Not-So-Sacramental Sipping at Church Aperitivo

Situated on the Queen West strip is an establishment for imbibed worship: Church Aperitivo Bar. Long with the kitchen on one end and a little dark alcove on the other, and in the middle are an extensive bar, tables, and high cathedral ceilings with lovely exposed wooden beams. While yes, ambiance is nice, what’s extra nice is the delicious complimentary aperitivos that come out when you order a drink on a Tuesday to Saturday between 5 and 7pm. church aperitivo bar queen west toronto restaurant sangriaA good friend whose taste I trust (Nadia Elkharadly) had been raving about the place and the yummy antipasti, so we finally went with a fun group. To communally quench our thirst we opted for the white sangria. Very sweet, while still being light, and best of all, full of plump fresh fruit and berries. My favourite part is that just before you get sad that your drink’s all done, you have the pleasant surprise of sangria-soaked fruit to munch on (plus they’re often difficult to remove gracefully from the glass so you have a sense of accomplishment when you finally scoop it out and enjoy the reward.

church aperitivo bar queen west toronto restaurantFirst out were an assortment of crostini. The bread was nicely toasted and topped with sautéed wild mushrooms, marinated tomatoes, and roasted red peppers.

church aperitivo bar queen west toronto restaurantThen Salumi with cheese, meat, and olives. Simple, good quality, yum.

church aperitivo bar restaurant toronto queen street westThey saved the best free appy for second last: gnocco fritto. These were deep fried balls of rice with stracchino cheese, prosciutto di parma, and truffle oil.

church aperitivo bar queen west toronto restaurantThe last dish was unfortunately the blandest, small pizza squares. The dough was nice and fluffy, which I like, but there didn’t seem to be much to it, especially compared the other flavor-packed portions.

These nibblings, though delicious, were not enough to satiate our stomachs, so we moved on to the menu to order more.

church aperitivo bar restaurant toronto queen street westThe crudo, a selection of Italian style sashimi, was wonderful. Each fish was light and paired nicely with a garnish or small drizzle of sauce. Everyone at the table was impressed.

church aperitivo bar restaurant toronto queen street westNadia’s favourite Church dish is the meatballs, so after hearing her rave about them there was no way we were leaving without them. Made from veal and pork and floating in a house made sugo, they were so tender and tasty they melted in your mouth. So good! Lived up to the raving recommendation.

church aperitivo bar restaurant toronto queen street westNext was a fun spread with prosciutto, puffed pocket type bread and a delicious ricotta-like creamy cheese (I clearly shoulda written down what the waiter said it was). Even though I don’t remember the details of ingredients, I do remember thinking it was tasty.

church aperitivo bar restaurant toronto queen street westThere wasn’t much room after all that for dessert, so we opted to share a crème caramel. It was nice, but not necessarily a repeat for me…I think it confirmed I prefer the creamy, silky smoothness of a crème brulee over this mushier, eggier variety of caramel desserts. But nonetheless, it was quite nice.

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