First Look: La Palma brings a taste of Venice Beach to Dundas West


Published:

Image: Yvonne Tsui

Craig Harding and Alexandra Hutchison, the duo behind Campagnolo have partnered with Mercatto on a new venture called La Palma. It’s in the old Café Brasiliano space across Dundas from their existing restaurant.

La Palma’s concept is described as “Venice Beach-inspired but elevated for Toronto” says Hutchison, who designed the space.  On a trip to Venice Beach, she noticed that the “new art-centric community and vibrant street art” was similar to the Dundas West neighborhood that La Palma calls home. “Trinity-Bellwoods is like the beach of Toronto” she adds, pointing to the flocks of Torontonians who sunbathe on its grassy stretches.  

The gigantic mural pays homage to the “process of art.” Hutchison commissioned local artist Madison Van Rijn for the thoughtful mishmash of classic art and street art – splashes of teal, a nod to classic watercolour; black splotches, a nod to street art and a bit of pink “just for fun.” 

The marble-top tables were designed and inspired by one of Hutchison’s favourite artists, Constantin Brâncuși who is known for totemic sculptures. Brass and wood accents are seen throughout the restaurant, such as on the wall sconces. On restaurant design, Hutchison says that the “space has to reflect the food coming out of the kitchen” and she designed the space to “draw the eye to the kitchen, the most celebrated part of the space.”  


(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 

The servers’ uniforms, designed by Pink Tartan have a nautical inspiration — the tunic neckline meant to evoke a “beachy vacation.”  

La Palma is a day-to-night spot with takeaway coffee, pastries and bread to grab and go. The food is “a little different but still within our repertoire” says Hutchison. It’s a “fresher, lighter style of food,” says Harding. The wood burning oven and Argentinian grill also allow for more breadth of cooking styles.  


(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 

The pastry program is run by Stefania Giansante, a native of Abruzzo who has a background in traditional Italian pastries. One should save room for dessert. Be it for the Biscotti di Dama, described as “lady’s kisses,” two cookies wedged together with a fresh lemon filling or the Millefoglia, Italy’s answer to that flaky, many-layered French delicacy laced with pastry cream and a drizzle of passionfruit-mango sauce. But Giansante is also taking traditional recipes and playing with different ingredients, like the Portuguese olive oil she uses in her olive oil cake. There are also cannelés and grilled donuts on the menu glazed with honey and maple syrup for caramelization. 


(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 

Daniel Castro (Toronto Temperance Society) is in charge of the cocktail program at La Palma with a focus on spritzes to keep with the light and refreshing food options. He researched cocktail bars in California and says that the cocktails at La Palma can please the average guest but also those with more discerning palates. The Astra, for example, is inspired by a traditional martini but when crafting all the cocktails Castro asks himself “where can we go from here?” The end result is a cocktail menu that consists of drinks that are “well-balanced and in harmony.”    

Harding sums up La Palma best by saying it’s “like an Italian on vacation – a little more fun and playful.”

La Palma, 849 Dundas St. W., 416-368-4567


(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 


(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 


(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 


(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 


(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 


(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 


(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 


(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 


(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 


(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 

Edit Module

Join the conversation and have your say by commenting below. Our comment system uses a Facebook plugin. Please note that you'll have to turn off some ad-blockers in order to see the comments.

Edit Module

Yvonne is a freelance food and drink writer and the Director of Brand Experience at U-Feast, which curates unique, off-menu dining experiences.  Always in search of delicious. Decor and service be damned, food is king. Follow her @life_of_y and @u_feast.  Warning: don't look at her "feed" if you're hungry.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

You may also like...

Mexico meets Japan

Mexico meets Japan

Posted 11 hours ago
Madame Boeuf and Flea, a new eatery like no other

Madame Boeuf and Flea, a new eatery like no other

At Madame Boeuf and Flea it’s all backyard party, all the time. The newest arm of the Anthony Rose empire — squirelled away behind Bar Begonia — is dotted with picnic tables, retro concert posters (Grateful Dead, anyone?) and, let’s be honest, a patron or two looking to get their late afternoon drank on.
Posted 1 day ago
Sixteen restaurants sign on to cook regional Italian food for 2nd Giro d'Italia

Sixteen restaurants sign on to cook regional Italian food for 2nd Giro d'Italia

This weekend is the kickoff for the second installment of Giro d'Italia, Toronto's now semi-annual Italian Restaurant Week. This is a sort of thematic, focused Summerlicious that involves 16 local establishments each producing a prix fixe menu based on the cuisine from a specific Italian region.
Posted 5 days ago
First Look: Wong’s offers a pan-Asian take on ice cream to east-end neighbourhood

First Look: Wong’s offers a pan-Asian take on ice cream to east-end neighbourhood

Toronto’s love for ice cream lives on, from the charcoal variety to the confection-topped kind we just can’t get enough. Cue Wong’s Ice Cream, located at Gerrard and Broadview.
Posted 6 days ago
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit Module