Restaurant Review: Bar Vendetta – A Playful Take on Italian Cuisine

RestaurantBar Vendetta
Address928 Dundas Street West
Dinner for two with cocktails$160

Bonjour b*tches,

Nestled in the vibrant culinary landscape of Toronto, Bar Vendetta stands as a testament to Jen Agg’s visionary restaurateur experience. With a reputation that precedes her, Agg’s portfolio of successful establishments (Grey Gardens, Rhum Corner, Le Swan) has made her a prominent figure in the city’s dining scene. As I step into Bar Vendetta, the atmosphere crackles with anticipation, promising an evening of bold flavours and culinary delights.

Bar Vendetta effortlessly blends edginess with warmth, enveloping patrons in an intimate and inviting space. The dimly lit interior is adorned with vintage artwork, murals and textured surfaces, exuding an air of rustic charm. The energetic hum of conversations and the clinking of glasses create a convivial atmosphere, making it an ideal spot for both intimate dinners and lively gatherings. The bar takes centre stage, with ornate woodwork and an impressive selection of Italian wines and craft cocktails.

Bar Vendetta’s cocktail program is a testament to Agg’s commitment to excellence. The bar staff craft libations that are equal parts creative and meticulously executed. As I peruse the menu, my eyes settle on the Waiting for Sunrise ($15), a playful twist on a classic tequila sunrise, featuring a blend of smooth tequila, bitter orange Aperol, hops and kombucha. The balance of flavours is exceptional, leaving me craving more, so I settle on the Honey Trap ($15). It’s more fruit-forward with a predominant flavour from the Calvados and lemon, with subtle hints of beeswax and ginger.

As for Bar Vendetta’s menu, it boasts a selection of Italian-inspired small plates—some of which push the boundaries of tradition. While some dishes fuse familiar flavours, others experiment with more unexpected combinations that simultaneously challenge and delight the palate. The burrata ($22) arrives, adorned with Cipollini agrodolce, winter greens and hazelnuts. As I slice through the white orb, a rush of lusciousness envelops my senses, complemented by a tantalizing aroma that instantly transports me to the sun-kissed Italian countryside. The subtle tanginess of the onions as well as the verdant winter greens harmonize gracefully with the velvety burrata, creating a symphony of flavours that dance across my palate with every bite. Paired with the rosemary focaccia ($7), it’s heavenly in every sense of the word.

Moving on, the bitter greens salad ($16) is expertly balanced by a symphony of contrasting elements. A tangy lemon vinaigrette draws out the earthy notes of the greens while gracefully complementing their bold nature. A generous scattering of aged Parmesan shavings heightens the salad’s complexity, adding a luxurious touch. It’s a dish that celebrates simplicity while showcasing the beauty of quality ingredients.

Bar Vendetta’s cacio e pepe ($24) is a dish that truly showcases the restaurant’s mastery of Italian cuisine. The pasta, which is formed in the shape of a crown, oozes with ricotta cheese as my knife glides through. The pasta is perfectly al dente and the accompanying sauce has good balance of flavours from the pepper and lemon. By contrast, the tagiliatelle ($28) with duck and foie gras ragu leaves more to be desired. While it looks incredibly appetizing, one taste reveals a monotonous flavour profile that could have been balanced by a dash of salt.

Bar Vendetta’s lemon torta ($12) is a deliciously tangy dessert with an intense lemon flavour that perfectly rounds out a meal at the restaurant.

While Bar Vendetta excels in many aspects, and is worthy of its mention in the Michelin Guide, the service, although friendly and knowledgeable, can occasionally be slow during peak hours, leading to longer wait times.

Bar Vendetta challenges tradition while embracing the essence of Italian cuisine. Prepare to be transported to a world where flavours are celebrated, and the art of dining becomes an unforgettable experience. Agg’s creative and innovative approach to classic Italian dishes is sure to please even the most discerning diners, and the cozy and intimate atmosphere is the perfect backdrop for a memorable dining experience any season.

Mme M. xoxo

4/5 étoiles

La rubrique de Madame Marie

1 étoile – Run. Before you get the runs.
 étoiles – Mediocre, but nothing you couldn’t make at home.
 étoiles – C’est bon, with some standout qualities.
 étoiles – Many memorable qualities and excellent execution. Compliments to the chef.
 étoiles – Formidable! Michelin Star quality. Book a reservation immediately.