Get to know the owner of Toronto’s Sotto Voce Wine & Pasta Bar
By the Get Leashed Doggy Style Team
If, as George Bernard Shaw claimed “there is no sincerer love than the love of food,” then it stands to reason that there is no sincerer person than she who loves to share food with others. And when it comes to Anita and her husband, Alan – proprietors of Sotto Voce, an adorable and authentic Italian wine bar in Toronto’s Little Italy – this sentiment couldn’t ring more true. Sotto Voce is a classic spot that has stood the test of time – 16 years and counting! – in an ever-evolving, trendy neighborhood thanks in no small part to the intimate atmosphere Anita and her husband have painstakingly built. Step inside and you are immediately transported to an Italian trat on the banks of the Tiber – no fuss, no muss, just quality food and drink lovingly shared.
This love radiates as well from Angus, Anita’s Rottweiler; the perfect dog for their gorgeous High Park home. He’s a big old dog with a loveable personality who happily saunters from room to room, casually keeping an eye on the going-ons. An unassuming master of his domain, you can tell he’s got wisdom behind his old eyes and has grown comfortable with his place in the world. As long as his family’s safe, he’s content.
Get to know more about this vibrant restaurant owner and her big, beautiful dog in the feature below.
Please tell us about yourself:
My husband, Alan, and I own Sotto Voce Wine & Pasta Bar, located at College and Clinton in Little Italy, Toronto. It’s a busy little wine bar that we have managed to keep going for 16 years. Alan hand-picks each of our wines and created our delicious cocktail menu. I buy all our vegetables, meats and fish fresh daily. It’s a lot of running around from Kensington Market, to Gasparo’s butcher, to Olser Fish and Riviera bakery, just to name a few of our locals. I think it’s really important to support our local small businesses, like us, while getting the best and freshest products. I think it makes all the difference. Alan and I created our menu with that in mind as it is authentic “Casalinga” (meaning Italian home cooking, which I grew up enjoying all my life). My favorite part is creating an awesome experience for our guests, especially for our regulars, many of whom have supported us for years. For me, that means a combination of great food, wine, music, ambiance and personal service of course!
A bit about your pet:
Angus is a 7 year-old pure breed Rottweiler from Zulu Breeders. He is our family’s third Rotti. We love them as a breed and him specifically for his chilled-out attitude. Our life is quite hectic but Angus brings us calm. He forces us to spend family time, whether for walks in High Park or just playing in the back yard. He looks tough, but Angus is a marshmallow who loves to snuggle. He thinks he’s a lap dog! I love the breed! They are smart, handsome, loyal protectors yet calm, quiet, playful and loving.
What does your ideal weekend look like?
Our weekend is really only Sunday after a busy Saturday night! So it is usually exclusively a family day. By family, that often includes my brother and his family and/or our close friends. We enjoy nothing more that to cook a huge Sunday Dinner for our friends and family! I know it sounds crazy after we serve food all week, but we love it!
Describe your personal style:
I love fashion and can never be “overdressed.” Fashion is my fun! 1920’s glam and classic silhouettes.
What inspires you?
I can’t live with regret and I make no apologies! My mother, a very strong-willed woman, inspires me everyday to work harder, live more, make smart decisions but take risks and always, always be well-heeled!
How would you describe the look and feel of your home?
Our home is an eclectic mix of old and modern. The home is a 1911 Edwardian. We tried to maintain its charm while our furniture is more of a mix of pieces from the 1960’s to today. Our home is well lived-in, in particular the modern kitchen we designed ourselves.
A story about Angus:
The one thing about Angus his how he looks out for all of us. He is the nightwatchman! Every night I can hear his collar jingling as he checks all of our rooms, sleeping across my son’s doorway, then making his rounds checking doors and windows before usually settling at the end of my bed.