Showing posts with label Italian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Italian. Show all posts
I had the pleasure of returning to Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria to check out their new Spring/Summer menu a couple of weeks ago. The menu features two new pizzas and the return of a seasonal favorite. We opted to return to the Bloor Street West location, which opened its doors in 2012 and has become a local spot in the Annex. Famosa is best known for its authentic Neapolitan style cuisine, which makes no apology for their creative menu of fusion pizzas. Dean (the owner) runs two locations with his brother, and he is very passionate about the trade. He explained in details about the journey that they embarked on to bring us this delicate taste of Naples menu that we were able to sample.

We started dinner off with the Fire-Roasted Tomato Bisque - roasted Campania tomato soup topped with feta cheese, and served with flatbread. This was one of the highlights of the evening. The bisque was rich with flavor, as the tomatoes hail from Pompeii, Italy. The body of these tomatoes taste stronger, sweeter, and have less acidity in them due to the growing conditions of the volcanic ash that makes up the significant content of the soil. With some added crushed peppers, and Parmesan cheese, the aroma of the bisque was brought to its greatest. 

Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria offers a limited menu of seasonal pizzas, which changes every season. The first new pizza that we got to try was the Prawn Pesto ($16.95) - fior-di-latte, seasoned ricotta, sautéed prawns, roasted garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, arugula, pistachio pesto, lemon wedge. In a departure from the standard pizza toppings, the new pizza is topped off with sautéed prawns, which remarkably makes a very delicious pizza.  Out of the three new pizzas on the menu, I'd say that this one was my favorite.

The Mattina ($16.95) - parmesan crema, sautéed leeks, pancetta,  prosciutto crisps, Grana Padano, Italian parsley,  topped with a fried egg, was the second new pizza on the menu. I didn't like this one as much, but J really liked it.

We were quite stuffed from the two pizzas, but the owner (Dean) graciously brought out a third one for us to try. The third pizza was a returning favorite, the Don Andreas ($16.95) - crème fraîche, fior-di-latte mozzarella, roasted chicken, corn and chipotle salsa, avocado, cilantro, lime wedge, side of Valentina hot sauce. I could definitely see why it was a favorite among patrons. All of the toppings just came together well, and it was one tasty pizza.

Dean has some leeway when it comes to their drinks menu, and tries to be creative with the ingredients. We opted for the non-alcoholic options, which was the Strawberries Mocktail (comes with one free re-frill).

If you're craving pizzas with some creativity and fusion, then make sure you try out Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria They do also have standard pizzas like the margherita pizza and pepperoni topped ones if you want safer choices.

Address: 386 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1X4

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Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

 Paese Ristorante is an Italian eatery serving classic Italian cuisine on Bathurst and Wilson in North York, ON. Their extensive menu is divided into several sections such as salads, antipasto, pasta, pizza, fish & meat, and sides. Paese opened over 25 years ago, and has become a neighborhood staple when it comes to homemade Italian-inspired cuisine. Walking into the restaurant, we were quickly seated at the table with natural sunlight shining in and given water. I found the overall ambiance to be quite inviting and warm. Their main dining area downstairs does not have many tables, however, they do offer a private room upstairs to accommodate larger parties. Paese Ristorante has been in business since 1989, and is still thriving today as a result of their ever-changing menus, and warm hospitality.

The menu stays true to Paese Ristorante's philosophy of "Inspired in Italy, Made in Canada". The dishes are handcrafted and house-made using traditional techniques that are combined with distinctive and original made-in-Canada twists.

We started the evening off with complimentary Focaccia Bread - with roasted red peppers, goat cheese, and tapenade. It was a nice change from the bread and olive oil that diners usually get from other Italian restaurants.  

Next up was the Grilled Octopus ($18) - potato, grilled escarole, mint, lemon and chill, which was a great starter. The grilled octopus was beautifully charred, but still remained tender and had a nice texture to them. I also enjoyed the refreshing lightness of the citrus sauce, and the potatoes complement the octopus rather well.

