Bar Ardo Delivers Worldly Sicilian Fare to Toronto

The latest from the hospitality group behind the Michelin-recognized ARDO is right at home in its regal surroundings.

Bar ARDO in Toronto

A Michelin-recognized restaurant group has opened its third location on a quiet stretch of Toronto’s King Street East, in the heart of the design district. Bar Ardo, the latest restaurant from Roberto Marotta and Jacqueline Nicosia—the husband-wife team behind Ardo, which is located mere blocks away from its younger sibling—has established Ardo Hospitality Group (which also operates Dova in Cabbagetown and Vivi Imports, an importer of Sicilian foodstuffs) as the restaurant royalty on this already regal street.


Bar ARDO Delivers Worldly Sicilian Fare to Toronto


Located at the corner of Jarvis and King, with views toward the stunning gothic revival spire of the Cathedral Church of St. James, Bar Ardo occupies a smartly modernized three-storey brick building of the type often seen along old Toronto’s main thoroughfares. The large street-facing window bathes the main dining space’s whitewashed brick walls, marble bistro tables, and soft-toned velvet and rattan seating in ample light. Throughout, artwork by the renowned Italian painter Sergio Fiorentino adds an azure blaze to Bar Ardo’s otherwise muted colour palette. At the restaurant’s rear, a large bar with enough seating to play host to more than a few parties of hungry diners almost imperceptibly churn out drinks thanks to its dimmed lighting and the space’s soft acoustics.






Like Ardo before it, Bar Ardo trades primarily in elevated Sicilian fare garnished with a dash of chef Marotta’s personal flair. The starters tend toward the lighter side, with a heavy focus on simple vegetable-focused dishes and airily thin cuts of cured meat. The standout carciofo (Italian for artichoke) sees its namesake vegetable—still snappy from the preservation—topped with capers, mint, pecorino cheese, and a hefty spoonful of breadcrumbs, adding textural variance to the otherwise homogenous-feeling dish. Only two pastas appear on the menu, and diners willing to skip the carbs will be rewarded by the menu’s four meaty secondi. Of particular note is the steak frites-influenced filetto—a five-ounce tenderloin served with a demi-glace, fries, and a mayo Italianized with an ample amount of lemon. Unlike its French inspiration, this is bistro fare that leaves just a little bit of room for dessert (or a spritz).




The small but smart wine list features bottles from Italy’s greatest regions as well others from throughout Europe. For the most part, the cocktail menu is filled with riffs on old classics, including three negroni variations. The Chef negroni takes the classic recipe and spins it on its head to great success by infusing the Campari with coffee and adding a splash of intensely bitter Amaro Tosolini. For those who don’t imbibe, or are taking a break from it, the expansive zero-proof cocktail list offers alcohol-free renditions of classic cocktails as well as novel new ones. The Dry Piña, a zero-proof take on the classic Piña Colada, replaces white rum with non-alcoholic whisky to recreate the beloved seaside bevvy convincingly enough that it transports non-drinkers to sunnier climes, whether  a Caribbean beach or the idyllic Sicilian countryside that inspired Bar Ardo and its stunning dishes.



Bar ARDO Toronto