I am always on the hunt for unique restaurants and eateries in cities. I am a firm believer that a restaurant or establishment needs something unique to attract large numbers of clients, setting them above the rest. As I humbly attempt to complete the heavenly centenary bucket list in honour of my Grandfather’s 100th birthday, I made it a mission to find establishments to feature for offering a unique dish and impressing my palate. And through this, I found La Palma just outside Little Italy in the heart of Toronto. An upscale Italian restaurant serving a revolutionary 100 layer lasagna.

La Palma - Home to 100 Layer Lasagna in Toronto
La Palma – Home to 100 Layer Lasagna in Toronto

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About La Palma

In the search for finding a hip new eatery to try in Toronto, and in doing so supporting local tourism over large chain establishments, I came across this hip and interesting eatery that sits just outside the Little Italy village in Toronto, just at the cusp of Trinity Bellwoods. For a swanky upscale Italian restaurant, being so close to its cultural borough within the GTA, I found to be a smidgen cheeky (in a good way!) as they are located this close to rivals only a block over…clever. Clever indeed.

A few more Tidbits:

  • The owners first restaurant gained much popularity and acclaim in Toronto, warranting the opening of this second hip eatery.
  • The owners saw a great similarity with Venice Beach, California and the Trinity Bellwoods Toronto community.
  • The aesthetic of the restaurant was also inspired by the eclectic vibe of Venice Beach, California.

Location

  • La Palma is located at Dundas West and Euclid streets in downtown Toronto. It is open 7 days a week, and I would highly recommend a reservation! They can be tough to get, so keep trying as it definitely is worth the efforts. Parking can also be an issue! There is a Green P parking lot across the street, but it is tiny and fills up quickly, especially on the weekends.
La Palma - Home to the 100 Layer Lasagna in Toronto
La Palma – Home to the 100 Layer Lasagna in Toronto

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La Palma’s Aesthetics

As mentioned above, the owners of La Palma attribute some of the decor inspiration to their observations of Venice Beach California. And after dining here, I must say that Venice Beach definitely had a positive impact.

Chic and Modern Decor at La Palma
Chic and Modern Decor at La Palma

One of the first observations that stood out to me was the brightness of the restaurant. Most eating establishments are darker and more intimate in lighting features. And although the main purpose of dining out is to mingle and enjoy the company of those with you, some of us are chronic photographers of food and appreciate the ability to nab an impressive shot to make our friends and family jealous. I loved how here the atmosphere was not only welcoming to the socializing folk who left their phones in their purses, but also to those of us who are influencers and wish to promote the restaurant for its many positive qualities.

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy an intimate setting by candlelight and under romantically dimmed lighting; however, sometimes a bright and cheery ambiance is very welcoming, especially if weather conditions are of the duller sort.

Bright and Aesthetically pleasing interior
Bright and Aesthetically pleasing interior

The second observation I had was the open kitchen concept. This impressed me as guests can see their meals being created. There is no behind closed doors cooking and with the copper open ovens and chefs busily putting their skills to work, guests are comforted seeing culinary expertise put to good use.

Bright Open Kitchen at La Palma Toronto
Bright Open Kitchen at La Palma Toronto

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Now, Onto the Food – 100 Layer Lasagna and More…

The upscale, yet plentiful menu at La Palma had a nice selection of starters, mains, and sides. With each choice in Italian, I was happy the staff were able to explain what they were and suggest accompanying drinks.

Starter – Charcuterie Tray

We decided to enjoy one of their charcuterie trays. This dish consisted of cured meat, cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes. If you wanted bread as well, that would be an extra fee. We loved this appetizer as it was not huge. The worst is when starters arrive and are massive undertakings before your main course. We opted to have the dish without the bread, but i’m sure this addition would have made it equally satisfying.

Charcuterie Tray Starter
Charcuterie Tray Starter – La Palma Toronto

The Specialty Drinks

As this was a special lunch, we couldn’t go without trying a couple of their specialty drinks. After browsing the plentiful wine and cocktails menu, we decided on two of their original libations. Both completely different in flavour, the specialty drinks we chose to wash down our meals totally hit the spot, while satisfying our thirsty palates.

Oceano Fresco

I loved this drink. I cannot do strong specialty drinks or cocktails so the refreshing softer alternative, one-shot or two-shot options suit me much better than the stronger spirits. This drink combined tonic, grapefruit, mint, watermelon and a pinch of salt together to make such a delicious concoction.

Oceano Fresco - Signature Drinks
Oceano Fresco – Specialty Drinks

Menotti

This was my husband’s choice and had to be the perfect option for him! It was a stronger concoction than the one I chose with a shot each of scotch, Kahlua, and bourbon, mixed with espresso and a hint of cinnamon on top. This drink tasted delicious and had the perfect amount of each flavour. It definitely set the tone for the revolutionary meal he was about to consume.

Menotti - one of La Palma's Specialty Drinks
Menotti – one of La Palma’s Specialty Drinks

 

Enjoying his Menotti Specialty Cocktail
Enjoying his Menotti Specialty Cocktail

The Mains

Now for the highlight of the lunch. The moment you have been waiting for. It’s now time for the mains with one in particular setting La Palma above so many other Italian restaurants in the city…

The Revolutionary 100 Layer Lasagna

100 Layer Lasagna on the menu
100 Layer Lasagna on the menu

My husband is always such a great sport in trying dishes while we explore locally or abroad. He has a sensitive palate when it comes to flavours both sweet and savoury, and is the perfect culinary connoisseur.