My friend got the Warm Goat Cheese Salad ($14) - baby kale, grilled zucchini and sweet pepper spaghetti with farro, toasted pine nuts and mint pesto vinaigrette, as his appetizer. The lightly tossed salad was not overpowered by the dressing, so that you get the full flavor of the zucchini, sweet pepper, and toasted pine nuts. The addition of the goat cheese was exceptional with the mint pesto vinaigrette.

I could definitely eat a whole order of the Polenta Fries ($10) - crisp polenta fries with roasted garlic aioli, sundried tomato ketchup. The outer layer was golden and crisp, while the interior was creamy. Great contrast in terms of textures, and a nice twist on traditional french fries.

As my main, I opted for the Grilled Shrimp Linguini ($25) - roasted pepperoncini, garlic and tomato arrabiata sauce. The linguini was cooked al dente, so there was a bit of chewiness. One main problem that I had with the linguini was that some of the strands were stuck together. This didn't completely ruin my experience with the main dish, as the shrimp had such a nice flavor to them that I enjoyed the dish overall. 

My friend got one of the specials, which was Beef Tenderloin & Potatoes ($25) - red wine jus, which he thoroughly enjoyed.

We ended up sharing one dessert, the Mango Gelato - with a sugar-dusted pizzelle. Since it was just gelato, it wasn't a memorable dessert, but it was a good finish to a delightful dinner. 

The atmosphere at Paese Ristorante makes it a very versatile place for lunch or dinner whether it be catching up with friends, on a date, or special occasions. It was a rather busy Thursday, and despite attending to other tables, our server remained attentive to us as well. Overall, I had an enjoyable dining experience at Paese Ristorante, and it's quite a gem in the neighborhood. Paese Ristorante is open daily for lunch (11:30 am to 2:30 pm) and dinner (5:30 pm to 11:30 pm).

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Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

Paese Ristorante Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Paese Ristorante

by on Thursday, November 03, 2016
  Paese Ristorante  is an Italian eatery serving classic Italian cuisine on Bathurst and Wilson in North York, ON. Their extensive menu is ...
A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to a media luncheon at Mistura. It's a lovely upscale restaurant that serves contemporary Italian cuisine. Mistura is run by a long-time restaurateur, Paolo Paolini, who has owned several restaurants throughout the years including the critically-acclaimed Splendido, which he sold in 1996. Soon after his departure from Splendido, he opened Mistura with Chef Massimo Capra in 1997 to positive reviews. The restaurant has been in business for 19 years, and is still thriving today as a result of their ever-changing menus, and warm hospitality.

Mistura is all about proving a pleasant dining experience, as they care about the quality of the food, and
hospitality. As a result of their efforts, Mistura was awarded the Accademia Italiana Della Cucina in December 2015 for their Italian cuisine.

Chef Massimo Capra no longer helms the kitchen, and has passed it on to Chef Klaus Rohrich, who has worked in the kitchen of Mistura and Sopra for several years. Chef Klaus Rohrich may not be Italian, but he certainly knows how to take simple Italian cooking methods, and elevate it. With that being said, the menu at Mistura draws inspiration from traditional Italian cooking, but combines it with local, seasonal ingredients when possible. The menu changes seasonally, and we got a taste of the new spring menu at the luncheon.

Prior to our meal, we were treated to an array of small bites including a selection of Chef Klaus' signature charcuterie, pistachio infused mortadella, capicollo, bresaola, lonza affumicata.

My favorite starter was the crispy gulf shrimp and cantaloupe trusses, which were delectable. The sweet sauce and cantaloupe trusses were the perfect complement to the lightly coated shrimp.

We were treated to a plate containing a trio of appetizers; the balsamic glazed Ontario lamb riblets coupled with minted yoghurt, Ontario wild boar agnolotti in sundried sour cherry jus, and crispy fried artichoke with "gribiche". I would definitely come back just to order a platter of the Ontario lamb riblets, as it was that good. Normally, I find lamb hard to eat, as it's quite tough and potent sometimes. However, the Ontario lamb riblets served at Mistura were surprisingly tender, and the sticky Balsamic glazed perfectly coated the ribs.

