Parcheggio, the latest O&B outpost is now open at Bayview Village. Translating to parking lot, the name is a tongue and cheek reference to their concrete surroundings. Parcheggio is ushering in a new era for this particular property- one that has been transformed into countless iterations, but let’s try: Sunshine’s (where I slurped Banana Chocolate milkshakes before going to the movies, yeah BV rocked a theatre once upon a time), or Sierra Grill, where it was a senior salad bar situation, or finally, Origin North, a place I knew, loved and haunted, but sadly was misunderstood, a burger can, and should, be served medium rare, #justsayin’.
But the past is behind us, and here, this gleaming creation, housing Beauty BBQ, the top floor event space, and of course, our subject du jour Parcheggio. Renovated and parceled off from the open and airy, space that was once Origin North, the room now features a few PDR’s, a smaller more contained bar area and still the same large sprawling patio, muted from the Sheppard Avenue rumblings courtesy of the mature cedar hedges.
Service is warm and wonderful. From the first moment you enter Parcheggio, you get a sense that it won’t be your last time there. The corner bar is gleaming with bottles and warm green tiles, dotted with cheerful and of-the-moment succulents. Drinks are hand crafted, with a keen attention to detail. The Agrodolce ($13) brings Absolut Vodka with elderflower cordial and egg whites, a crown of foam dotted with Angostura Bitters. The Ultimo Volo ($14) is inventive, with Beefeater Gin, green chartreuse and pea flower syrup, it’s boozy and bubbly, served on the rocks with a lemon. Ladies who lunch will seek out the Sangria Bianco ($14) with Havana Club Rum, Peach Liqueur and at least one portion of your 5-10 requirements. A Negroni focused menu offers five takes on the Italian classic, and wines and beers are offered on tap too. It’s a good thing it’s just a short crawl home for this North York-er.
Cocktails minus the fun (aka mocktails) are the real deal here. Made with Seedlip, a distilled non-alcoholic spirit, the bar program is on point offering booze-free offerings and working them into convincing guilt-free libations. Think Moijitos and Margaritas with no chance of a hangover. That we can get behind!
In true O&B fashion, it all really comes down to cohesiveness. Meshing old world philosophies, doing things by hand, using techniques and recipes that invoke a bygone era, but classically remixing them the O&B way is a hallmark of their continued success. Chef Andrew Piccinin has worked his way up this empire of restaurants, working at Canoe, Jump and finally Leña Restaurante, before securing his lead role here at Parcheggio. Here, he injects his nonna’s practices into almost every dish, with a fleet of staff making noodles by hand, stocks by the gallon and absolutely no pizza oven in sight.
While the salad isn’t an exact replica of his grandmother’s, Piccinin Nonna’s Salad ($14) is a testament to her cooking philosophy. Chef Piccinin’s version uses the same ingredients, arugula, kale (both grown in a greenhouse nearby to ensure bite and texture) resting on a warm bed of creamy romano beans. It’s a rustic dish that Chef Andrew says his Nonna would whip up on the regular, with classic Italian finishes, a squeeze of fresh lemon and a handful of salty parm is all that’s required to season a salad this well balanced.
Aptly named, the Big, Saucy Veal & Bacon Meatballs ($13) comes three to an order, plated adorably and quite functionally in mini Tiffany blue pots, the meatballs are juicy and swimming in red sauce. They’re ground in house with bits of bacon and in house made cured meats for an authentic mouth feel. Arancini Caprese ($14) make a for a shareable start, made lovingly in the style of Nonna’s, here re-created with a focus on the stuff, that ooey gooey middle, crispy and pretty much to die for, topped with shaved parm and more sauce.
My favourite was definitely the hand made Tagliatelle Bolognese ($21). The ratio of sauce to noodle was spot on, it’s a towering heap of meaty carbness, you could share this but you won’t want to. This is the comfort food you crave.
Rigatoni alla Carbone ($18) marscapone is a Goodfellas-style classic. Swimming in sauce, the dish is a true representation of the Italian model. It’s beyond creamy, sweet and uncomplicated, no meat required, this dish is rich enough on its own.
Clearly we have a thing for round spherical objects, so finishing with the Zeppole Di Ricotta ($10) was a natural move. Sticky with caramelized honey syrup, the tiny donuts offer a perfect bite to crown the meal.
Familiar, comfortable and at a price point that will keep the condo-dwellers coming back, Chef Andrew has crushed the concept; easy, accessible Italian and finally brought some sparkle to this iconic property. From start to finish, this property would make any Nonna proud.
Parcheggio is open Tuesday to Sunday. Thanks to the O&B for inviting us out!
All photos by Libby Roach.