EDNA and VITA is the revamp of Reds, on Adelaide Street in the financial district of Toronto. The 6,500-square-foot space boasts two distinct levels. EDNA is the sophisticated upstairs lounge with a wine-focused bar. VITA, which of course means life in Italian, boasts a sprawling bar and generous patio to the mix.

Both are completely remodelled into a modern and eclectic space. A glamorous staircase connects the two spaces, making a grand entrance here is just a matter of moving.

EDNA AND VITA INVITE YOU TO UPSCALE AND APPROACHABLE ITALIAN DINING

EDNA and VITA - VITA
Upstairs, EDNA offers floor-to-ceiling views of Adelaide and a lounge for lingering

Housed in the First Canadian Place means heaps of foot traffic, and EDNA + VITA is downright impossible to miss. A dramatic entry flanked with fresh greenery beckons you in. Friendly service and a warm welcome awaits behind the gorgeous wooden door. The design is both modern and incredibly warm.

Posh and pretty drinks are a great beginning. Leaning towards Italian aperitif-based beverages, EDNA + VITA exudes authenticity. An entire menu is devoted to Negronis (like this Enzoni Cocktail above, bottom right $19). Bellissima! Other smart options include the Hot Mess Margarita ($18, right, top) with spicy oregano and agave. The Passion-Star Martini ($18, above, left) offers a sweeter note, heightened by prosecco.

Spirit-free but full of flavour, the Prickly Pear Spritz ($8.50) is just one of the punchy alcohol-free drinks on offer. With a delicate lemon garnish and mesmerizing gold flecks, who needs booze when drinks are this fun?

EDNA AND VITA SET THE BAR HIGH

EDNA and VITA non alcoholic

Wine is also worthy of exploration. Deep on the Italian reds, like old-world charmers like Amarone Della Valpolicella ($120) or Brunello di Montalcino ($160), which of course pair brilliantly with Chef’s creations. Beer is available both on tap and in cans and bottles. Local lagers and imports make it difficult to choose.

EDNA and VITA brunello di montalcino

The menu is meant to be shared and evolve, like a mini tasting menu. Antipasti brings shareable and crave-able bites, like Whipped Ricotta + Beets ($18.50, left) with ripe tomatoes, kalamata olives and crisp basil, this delectable combo is a signature summer dish. Polpo Puttanesca ($24.50, centre) brings tender octopus, capers and stewed tomatoes together for a remarkable combination that displays the solid cooking techniques of the kitchen. Another summer-friendly find belongs to the Burnt Orange + Burrata ($28, left). Italians know a thing or two about cheese, and here it culminates in one stunning dish.

Chef Gord Mackie is leading this capable team. He’s been in the industry for decades, helming this and other Service Inspired Restaurants, which previously owned Reds. EDNA + VITA‘s food menu shows the depth of his experience as a head chef.

EDNA and VITA Tonnarelli Shrimp Diavolo

The rest of the menu is broken down into Primi (pasta), Insalate (salad), Pizze (🍕), Principale (mains) and Dolci (dessert). If you have any food allergies, you’ll definitely want to scope out the interactive website. EDNA + VITA offers a drop-down menu where you can pre-plan your dining experience, eliminating some allergy anxiety.

Pastas like the Tonnarelli Shrimp Diavolo ($23, above) feel like they have a nonna’s touch. Tender shrimp are soaked in Calabrian tomato sauce. Sun-dried tomatoes and mini sweet peppers transport you to Tuscany.

ITALIAN FOOD IN THE HEART OF TORONTO

Pizzas are of course a celebrated feature here. Crispy, chewy dough, which can be made gluten-free come in a variety of flavours. We love the Bufalina Funghi ($25). The mushroom movement is more than a trend. Garlic, truffle ricotta and caramelized onions add a creamy aspect to this subtle and seductive pizza.

EDNA and VITA The Soprano Pizza

But top points go to the boss – The Soprano Pizza ($25). This combination of cured meats, honey and olives has been repeated again and again, but here is crowned with gorgonzola cheese, too. The addition of this crumbly blue is another nod to Italian roots.

Further proof of the kitchen’s depth goes to the rotating menu of market price mains. Daily imports allow the Chef to concoct new house features. Fresh Grouper ($mp, bottom, right) is a lovely lighter dish. A perfect tender portion of the grouper needs just a squeeze of lemon to sing. Meatier affairs like the Rib Eye Steak ($mp, bottom, right) replicate the steakhouse experience.

But you’ll have to save room for dessert. Yes, of course, you expect Tiramisu, but here sweets are decadent and unbridled. Order the Assaggini Board ($35, below). Encapsulating all the dolci is a fun way to finish any meal. Here, a massive Tiramisu buried in a rich cocoa dusting acts as a swimming pool for Walnut Biscotti. A trio of orange-scented Cannoli compete with a hazelnut-topped chocolate Espresso Ganache. It’s whimsical and perfect for sharing.

EDNA and VITA tiramisu dessert board

Approachable and amenable dining is the hot new trend for dining we can get behind. Bending to many dietary restraints and preferences make EDNA + VITA a breeze for hosting clients, friends and family.

EDNA + VITA is located at 77 Adelaide Street West. Find them @edna_vita

All images by Libby Roach.

Thank you to EDNA + VITA for hosting.