Osteria Ciceri e Tria

The Ultimate Kitchen Party

The design of Oste­ria Ciceri e Tria is root­ed in an age-old mod­el of Ital­ian hos­pi­tal­i­ty: the fam­i­ly-run tav­ern. It seats 60 and promis­es an inti­mate expe­ri­ence, a per­pet­u­al ‘din­ner-par­ty’ where gas­tro­nom­ic spe­cial­ties and exquis­ite wines change dai­ly, accord­ing to the food in sea­son as well as the whim of the host – in this case the vision­ar­ies behind the suc­cess­ful Ter­roni restau­rants. The exper­i­men­tal design for this con­tem­po­rary Oste­ria is guid­ed by a man­i­festo of sorts devel­oped to ensure pre­ci­sion in nuance and detail of this new din­ing con­cept.

Locat­ed in the heart of down­town Toron­to, the atmos­phere at the Oste­ria is at once inti­mate and socia­ble, a din­ner par­ty where all guests share the same table and the same food. Entry through the arti­sanal store­front announces to the vis­i­tor that they are in for a treat in old-world hos­pi­tal­i­ty.

Once inside how­ev­er, it is appar­ent that the rus­tic has been made mod­ern: sur­faces of reclaimed woods and stripped boards are routered with ‘machined’ pre­ci­sion, inlayed with crisp steel and punc­tu­at­ed with pow­der-coat­ed indus­tri­al com­po­nents.

Cus­tom designed nev­er end­ing com­mu­nal table for the per­pet­u­al din­ner par­ty.

The focal point of the inte­ri­or is the long, cen­tral com­mu­nal table, where 20 can indulge in com­mon amuse­ment and inter­ac­tion between strangers, as well as between host and guest is encour­aged. There is an inten­tion­al blur­ring between thresh­olds of pro­duc­tion and pre­sen­ta­tion, ser­vice and served, the indi­vid­ual and the col­lec­tive.

Cus­tom designed lights inspired by bicy­cles of the Giro D’Italia.

With a slight adjust­ment of its spring-loaded lamp, the flower-cov­ered pas­ta mak­ing butch­er block by day becomes the 8‑person fam­i­ly din­ing table by night, still carved with the secret recipe of Ciceri e Tria, the dish for which the Oste­ria was named.

The lim­it­ed menu changes dai­ly, depend­ing on the sea­son, the mar­ket and the mood of the chef. The qual­i­ty how­ev­er is always guar­an­teed, as is loy­al­ty to the ‘hand- made.’ Like its food, the archi­tec­ture of Oste­ria Ciceri e Tria exper­i­ments with reg­is­ter­ing ‘the hand’ that has fash­ioned it with an embed­ded rather than super­fi­cial lay­er of dec­o­ra­tive and cod­ed ele­ments – such as fam­i­ly snap-shots, fam­i­ly names, clips of proud man­i­festos and doily pat­terns cured into the con­crete. All ele­ments of the design have been cus­tom made, with the excep­tion of the chairs, stools and yel­low, indus­tri­al lights.

Project Facts

  • Client

    Ter­roni Restau­rants

  • Location

    Toron­to, Ontario

  • Size

    1,290 sq.ft.

  • Status


  • Sub-Consultant Team

    Struc­tur­al — Black­well Bow­ick Part­ner­ship Ltd.


  • Photography

    Ben Rahn

  • Artist / Graphics

    Graph­ic Design — Small Design Stu­dio