TORONTO — Gusto 54 Restaurant Group, led by owner Janet Zuccarini, has opened its newest eatery with the recent patio opening of Azhar Kitchen + Bar. Located at 96 Ossington Ave. in Toronto, the eatery opened its doors as a marketplace in December of 2020 and will officially launch its curbside patio tomorrow.
Azhar marks the 10th concept in Zuccarini’s eclectic portfolio of restaurants, which includes Trattoria Nervosa, Gusto 101, Gusto 501, Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen and Pai & Kinn in partnership with Jeff and Nuit Regular. Designed by Navigate Design and built by Atlas Worx, the restaurant is an intimate home for hand-made Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern inspired food and drink centred around an open kitchen and wood-burning oven.
The menu has been created by esteemed chef Stuart Cameron and is inspired by traditional flavours and techniques from across the Mediterranean and Middle East. It features dishes such as Mujadara Rice, Wagyu Shish and Manti Dumplings with harissa and date. At the heart of the restaurant is a custom-built wood-fired oven where fresh breads are baked, blistered, charred and served fresh daily as an accompaniment to an accoutrement of handmade fare. Ingredient sourcing is paramount to Azhar’s menu, where fresh produce from local farmers and imported spice blends are showcased across the small plates — each designed for sharing.
The bar program is a complement to Eastern-Mediterranean cuisine, with tea syrups, dried flowers and house fermentations underpinning the cocktail offerings. The wine list features a wide selection of fresh natural wines as well as Old-World producers and changes regularly to pair with the seasonality seen in the menu. A small selection of craft beer is also be available with a focus on collaborations with local producers.
Azhar’s patio will be open Wednesdays to Sunday from 5 p.m. and tables will be available by reservation only. Azhar Marketplace remains opening during the day from 10 a.m to 5 p.m.