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Having been a big fan of Acadia, I was sorry to hear that it was closing its doors. When one door closes, another one opens, right? After closing Acadia, the owners renovated the space and opened up Red Sauce (@RedSauceToronto) in February.

Red Sauce

Owners Lindsay and Scott Selland wanted to create a more approachable and kid-friendly restaurant since they have two young children of their own. The décor gives the space a retro diner-type feel to it – very laid-back and casual.

The interior

Mike and I dropped by with his parents on a Sunday evening for dinner. It was pretty quiet the entire evening and for most of the meal, we were the only customers. Perhaps they’re more popular with the late-night crowd as the restaurant is open until 2am every night.

The bar

As the name suggests, Red Sauce serves Italian-American fare with a menu divided into sections for bread & cheese, salads and Italian sandwiches. As far as drinks go, they have a few beers on draught, a handful of wines and a selection of cocktails at $9 each including a draught negroni for $6.

Red Sauce

I’m a sucker for house-made sodas so I couldn’t resist ordering one. I decided on the Grapefruit Soda ($4) which was very delicious and refreshing. It really tasted like fresh grapefruit – definitely not the artificial stuff you get from concentrate at the store. The house-made sodas are also available in ginger, root beer or tonic.

Grapefruit Soda

To start, the four of us shared a large Caesar Salad ($6 small; $9 large). The lettuce was fresh, the salad wasn’t overdressed and the house-made croutons were tasty. Overall, a solid salad but nothing to write home about.

Caesar Salad (Large)

The other appetizer we shared was the Garlic Knots ($4). They were little bites of heaven, I tell ya! They had a nice crisp exterior and were very fluffy on the inside. You definitely know they’re garlic knots when they place the basket in front of you – you can smell the garlic a mile away.

Garlic Knots

For my main, I decided on the hero-sized Knuckle Sandwich ($9 roll; $12 hero; $17 platter). The sandwich consists of braised pork trotters which have been formed into a terrine, breaded in panko crumbs and fried. The fried terrine is then topped with some grainy mustard, spicy rapini and a tasty marinara sauce. Everything worked together wonderfully – I liked that the terrine had a crispy exterior and I felt the rapini was a fantastic choice to complement the meat.

Knuckle Sandwich (Hero size)

Mike ordered the full-sized Muffuletta ($8 for half; $14 for full), a popular sandwich in the south which originated from New Orleans. Red Sauce’s version consisted of rosemary focaccia filled with salami, capicola, mortadella, provolone cheese and pickled vegetables.

Muffuletta (Full Size)

We were really looking forward to trying this sandwich and unfortunately it was a bit of a let-down. Was it bad? No. But it certainly didn’t blow us away. It just felt like something was missing…

The Muffuletta

Mike’s parents ordered a hero-sized Veal Sandwich ($9 roll; $12 hero; $17 platter) which was served on a hoagie bun. His parents loved it. I had a bite and thought it was pretty tasty too with the extra gooey cheese. But price-wise, I have to say, it’s pretty steep for a veal sandwich.

Veal Sandwich (Hero Size)

Red Sauce has a couple desserts on their menu – tiramisu, salted caramel budino and Zeppoles ($4). We went with the latter which is probably the best bet for sharing. The zeppoles are available in chocolate, maple or tiramisu. We opted for the maple but we found that the filling didn’t have very much of a maple flavour. Nevertheless, they were some pretty tasty bite-sized doughnuts.


Overall, the food was pretty solid at Red Sauce but we ended up spending a bit more than I would’ve expected for Italian sandwiches. And while we enjoyed our meal, would I go out of my way to drop by again? Probably not. But if you’re in the area, it’s a good option.

At a glance:
• Located in the Acadia’s old space; same owners (Lindsay and Scott Selland)
• Serving up Italian-American fare (mainly Italian-style sandwiches)
• A couple beers on draught, a handful of wines and cocktails including a draught negroni
• Open every day from 11am to 2am
• No reservations
• Overall, a solid meal but wouldn’t go out of my way to drop by

Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 3.5 stars
• Service: 3 stars
• Atmosphere: 3 stars

Red Sauce on Urbanspoon

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