Inside Cellar Door Restaurant, Etobicoke's hidden gem

We venture slightly out of city limits to Etobicoke’s Cellar Door Restaurant and discover top-notch Italian fare without the usual side of pretension.

Cellar Door Restaurant: What's the vibe

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and in that case, you most definitely shouldn’t judge a restaurant by its facade. Set in an unassuming brick building on a quiet stretch of Lake Shore Boulevard near Islington, Cellar Door is a hidden gem just waiting to be discovered by the Toronto masses. Inside, the Italian restaurant has a rustic charm. Dark wood tables are illuminated by exposed Edison bulbs, while heaps of firewood can be seen piled beside the wood-burning pizza oven.

Cellar Door Restaurant: What’s on the menu

With food this good, it’s a wonder how Cellar Door has managed to fly under the radar. I’d love to keep this place all to myself, so it’s with mixed feelings that I reveal the secrets that lie inside: pillowy pastas made by hand in-house and delightfully crispy, wood-fired Calabrese pizza. Their dough is aged for three days, allowing for a soft, chewy crust that I wish I could store in my cheeks like a chipmunk and mull over for ages. Chef and owner Robert Rubino earned his culinary stripes at Michelin-starred restaurants in Italy and France, and it certainly shows. The menu changes often, but at the time of our visit, we tucked into plump, juicy scallops, delicately seared and laid over a bed of corn and truffle crema; cavatelli in a slurp-worthy white wine sauce with clams, mussels and scallops; and a cremini and king oyster mushroom-laden pizza oozing white truffle crema.

Cellar Door Restaurant: Why it’s worth the trip

High-quality food and high prices usually go hand-in-hand — and are often served with a side of pretension. But at Cellar Door, you’ll get mouth-watering Italian dishes served in a relaxed neighbourhood atmosphere and at a price point that won’t break the bank. Pair that with a very affordable wine list that has a strong Ontario showing, and you’ve got the reasons why I’ll be going back again and again.