When I suggested we try La Palma and that they served a 100 layer lasagna, he jumped to the opportunity to give it a try.

And then, it arrived. 100 layer lasagna of bolognese and mozzarella…

100 Layer Lasagna served at La Palma, Toronto
100 Layer Lasagna served at La Palma, Toronto

 

100 Layer Lasagna served at La Palma, Toronto
100 Layer Lasagna served at La Palma, Toronto

 

La Palma’s Revolutionary 100 Layer Lasagna Toronto

 

100 Layer Lasagna served at La Palma, Toronto
100 Layer Lasagna served at La Palma, Toronto

 

My husband enjoying his 100 Layer Lasagna served at La Palma, Toronto
My husband enjoying his 100 Layer Lasagna served at La Palma, Toronto

Verdict:

This 100 layer lasagna scored close to ten on the scale of flavour, taste, texture, and satisfaction when consumed and enjoyed at La Palma. He said the crispy top combined with the layers inside, shredded fresh cheese and parsley, soaked in the bolognese sauce, made for a truly satisfying lunch and one of the best lasagnas he has ever eaten. He highly recommends that all who visit Toronto reserve a table and give the lasagna a try.

Pancetta, Ricotta, Rosemary, & pickled Chili Pizza

I felt since my wonderful husband ordered the lasagna that I try something different on the menu for additional feedback on the culinary delights of La Palma. So I ordered this pizza of simple, yet sublime ingredients.

Upon arrival, the rosemary stuck out to my senses. A favourite herb of mine for not only taste, but also its medicinal benefits, I knew if rosemary was involved in the culinary dish, it would definitely be a hit.

Combine my favourite herb with the soft cheese and the tangy flavour of the chili, and you have a pizza made for even the snobbiest of pizza eaters. It was such a delicious pizza and the most ideal size. Nobody really needs to eat pizzas the size of those ordered for delivery. A smaller option of around 4-6 slices deliciously made with subtle flavours then baked, makes for a totally satisfying meal.

Pancetta Rosemary Pizza
Pancetta Rosemary Pizza

 

Pancetta Rosemary Pizza

 

Pancetta Rosemary Pizza
Enjoying my Pancetta Rosemary Pizza

Grilled Broccolini

Another signature dish, the grilled broccolini is cooked over an open flame and seasoned thoroughly with chili and garlic. My husband seriously devoured these greens and boldly stated they were one of the best things he has ever eaten. I highly recommend nabbing a side of these babies with whatever main you order. They truly complement anything and everything on the La Palma menu. Plus, their rich green colour and crunchy texture make it ultimately satisfying. There’s nothing worse than overcooked greens that look gray with a soggy texture is there!? (it’s up there in disappointment with a bad muffin for breakfast…)

Grilled Broccolini - La Palma Toronto
Grilled Broccolini – La Palma Toronto

 

Grilled Broccolini
Grilled Broccolini – La Palma Toronto

Dessert Selection

La Palma had a good sized dessert selection where each choice paired perfectly with one of their offered espresso beverages, teas and local ice wines.

Bombolone

These Italian donuts stuffed with plum jelly and rolled in icing sugar were a sweet tooth’s delight. Served warm, upon cutting, the jam oozed out giving the palate that perfect combination of textures, flavours, and sublimity.

Bombolone - Dessert Selection
Bombolone – Dessert Selection

 

Bombolone - Dessert Selection
Bombolone – Dessert Selection

 

Cutting through the Bombolone – Dessert Selection

Mille Feuille

I had my first experience with Mille Feuille surprisingly in Barcelona , Spain. I know right!? Since that day I have given it the title it deserves in my top 5 favourite desserts to enjoy. I definitely gravitate to it when it appears as a dessert selection on any restaurant menu. So, of course when I saw it as a dessert selection at La Palma’s I just had to choose it for my final indulgence.

Mille Feuille - a Dessert selection at La Palma
Momo the Mascot with the Mille Feuille – a Dessert selection at La Palma

 

Mille Feuille - a Dessert selection at La Palma
Mille Feuille – a Dessert selection at La Palma

Boy oh boy was this Mille Feuille an incredible conclusion to an already satisfying meal. I loved the crunch of the pastry combined with the custard. The textures mixed together made for a completely satisfying experience on the palate. Complete the sublimity with the chocolate shavings and you have a dessert that clearly belongs on every dessert selection and on everyone’s favourite list.

 

Mille Feuille - a Dessert selection at La Palma
Mille Feuille – a Dessert selection at La Palma

Espresso Drinks

To wash down are delicious dessert selections, we opted for espresso drinks offered at the restaurant. My hubby chose a macchiato and I opted for my usual latte. Each was perfectly crafted with a lovely and artistic foam art for the finishing touch.

Macchiato Crafted at La Palma - Espresso Drinks are the best with dessert!
Macchiato Crafted at La Palma – Espresso Drinks are the best with dessert!

 

Latte Crafted at La Palma - Espresso Drinks are the best with dessert!
Latte Crafted at La Palma – Espresso Drinks are the best with dessert!

Final Thoughts

La Palma is definitely a local Italian restaurant in Toronto that should be included on any visitor’s itinerary and in the meal plans of Torontonians. It not only has a hip and welcoming atmosphere, but it brings delicious food, friendly service, and of course its unmatched 100 layer lasagna to even the shyest of foodies.

This wonderful restaurant landed on our Heavenly Centenary Foodie Bucket list! Follow along and tick off the establishments you have visited too!

100 Layer Lasagna at La Palma Toronto
100 Layer Lasagna at La Palma Toronto

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