On the heels of the star-studded Toronto International Film Festival in early September, The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto made an industry-rattling announcement of its own: The Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel revealed that renowned toque Oliver Glowig would become the new consulting chef at its signature restaurant, TOCA, already an exciting addition to Toronto’s eclectic, ever-growing dining scene.
Glowig hails from Rome’s Ristorante Oliver Glowig, a restaurant he opened in 2010. That establishment, nestled within the sophisticated Aldrovandi Villa Borghese hotel, provides a luxurious backdrop for Glowig to demonstrate his creative approach to Italian cuisine — a practice that he will now showcase consistently at The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto after successful pop-ups as a guest chef there over the past year.
Glowig will swap TOCA’s Mediterranean menu for a predominantly Italian one, informed by his German background and experiences at Munich’s Acquarello as well as the Amalfi Coast’s Capri Palace Hotel & Spa.
Working closely with and training the dedicated team at TOCA, Glowig and sous chef Jitin Gaba launched the new, specially designed menu earlier this month. Crafting dishes such as Glowig’s signature lightly cooked scampi with artichoke hearts and burrata, the staff has worked tirelessly to uphold the toque’s high standards for local and seasonal ingredients throughout the menu.
With daily housemade pastas and mains, the kitchen offers dishes such as a pillowy-soft ravioli capresi stuffed with caciotta (a creamy-salty cheese made specially for this Ritz-Carlton) and marjoram in a cherry tomato and fresh basil sauce. The mixed pasta with potatoes, lobster and smoked mozzarella showcases different styles and textures in a rustic, colorful way. As for mains, the seemingly pedestrian braised beef cheek melts in your mouth while large-format dishes like roasted Cornish hen and the 32-ounce dry-aged Fiorentina steak prove excellent for sharing.
But the dishes are far from the only things that catch the eye at TOCA. The main dining room, chef’s table and private tables evoke warmth through wood paneling, earthy tones, plush chairs and overhead copper lighting fixtures. Still, the centerpiece of the dining room is TOCA’s glass-encased cheese cave, one of only two in Canada. Much like the extensive wine program overseen by director Taylor Thompson, TOCA’s cheese selections will shift significantly to more robust, artisanal Italian offerings under Glowig’s tutelage.
Even with the sweeping changes at the establishment, the hotel’s ultra-luxurious Market Brunch — going well beyond omelettes and croissants, the lavish weekend spread includes everything from a raw seafood bar to a chocolate fountain — will continue.