#FOOD: BAR PRIMA SET TO OPEN OCTOBER 20, 2023
Chefs Craig Harding and Julian D’Ippolito are set to launch their newest restaurant venture, Bar Prima on Oct. 20. The new Italian restaurant is anticipated to become an instant staple in the Queen West area, located at 1136 Queen Street West.
The neighbourhood Italian restaurant you’ve always dreamed of, Bar Prima will feature a luxurious atmosphere that evokes a sense of timelessness and nostalgia. The restaurant design will capture an old-school charm with dimly lit ambiance, creating an elevated and elegant atmosphere. From Italian disco inspired music to vintage design touches, Harding and D’Ippolito have curated a space that feels as though it’s been there forever.
The interior design is spearheaded by Future Studio with branding development by Biography Design. The restaurant features rich finishes of mahogany, klein blue leather and a striking marble inlay floor. Old school glamour in a smart, modern setting sums up Bar Prima’s ethos. Guests will be greeted by the warm glow of an amber glass facade, hand-made in Murano, Italy. Inside, the tables are adorned with timeless white tablecloths, infusing an element of refined charm underneath a molten, gold leaf ceiling.
Bar Prima’s kitchen will be helmed by Chef de Cuisine Nicholas Iaboni, who spent years at Buca Osteria & Enoteca before traveling to California to open Bar Monette in Santa Monica. The menu at Bar Prima will take a modern/minimal approach to Italian cuisine with a selection of classic Italian American dishes we all love, placing a focus on hand made pasta and well curated mains. Bar Prima’s take on a “Rockefeller” using East Coast Diver Scallops promises to be a fan favourite. You’ll also find modern takes on classics like Pasta al Forno, Sea Bream Acqua Pazza and Stone Fruit Jubilee. The wine list will showcase the classic labels from Italy with a strong focus on contemporary natural wines from Europe and beyond.
“Bar Prima is a refreshing twist on a classic Italian restaurant,” says Chef Craig Harding. “We’re excited to offer Toronto something new that we haven’t seen done before – elevated Italian cuisine with a backdrop of old-school charm.”
In 2010, Culinary Director Craig Harding opened his first restaurant in Toronto and has since developed a reputation for great food and a commitment to quality. He opened the popular Dundas West spot La Palma in 2017, followed shortly after by Yorkville’s Constantine in 2018. Prior to Bar Prima, Chef Julian D’Ippolito worked abroad in Europe for four years where he was Michelin trained in Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands. He returned to Toronto and became the Head Chef at Campagnolo until 2017 when he opened La Palma alongside Chef Harding, becoming a partner in 2019. He oversees La Palma, Constantine, and now Bar Prima as Executive Chef.
Every other week until opening, you can indulge in a series of curated Spotify playlists that will bring Bar Prima’s exciting atmosphere to life. Visit Bar Prima’s spotify here for playlists curated by friends and collaborators including Martina Sorbara of Dragonette and Jimmy Shaw of Metric, pulling inspiration from the likes of Quentin Tarantino, old Hollywood, Italian disco, Madonna and more.
Bar Prima is set to open on Oct. 20. Visit barprima.ca to stay updated on when reservations become available.