Top Chef finalist's Rob Rossi and co-owner Ryan Sarfred have opened Bestellen (which means 'to order' in German) on the College and Dovercourt strip. The space, a former IGA grocery store, has been transformed completely with reclaimed wood and exposed brick to create an intimate, rustic feel and a glass encased meat locker for patrons to gawk at all the cuts of meat.
Towards the darker dining area, there is a wall canvas of meat art featuring different cuts and whole suckling pig painted on it. This is definitely a space to take your carnivorous friends and not those who are too picky!!! At the back is an open kitchen so you can watch all the food porn you would like being prepped and cooked for you.
Ryan, who manages the front of house, brings us over their house made charcuterie board to enjoy over our cocktails. All the cured meats are Bestellen's labour of love and they all have different flavour profiles which is great. On the board were salumi, sausages, terrine, thin slices of lard, and pickled vegetables. We especially enjoyed the terrine with pistachio as it gave a good crunch and texture and I loved the lardo for the 'melt in your mouth' richness factor. However I've had some interesting experiences in my past with it so I can't indulge in too much of it. My only complaint is that the cured meats were salty and we needed more bread to cut the salt with.
We move to our table in the busy and noisy dining room. We find it harder to have an intimate conversation here as it's difficult to hear each other and so we make friends with our neighbors who are seated very close to us. We find out they are the tenants that live above the restaurant and have seen it transform from the grocery store into this new space. They are dining here for the first time as well and are very impressed with it. The level of service that is provided by Ryan and the other servers are great. They constantly check in on both our tables and make small talk when they are able. Even chef Rob Rossi stops in at his neighbors to welcome them which is very nice.
Anyway I hope to come back and try a few more items in the next months as they do have a great wine list and it has all the right ingredients to be the next 'hot spot'.
972 College St (West of Dovercourt)
Toronto, ON M6H 1A5