What’s the vibe
Located in the heart of stylish Yorkville, INK’s latest restaurant is exactly as luxurious as you might expect. Inkeeping with this theme of exclusivity, Sofia is tucked behind Christian Louboutin, up a small set of steps on Yorkville Avenue with no signage to alert visitors to its whereabouts other than ‘99 Yorkville’.
The space, designed by Studio Munge, is well-lit with touch-sensitive individual table lamps, mirrored surfaces aplenty, and decorated with plush red velvet (just try not to stroke your seat for the entirety of your meal here). A pair of Brigitte Bardot’s watch over us as we eat - just two of the pieces of rotating art borrowed from co-owners Charles Khabouth and Danny Soberano’s own personal collections.
Given its prime real estate, it would be easy to assume that the restaurant is just another boujie enclave in this upscale district. But courtesy of a soulful live band, tinkling the ivories of a white grand piano and crooning to the songs of Otis Reading, the vibe here is far less stuffy than some of its neighbours. A patio area outside gives diners the opportunity to dine al fresco in a blue colour scheme – and with a view to the street, it’s prime people-watching real estate.
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What to drink
Head bartender, Nishan Nepulangoda (Blowfish) is the brains behind the drinks programme here at Sofia, which features an exciting cocktail selection. We kicked things off with a Colombina, which combines Tanqueray gin with Aperol, prosecco, grapefruit ginger honey cordial and lime. The vibrant peachy, orange cocktail comes in a champagne tulip glass topped off with an artfully placed piece of orange peel, which didn’t last long (it looks wonderful but got in the way of sipping the tasty tipple).
There's a pretty steep high-end of the wine menu for those with no budget – bottles of special edition Jeff Koons and Andy Warhol Dom Perignon (both $1300 respectively) are available, likely a nod to their art which is displayed on the restaurant walls. However, most 5 oz glasses go for around $14. As you would expect, Italy takes up the preponderance of the wine menu, divided up into its northern, central and southern offerings, but France, Germany, the U.S. and Canada are all represented too.
What to eat
Executive chef, Christine Mast (former sous chef and butcher at Canoe) heads up the food programme at Sofia, using her Italian heritage to bring a host of fresh new dishes into the fore.
Before you even take a forkful, you’ll taste with your eyes at Sofia. The plates are bursting with bright colours and fresh ingredients, like the octopus, vibrantly plated with red chili and a swirl of green rapini. We recommend trying the daily seafood special of the day or the Branzino, all of which are prepared in the wood-burning stove.
The desserts are equally impressive. The Tiramisu Alle Fragole takes the classic treat on a deconstructed journey, with strawberry sandwiched between sponge biscuits towering like rock formations over a landscape of white chocolate mascarpone and cocoa nibs.
Dinner and drinks for two: about $165.
99 Yorkville Ave., 416 479-8974, sofiayorkville.com