouth at the venue assisting his team and catering to guests. The love and work that has gone into this project is obvious and the restaurant shines because of it.