D.O.P. is a small place that merited the number 23 spot on the 2023 list of Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants. In the next few months, around Sept. they are moving a couple blocks away to the Grain Exchange Building because their current building is being demolished. This will allow them to have a bigger kitchen and add about 10 seats. The name roughly translates to “Protected Designation of Origin” meaning that its products are locally grown or made, as much as possible. The narrow place had small tables running the length of the room opposite the bar/counter seating. The end with the entrance had windows to the street and a couple of side-by-side tables and the other end houses the 6′ x 8′ kitchen. The server said they have a room downstairs for some prep work and storage but this was about the smallest kitchen ever. The room’s long wall is decorated with posters and art, has a high ceiling, music in the background and the small bare wood tables are set with cloth napkins. It filled up quickly and was quite noisy, with reservations being a must unless you’re a singleton for the bar seating. Service was friendly and helpful and the food started with a flourish but then fizzled slightly.
The server recommended starting with several antipasti and then moving to larger plates, with everything being to share. We did just that and they coursed it out nicely, especially since the small table could have quickly overloaded. We tried 3 of their Antipasti plates and they all interacted wonderfully. Full of flavors and textures, this was a winning course.
Stracciatella comes topped with grilled artichokes and pickled peppers and is served on both green onion and chili oils. Stacciatella is the filling inside a burrata ball, so it is creamy and very mildly flavored. The texture here was lovely and the flavor paired nicely with the grilled vegetables.
Nduja spread is a Calabrian spicy sausage and it worked fabulously with the stracciatella. It was a spicy addition to the mild flavors. It was a large portion for just 2 people, though.
Grilled bread is served with garlic oil. This was fantastic bread and the glue that brought the other plates together. It came with its own oil but there was plenty on the cheese plate or it was fun with a spread of the spicy sausage.
Panzanella was a salad of heirloom tomatoes, croutons, ricotta salata and tossed with a garlic vinaigrette. In between the antipasti and pasta this was a nice transition. The same bread was used to make the croutons and I would have liked more of them in the salad. The tomatoes were cherry tomatoes and nicely flavorful with a good texture. Covered with shredded cheese, it was lightly dressed with a wonderful overall flavor.
Tajarin was a pasta tossed with pomodoro, guanciale, Calabrian peppers and stracciatella. It was topped with the cheese and unfortunately, the server stirred it in before I could get a photo. Tajarin is a fine flat spaghetti and it was perfectly cooked while also nicely adhering to the sauce. The dish had a spiciness in the background but was a bit too pasty in texture for me. It was very good but didn’t have the depth of flavor as the first courses.
A special pasta that day was a ravioli stuffed with ricotta and then mixed with fresh peas and pistachios and topped with lardo. Again the pasta was cooked perfectly and the peas and nuts added nice texture and color to the dish. This was my favorite of the two pastas – it was a bit more savory – but neither pasta were as good as the salad or appetizers. In hindsight I’d order one pasta and the veal chop, which gets rave reviews.
For dessert we had the Tiramisu – they only offered 2 options. They stand by the tiramisu so much that they include the phone number for the chef’s mother, who is responsible for the recipe. It was a nice light cake topped with a heavy layer of cocoa powder. It was not as wet as many other variations I’ve had, but this was not bad. It seemed a very simple rendition that came off delicate and not overly sweet. Not a bad way to end a good meal at all.