Next up was a refreshing salad, radicchio salad - with apples, Asiago, pomegranate, black walnuts, and empire apple cider vinaigrette. The richly scented Asiago cheese combined with the sweetness of the apples, and pomegranate make this a very interesting combination dish.

Chef Klaus Rohrich delivers a delicious entree; ballotine of organic free range chicken, squash puree, roasted brussels sprout leaves, roasted buttercup squash and butter sage crackling. The chicken was cooked perfectly, and sat in a layer of velvety-like squash puree. I also really enjoyed the butter sage crackling, as it provided a nice crunch to the dish.

Lunch was rather filling, but we ended the lunch with the Mistura Inverted Cassata for dessert. It was a refreshing dessert, and rather light as well. Great way to end a meal!

Despite it being a fine-dining establishment, Paolo Paolini prides himself on providing a warm and upscale atmosphere with no hint of pretentiousness. All of the staff members are friendly, quick without being too overbearing that you feel rushed. Private functions are also available as Mistura has two private dining rooms. Additionally, the upstairs level of the restaurant is Sopra, the second-floor event space which can seat up to 110 people.

Address: 265 Davenport Rd, Toronto, ON M5R 1J9


Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

Mistura Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


by on Tuesday, May 17, 2016
A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to a media luncheon at Mistura . It's a lovely upscale restaurant that serves contemporary Italian...
Over the past years, the St. Lawrence Market area has seen the addition of many new restaurants. One of  them was Pastizza; a fast casual Italian eatery that opened in 2014. However, they re-branded themselves as Cresta Toronto earlier last month, and relaunched their menu to provide more of an upscale dining experience. Cresta Toronto is housed in a historical building adjacent to the St. Lawrence Market, and is beautiful with its floor to ceiling windows that allow natural light in, and 35-foot wine chandelier. There are two levels; the lower level seats up to 75 guests while the mezzanine can accommodate an intimate seating for up to 60 seated guests. Great for all occasions!

Cresta Toronto is a California-inspired restaurant offering an "Italian inspired, Californian cultivated experience" with its extensive collection of world-class Californian wines and menu. Its name is inspired by a popular vineyard in California, the Cresta ridge vineyard of Thomas George Estates in the Russian River Valley. It's headed by Executive Chef Tri Tran who has brought forth a menu with both traditional and contemporary Italian cuisine like duck & liver, beet risotto, and ricotta & chestnut ravioli. Additionally, the food is heavily focused on using fresh seasonal ingredients infused with rich wines, which is influenced by its California-inspired roots. 

** Images are courtesy of Cresta Toronto **

I had the pleasure of attending their media event about two weeks ago where I sampled an array of dishes that are available on Cresta Toronto's menu. From what I've tasted at the event, many of the menu items offer a seamless balance of flavor, color, and presentation. So, I look forward to returning to Cresta Toronto to check out their full menu, as the event piqued my interest. Cresta is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11:30 am to 10:00 pm (closed Monday) offering brunch, lunch, and dinner.

As previously mentioned, the restaurant shifted towards being more upscale than their previous endeavor. So, the new menu reflects the new change, and was designed to perfectly complement the wines that they offer. Below are some of the menu items that guests got to try.

The Cresta Negroni with Bombay Sapphire Gin - campari, dolin dry vermouth, sparkling brut, grapefruit

Amaro Express - amaro averna, frangelico, espresso, aztec chocolate bitters

Beets - roasted, lemon thyme marinade, sautéed beet greens

Black Tiger Shrimp - empty ravioli, red onion, tomato salsa

Brussels Sprouts - crispy in a balsamic glaze

Heirloom Tomato Pizza - tomato reduction, red onion, shaved parmasean, basil

Mushroom Risotto - truffle oil, shaved parmesan

Octopus - grilled, fingerling potatoes, braised cipollini onions, harissa

Scallop Crudo - coriander, garlic chips, citrus

Steak Tenderloin - roasted potatoes, cherry tomatoes, roasted garlic, beef jus

Guests were given freshly-baked muffins to take-home (caramel or blueberry)

