Dining Out

The Jester At Queen and King

dining out mycompass ilona kauremszky

By Ilona Kauremszky

TORONTO - Inside the eatery, women in sleeveless blue slinky dresses strut around carrying trays of cheese, wine and fresh italian bread. One blonde stands by the door and waits for the upscale clientele to enter. And the place where Queen meets King begins to come alive.

Milano, a funky bistro and lounge situated in the heart of Toronto's entertainment district, is bustling and the two masterminds behind the idea couldn't be happier.

"I never seem to leave. There's so much to do," said Matthew Rosenblatt, former real estate broker and now co-owner, but he's not complaining.

Since opening, Rolling Stoner Mick Jagger has graced the place. The entire Blue Jays team came by for some brew as well as the ubiquitous City TV's Moses Znaimer have all dined here.

Nestled on the fringe of Bay Street up from the Sky Dome and across the way from the ritzy theatre crowd of the Royal Alex, Milano is somewhere to kick up your feet. Named after the city in northern Italy, Milano promises excitement and fun.

"It's Cal-Ital," said John Berman, the other co-owner. A former corporate lawyer, John discovered the image completely by accident.

"When I was working on some deals in Los Angeles, I noticed these places that had lots of colour everywhere," said John. "We're just not a make love pool table bar," the restauranteur explained, pointing to the black iron candlebras on the purple walls.

The two floor hangout is divided into sections to serve and to please. Outside is a street cafe. The upstairs holds the Renaissance dining room with a whimsical touch. "We've got artwork from Jane Corkin and the seats are covered in a tapestry of copper and purple," added John.

But the bar half is really what it's all about. Pool tables covered in purple replace the traditional green, and an s-shaped bar table displays the Milano trademark. Downstairs, more purple pool tables and a quiet area reservged for private parties.

As Matthew turned to show the jester, Milano's symbol, he remarked, "Toronto seems cold, hart to meet people. We just wanted to add a lot of humour here."


Photography Stephen Smith

If You Go:

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The generous portions make even spring rolls ($6) a meal. The Rigatoni con Peppe Rosso ($10) which is served with smoked chicken and sundried tomatoes in a light roasted red pepper cream sauce is perfect for lunch. And if you crave a burger, the Milano Burger ($10) is served with a green salad drizzled in a light dressing.

Location: 325 King Street West, Toronto, Canada.

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