Coco Lezzone Italian Restaurant has re-appeared in uptown Toronto. The new location on Avenue Road just south of Davenport will bring more Italian flavor to the middle of the city. This spot is conveniently located between The Annex and Yorkville and the restaurant ennobles both neighbourhoods.
The upscale eatery was famous in the mid-nineties for its excellent Italian food, high quality martini bar, and celebrity clientele. Twenty years later, Coco Lezzone has re-appeared in this new location with new staff, and a new menu, but with the same dedication to sophisticated flavours, big portions and select vintage wines.
The restaurant itself contains some clever contrasts. The dining room is a cozy plush affair ringed with chrome and barn board. There are five flat screen televisions built right into the walls of this joint, and these screens are always tuned to European soccer matches or Maple Leaf hockey. The TV gives the room some added energy and excitement; they’re fitted right into walls in such as way as to not diminish the upscale décor of the rear dining area.
Osso Buco at Coco Lezzone
As the waitress sets down the meal I marvel at the appearance of the meat and can already smell the saffron flavoured risotto. Slow cooked for hours, the meat is as soft as the leg of an angel, but its that creamy yellow rice below that makes it all so very delicious. Real saffron rice is not something you encounter very often, as distributors here in North America often pay more than $2,000 per pound for this rare spice. Saffron is far and away the most expensive food on earth, even more unobtainable than truffles, caviar, and real balsamic vinegar.
Its history is epic; its flavor is revered. The saffron infused risotto delighted my sense of taste and left my memory of Coco Lezzone’s Osso Buco well placed among the best meals I’ve ever eaten in Toronto.
This is exactly how Coco Lezzone made its name down in Little Italy back in 1994 when it was a star attraction in that premier Toronto ‘destination neighbourhood’. The upscale eatery was a fixture on College for the business after work crowd because of a high quality martini bar, generous appetizer menus and celebrity clientele.
Twenty years later, Coco Lezzone has reappeared in a new location with new staff and a new menu, but with the same irreverent style that presents old world cuisine in an exciting, modern restaurant experience.