The appropriately named Church Aperitivo Bar (@ChurchAperitivo) is located in a building that used to be the home of a Slavic Pentecostal church. With its high ceilings, lighting that resembles organ pipes, and long white marble bar down one side of the restaurant, it’s a really gorgeous space.
The tables are lit by candles and early on in the night, Mike and I had a nice intimate meal. However, as the restaurant filled up, it lost its intimacy as the volume in the room increased exponentially.
While Church Aperitivo Bar may not be the best place for a romantic evening out, it’s a great place to come with a few friends as their Italian menu is perfect for sharing. The menu features a crudo dish (which changes daily), crostini, salads, a large selection of appetizers, pastas and meat/fish dishes.
The drinks here have religious-themed names such as “the Saint”, “Adam & Eve” and “Salvation”, to name a few. I felt like something fruity so we shared are pitcher of Forbidden Fruit Sangria ($25), which can be made with red or white wine.
With so many tempting appetizer options, we decided to order three appetizers and one pasta dish. We started with the Polenta Fries – with a side of spicy tomato sauce and fontina, gorgonzola truffle sauce ($10). I always say polenta is best served deep-fried!
The polenta fries at Church Aperitivo Bar didn’t disappoint. They were perfectly fried and while they tasted great on their own, I really enjoyed the two condiments it came with. The fontina, gorgonzola truffle sauce was my favourite of the two – thick, cheesy and packed full of flavour.
The second dish that arrived was the Gnocco Fritto – with stracchino cheese, prosciutto di parma and truffle oil ($15). I’ve never seen this dish on a menu before and wasn’t quite sure what to expect. It consisted of three fried dough pillows, several pieces of prosciutto and a small bowl of stracchino cheese in truffle oil. Our server advised us to cut the fried dough in half and to stuff them with the prosciutto and cheese – like a hot pocket but 100x better!
The fried dough was hollow inside and was the perfect vehicle for the soft cheese and prosciutto. It was our favourite dish of the evening and a must-order at Church Aperitivo Bar!
The last appetizer we ordered was the Meatballs – veal and pork with house made sugo ($9). The order came with three large meatballs which were surprisingly light and fluffy. While Mike really enjoyed the meatballs, I didn’t find them to be anything special. They paled in comparison to the polenta fries and gnocco fritto.
The menu has a selection of fresh pasta, all of which come in single orders or communal orders (meant for four people to share). We ordered a single order of Pappardelle – in a wild boar ragu with porcini mushrooms ($16). The pappardelle was thinner than I had expected as it was more like tagliatelle. Nevertheless, it was cooked to a perfect al dente with small chunks of boar mixed into it. A satisfying dish for a cold evening.
Overall, I had a solid meal at Church Aperitivo Bar. While I can’t say the food was mind-blowing, it was a really nice comforting meal in a beautiful setting. A great spot to grab a drink and a small bite to eat!
At a glance:
• Located in an old church at the corner of Queen and Dovercourt
• An Italian menu which is perfect for sharing
• The gnocco fritto dish is a must order
Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 4 stars
• Service: 3 stars
• Atmosphere: 4 stars