Contact: 99 Yorkville Ave., 416-479-8974, sofiayorkville.com, @sofiayorkville
Owners: Charles Khabouth and Danny Soberano (both of INK Entertainment)
Chef: Executive chef Christine Mast (Canoe, Colborne Lane) with Jane MacDonald (Colette) and Patrick McDonald (Canoe)
Tastes of Sofia
What’s on the menu at Sofia, Charles Khabouth’s new Italian restaurant
“This is like a little jewelry box, everything needs to be perfect,” says Khabouth. To get the room ready, the red velvet benches must be individually vacuumed, the many mirrored surfaces polished and dozens of touch-activated lamps that have been charging overnight are returned to their tables. It looks like the piano lounge from a ’60s Italian sci-fi flick: everything is Barolo red, white or reflective. “I love dark: it’s sexy and cool,” says Khabouth. “But in half the restaurants I go to, you can’t even see the food; everything looks brown. I wanted Sofia to be bright and modern.” Studio Munge designed the 238-seat space (previously home to two separate restaurants and a tailor shop). Later this month, two patios will add room for another 110 guests.
Antipasti (carpaccio, spot prawns, citrus salad), house-made pasta, fish and meat (branzino, veal, steak Florentine) prepared in a wood-burning stove. “I’m mostly drawn to southern Italian cuisine because of my roots—I understand those flavours really well—but I’m also drawn to the north because I was brought up with French cooking. I gravitated to both ends of the spectrum, and now I’m getting to know the middle more,” says Mast.
The mostly Italian, 16-page wine card is divided by the boot’s regions, but there are also a few New World, French and German bottles on offer—and almost two-dozen of them are available by the glass. (A nine-ounce glass of Reva Barolo will set you back $80, but most start around $13.) Cocktails include a handful of signature martinis, as well as a few other classics with Italian twists, like a negroni made with limoncello.