Sotto Sotto was a hotspot for Hollywood stars, Drake's 'second home'
Published Friday, December 26, 2014 5:45PM EST Last Updated Friday, December 26, 2014 6:47PM EST
In its 2014 guide to eating and drinking during the Toronto International Film Festival, a local magazine announced that the Yorkville restaurant Sotto Sotto was “suddenly hot again.”
The reason, according to Toronto Life, was that the locally-born and world-famous hip-hop star Drake had name-dropped the trattoria on Avenue Road in his song ‘Pound Cake.’
Drake wasn’t the only celebrity to dine there over the restaurant’s nearly two decades in business.
Sotto Sotto, which offerd $44 veal chops and $42 black angus steaks, has served meals to Johnny Depp, Oprah, Elton John, Natalie Portman, Dustin Hoffman and Brad Pitt. Bruce Willis was a regular when shooting films in Toronto.
After the restaurant burned down on Christmas Day -- in a blaze that took out another restaurant and which investigators have called ‘suspicious’ -- Drake was among the first to express his disappointment on social media.
Drake shared a photo on his Instragram account, champagepapi, on Thursday evening with the words, “Damn. My second home. Gone but not forgotten. #SottoSotto”
Kevin O’Leary, star of the show ‘Shark Tank’ and contributor to Bell Media, which owns CTV, once called Sotto Sotto one of just three restaurants he usually eats at in Toronto.
O’Leary Tweeted Thursday, ‘One of my favorite restaurants in the world Is burning down right now: #sottosotto is breaking my heart.’
One of my favorite restaurants in the world Is burning down right now. #sottosotto its breaking my heart. #memories pic.twitter.com/WnlXQvFnU8— Kevin O'Leary (@kevinolearytv) December 26, 2014
Just a few hours before the blaze, a photo of Sotto Sotto dressed up for Christmas was posted to the Instagram account sottosottoristorante with the message ‘#Merry Christmas to all of you!!!!#buon Natale a tutti voi.’
Other celebrities who have been spotted at Sotto Sotto over the years include Jennifer Garner and Ricky Gervais, who were in town in 2009 for the premiere of 'The Invention of Lying' at TIFF.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen dined there with friends in April, following the funeral for former finance minister Jim Flaherty.
The four-alarm blaze, which firefighters responded to around 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 25, also took out Spuntini Ristorante – another occasional celebrity hangout.
Photos on the wall at Spuntini show Johnny Depp, Sean Penn and Sarah Jessica Parker.
Fire officials are investigating the cause of the fire, but believe the blaze began at 116 Avenue Road before spreading to the neighbouring building.
It is being treated as suspicious because the building had been unoccupied for a few days, and because of the extent of the damage, Toronto Fire Services said.
The two restaurants were closed at the time, and officials said the tenant who lived in the apartment above one of the restaurants was away visiting family.