Dundas West might slowly be becoming one of my favourite areas of the city. It’s unassuming, chilled out, unpretentious and home to some of my favourite cocktail bars. The only thing I would change is their weekend opening hours. How is a girl supposed to get day drunk if you only open at 6!?
I was also able to discover the many charms of Dundas West because I worked just up the street on College. A hop down to Dundas for lunch meant yummy food and getting my steps in for the day. That’s actually how I found myself at La Palma the first time. A few of the gals from the office were heading over for lunch so I figured why not take advantage and try something new.
La Palma is (as you would have guessed by now) on Dundas between Manning and Euclid. They are what you would call a ‘day to night’ resto meaning you can pop in on your way to work and get coffee, pastries and baked goods, come through for a casual lunch or plan a lovely dinner out.
They are definitely more on the casual side but the level of cuteness is on an ultimate high. I mean when the waitstaff’s uniforms are from Pink Tartan how can you not be anything but adorable? Please let the rumor be true that they might consider selling these!
Picture Credit: Now Toronto
Owners Craig Harding and Alexandra Hutchison, who also manage Campagnolo down the street, have described the vibe as California Cool. I believe in an interview they talked about paying homage to the streets of Venice Beach which you can see through the art deco inspired finishes and airy, artsy murals. The space is also super bright and aesthetically clean which I particularly love especially when trying to capture insta-worthy photos.
I’ve now dined here twice, both for lunch and it will not be my last. The casual, yet creative Italian fare, cocktail selection and top-notch service will absolutely make this a go-to on my list. What I love most about their menu is the ability to mix and match your dishes. They have an extensive list of “sides” or vegetable dishes which pair perfectly with any of their pizzas, pastas or entrees. The menu is designed to be shared and they recommend 2-3 dishes per person which I can say is right on point. Over my two visits I have tried:
Baby Gem Salad – candied walnuts, red onion, cherry tomatoes, fried capers and pecorino
Heirloom Carrots – toasted sunflower tahini and charmoula
sauce gribiche and crispy prosciutto di parma
Chorizo Meatballs – baked in shepard peppers
Pomodoro, Basil, Burratini Pizza
Their Baby Gem Salad is what I would describe as a marriage between a caesar and greek salad. The creaminess of a caesar but the fresh ingredients of a greek salad. The candied walnuts are a perfect addition to the salty and bitterness of the onions/capers.
All of their vegetable dishes do a really good job of not overpowering the vegetable with too many sauces/fixings. You still get the authenticity of the actual vegetable itself. The heirloom carrots were a mix of things that didn’t even look like carrots but perfectly roasted and fresh. No complaints about the asparagus either and with crumbly prosciutto how can there be.
The meatballs I had on both occasions. I love love love meatballs. And these were unlike any that I’ve had before. They were served in their own mini cast iron pan but the presentation was almost too pretty to eat. The meatballs are baked in a pepper. Not any pepper, one that is about the size of my forearm. If these pictures do it any justice you’ll see what I mean. The taste also does not disappoint, the kick from the pepper blends perfectly with their house-made sauce and toasty bread for dipping is all this girl needs.
The pizza was good – simple dish to accompany our selection of vegetables and meatballs but nothing to write home about. I don’t know if I would order it next time but I’m dying to try one of their pasta dishes, namely the hundred layered lasagna.
Our waitress was also so lovely the last time I was there. I devoured the glass of rose I was having so she brought the bottle over to let me snap a photo of the label. Bottom line, if you are in the area and are looking to pop in quickly or sit down for lunch this is the perfect spot. If you find yourself here for dinner you’re in luck because the cocktail bars around the corner will actually be open for your post dinner libations.
Till next time, eat and be merry!
Discover La Palma
Address: 849 Dundas Street West
$$ – $85/2 people for 4 dishes and a drink each