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Review: Buonanotte, Charles Khabouth’s clubby Italian resto-lounge

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Buonanotte  2 stars
19 Mercer St., 416-599-7246
buonanotte.com

Charles Khabouth does two things very well: pounding nightclubs and fancy restaurants. This new resto-lounge, the Toronto counterpart to Montreal’s Buonanotte, highlights his knack for both. The place looks like one of Khabouth’s King West clubs, with underdressed female wait staff and low-slung lounge furniture, and the kitchen turns out confident classic Italian food. Ridiculously moist beef and veal meatballs in a puddle of tangy marinara sauce are a terrific start, followed by lusciously al dente tagliatelle sautéed simply with mushrooms and olive oil. A Neapolitan pizza comes out of the wood-fired oven with a perfectly scorched rim, chewy centre, and flavourful rosemary, pancetta, brie and potato toppings. For dessert, a crisp, creamy floral mille foglie layers airy sheets of pastry with wine-poached pear slices and vanilla custard. The well-chosen Italian wine list has options for misers ($13 flutes of bubbly) and millionaires (a $1,000 Brunello). Come 11 p.m., the music thumps, the dance floor fills up and the Grey Goose flows.

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