Restaurant review: Constantine

With the help of a wood-burning oven, Constantine brings stylish Mediterranean fare to Yorkville’s Anndore House hotel.

What’s the vibe
The main restaurant of the Anndore House, a buzzy new boutique hotel in Yorkville, sees La Palma’s Craig Harding and Alexandra Hutchison teaming up with Mercatto’s Jack and Domenic Scarangella and Steve Christian for a Mediterranean menu with Middle Eastern influences. The menu is appropriate given the restaurant’s namesake is Constantine, a Roman emperor who ruled over many regions from which the dishes draw inspiration.

Constantine’s design takes a cue from the Anndore House’s home-away-from-home aesthetic, with an open kitchen and fireplaces evoking an elegant residential dining room. Surrounded by shelves lined with backlit urns, the space is definitely fancier than our own homes but classily cozy nonetheless. No doubt many guests of the Anndore House will dine here, but Constantine is noteworthy enough to attract plenty of us locals too.

What to drink
The spirit-forward cocktail list puts Middle Eastern spins on classic drinks, such as the Barakah, a twist on an old-fashioned flavoured with Moroccan syrup. We also loved the Lavandula, which had a delicately fruity, floral taste thanks to a combo of Dillon’s cherry gin, Lillet blanc and lavender.

Wines are another big emphasis of the drink menu, with over a dozen vintages available by the glass plus pages of by-the-bottle offerings. Most of the by-the-glass wines are Old World, but bottles from Lebanon and Morocco see the return of the restaurant’s Middle Eastern influences. A handful of draught and bottled beers from the likes of Burdock and Halo cap off the drink options.

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What to eat
While Constantine’s diverse menus cover breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch on weekends, we stopped by in the evening to scope out the dinner menu. The wide-ranging options include meat and fish mains, along with pizzas, small plates and veggies, with the restaurant’s hard-working wood-fire oven and parilla grill involved in the preparation of most dishes.

We started with the smoked sea bream pâté, served on chunky slices of Blackbird Bakery sourdough bread; and a plate of roasted sweet potatoes topped with creamy goat cheese and fresh figs, which brought a brightness to the earthy flavour of the potatoes (a dash of chili also helped kick the dish up a notch).

For mains, we focused on pasta, including the pappardelle with braised rabbit, a relatively simple dish of fresh pasta, fennel and white wine topped with green olives for some added zing. We finished with the sesame mousse, which was neatly wrapped in a sesame tuile – a perfect little package to complete the meal.

Dinner and drinks for two: about $90

15 Charles St E, Toronto, 647-475-4436,