Oretta shares the story of its owner’s journey in the culinary world and realizes his vision to provide a go-to spot for the community. Whether you are grabbing your morning coffee, settling in to work for a few hours in the open space upstairs, or craving a hearty meal in the dining room, Oretta has something for everyone.
Each of the spaces tell a different story. Salvatore Mele’s vision is creative, with the aim to create an approachable space. His roots in the cafe business began 15 years ago, and he wanted to retain that feeling of community with Oretta.
The restaurant has been open for twenty months, and the space has been described as a ‘work in progress’, as the owner would add an element they discover every so often, continually injecting new creativity into the space. Even down the details such as the flooring, you will find a mix of hardwood and colourful tiles imported from Italy; every corner has been considered in Oretta to evoke a memory or a feeling.
Let us bring you on a tour through the Oretta space.
Most guests will encounter the expansive, airy and eclectic dining room on their first visit. Bathed in soothing natural light, with modern lighting fixtures hanging above and pink velvet geometric shapes lining the walls with gold trim, a first glance of the room captivates your attention. Look deeper and you will be mesmerized by the eclectic mix of furniture and different combinations of tables and chairs, which give the space a ‘perfectly undone’ look. The vaulted ceilings are reminiscent of traditional Italian trattorias, and a central bar ties anchors the dining room.
The dining room effortlessly mingles the old, the new, and even funky Art Deco elements to create something we have not seen before anywhere else. Bringing together elements from different eras and combining with an a myriad of colours and textures, simply sitting in the space alone is an inspiring experience.
A secluded corner off to the back of the dining room connecting to the kitchen is intentionally created to give off a vintage look, where a large-format mirror is intentionally speckled to give it a vintage look. The patterned wallpaper also makes this dining space more cozy and intimate, sectioned off from the main, high-ceilinged dining room area.
Crystallized lightbulbs inside of lighting fixtures that remind us of antique fans create a beautiful lighting effect on the walls; and as you ascend the stairs to the upper mezzanine, the gold and black Art Deco wall with under-lit stairs act as a dramatic transition.
Though we have been going on and on about the impressive interior design, let us not forget about the spectacular menu as well. Oretta serves up authentic Italian fare by Chef Gabriele Di Marco, and you will find classics such as the Polpette, Agnello e Fregola Sarda and Margherita Pizza, all done to perfection. Chef Gabriele Di Marco recently joined as the new Head Chef in September, and has introduced a new Southern Italian Chef’s Menu, available during lunch and dinner for groups of four or more. NO two menus are the same, and Chef Di Marco will personally speak to each table at the beginning of the experience to create custom dishes for each group. Enjoy seven courses tailored for your palate for a truly authentic Italian dining experience.
We had the pleasure of trying the Ravioli e Funghi, which is a perfectly balanced dish. The texture of the pasta was just right, with just a bit of chewiness at the edges and a creamy mix of the ricotta inside the ravioli. The flavouring of the sauce complemented the pasta without overpowering it.
Once you have experienced the food here you will understand Salvatore’s vision, where he wants “people to be able to enjoy the passion that goes into traditional and authentic Italian food not just on Sundays, but every day of the week.” Salvatore used to spend entire Sundays with his family, making sugo della domenica (or Sunday’s sauce), and it’s this feeling he seeks to recreate every day for his guests.
We actually found ourselves back at Oretta the next day to indulge in their Maccheroni al Ragu and Margherita Pizza!
After enjoying a satisfying lunch in the dining room, make your way upstairs. The upstairs Mezzanine space serves as a private special events space for companies and parties and as a workspace for many freelancers throughout the day. Keep an eye on their event menu with inspiring workshops such as how to make pizza dough. The flexible space with its residential-inspired large marble-clad kitchen island and hanging bronze pots gives you the feeling of ‘working from home’. Individuals have used the space before for bridal showers and companies use the space for team building - there’s never a dull moment here.
Now if you travel down the stairs, you will find yourself in Oretta Caffe, a nostalgic component of the company’s roots, where it started out as a cafe many years ago. The same colourful tiles provide consistency between the restaurant and the cafe, and a wooden communal table and other wood design elements makes the caffe a cozy gathering space.
Guests can be seen enjoying an espresso along with one of the tasty sandwiches or an indulgent pastry treat. A curated collection of imported goods on the shelves such as rice and sauces can inspire your home cooking.
After our tour through the Oretta space, we can easily see how locals and visitors alike will find themselves revisiting on a regular basis. A quick cup of coffee in their pink and white geometric coffee cups, a few hours of quiet time working in their upstairs Mezzanine, or an evening spent over wine and pasta in their leather booths, each of these experiences are a value-add to a vibrant Toronto lifestyle. We can’t wait to visit again for their authentic Italian pasta and as mentioned, we have already revisited the day after this photo shoot to try out the pizza and additional pastas, all of which lived up to our expectations both in taste and presentation.
Truly, a perfect ten.