By Sheri DeCarlo
Torontonicity was invited to attend a private media tasting of the new winter menu at The Guild with owner Chef Mani Binelli on Tuesday, November 26, 2013. Converted from a flower shop in Toronto’s Little Portugal neigbourhood, The Guild is owned by Mani Banelli, a Toronto chef with more than 25 years’ experience working at Canoe, Centro and Auberge du Pommier.
Everything on the menu is made in house and many dishes’ ingredients are organic and locally sourced. “I wanted to let all of our house-made ingredients shine in our new menu with approachable dishes that the whole neighbourhood could come and enjoy,” says Binelli.
We tasted Duck Confit, Aged Balsamic Marinated Tomato Salad, Seared Omega Pork Belly, Curvy Rigatoni in a Roasted Garlic Tomato Cream Sauce, Wellington County Skirt Steak and to finish, Double Chocolate Toasted Almond Biscotti. My favourite was the freshly-made curvy rigatoni. The pasta was cooked to perfection and topped with a baby spinach salad and house-smoked chicken and the cream sauce was silky with a robust flavour. The chocolate almond biscotti was delicious: pleasantly crunchy cookies dipped in decadent chocolate. I couldn’t resist; I had to have two.
I loved the homey ambiance at The Guild, a result of the unique decor created from upcycled items such as dining tables from 100-year-old Ontario barns and a bar made from birchbark trees from Haliburton. Even the chairs were made from sacs from The Guild’s coffee supplier. Binelli and Toronto photographer Robin Cimitruk designed the restaurant incorporating a 100-mile sourcing philosophy.
Among its peers, The Guild is a Toronto restaurant that actually takes reservations even for weekend brunch and it’s kid-friendly. Binelli and his team accommodate modifications and off-the-menu requests. The Guild can accommodate 90 for a seated event and 110 cocktail-style. Custom catering menus start at $16. The restaurant can also host parties with a DJ set up and live music. I would definitely recommend The Guild for your upcoming holiday party.
The Guild, 1442 Dundas Street East (just east of Dufferin Street), 647-343-7288