Address: 118 The Esplanade, Toronto, ON M5E 1A9

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Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.
Cresta Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cresta Toronto

by on Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Over the past years, the St. Lawrence Market area has seen the addition of many new restaurants. One of  them was Pastizza; a fast casual I...
Located on Avenue Road between Lawrence and Wilson is a relatively new restaurant, Francobollo Posto Italiano. It is one of the many restaurants from the Substance Food Group; the team behind Terra, Rusty's At Blue, and Sarpa restaurants. I had the pleasure of attending a menu tasting at Francobollo Posto Italiano about two weeks ago, and had a delightful dinner. Francobollo offers classic Italian fare, and its menu consists of several selections of insalate (salad), antipaste (first course), paste (pasta), secondi (second course), and rotational desserts. This North York restaurant distinguishes itself from others by presenting a very warm atmosphere with no hint of pretentiousness from the start to the end of our dining experience. 

The overall space was brightly-lit, and has a very modern yet romantic ambiance. Francobollo Posto Italiano is split into two levels. The first floor is for casual diners while the second floor has the capacity to cater to large parties. 

We couldn't make up our minds on what dishes to get, so we left it in the hands of our capable server to recommend some.

For a starter, we got the Barbabietola ($14)heirloom beets, goat cheese, green pistachio, baby arugula, wildflower honey & balsamic vinaigretteThe heirloom beets are cooked sous vide involving placing them into a plastic bag, and soaking them in water or a temperature-controlled environment. This method helps to retain the natural flavors, and coloring that would otherwise be diluted. I love how the balsamic vinaigrette added a very citrus flavor to the overall dish.

Another starter that we got was the Polipo Sottovuotto ($18) - 75° octopus, quinoa, butter lettuce, orange-red onion-caper-mint salsa. The dish consists of thinly cut octopus on top of a bed of quinoa, and butter lettuce. It was layered properly to give you a palette of various flavors, and it was a beautiful presentation for an appetizer. The octopus was fine on its own, but you do have the option to add more lemon to it.

Francobollo Posto Italiano has a great selection of house-made pasta, which all sounded amazing. However, J ended up opting for the Gamberi E Capesante Alla Brace ($37) - grilled jumbo black tiger prawns & day boat scallops, lemon & sea salt, as his main course. I would love to come back on another occasion to try one of their pasta dishes.

I can't stress enough how well-presented the plates are at Francobollo Posto Italiano. The main course, Filetto Di Manzo Alla Griglia (8oz) ($38) - grilled certified Angus beef tenderloin, wild mushrooms, bone marrow & fresh thyme jus, arrived beautifully plated. The beef tenderloin itself was well-seasoned, and had a good sear to it. Beneath the steak laid a handful of perfectly cooked vegetables. The wild mushrooms and carrots really added a nice taste to the beef without overpowering the dish. I was told that each component of the dish was pan-fried, and cooked separately to give it a district layer of taste.

I had the enjoyment of cutting each tender piece, as it was cooked exactly to my liking (medium rare). I was rather impressed with the quality considering Francobollo is an Italian restaurant and not a steakhouse. Lastly, the bone marrow was prepared in a way that it was first scooped out then put back onto a crispy bone. The bone marrow got a little dry towards the end, but was not an issue when paired with a glass of red wine.

The Risotto Mantecato is composed daily (MP). Risotto is a very versatile dish, so there are several ways to prepare it. The one that we ordered had a nice creamy texture, and pieces of the duck was cooked well. 

The selection of desserts change daily, and during our visit this delectable Nutella Cheesecake was featured on the menu. As mentioned plenty of times throughout my blog, I have a major sweet tooth, so I always anticipate dessert. The Nutella cheesecake came at the right temperature, as it was nice and cold without any freezer burn. What I would like to heavily emphasize is the generous portion of the cheesecake that was topped off with a glaze of cherry sauce. The dessert was a nice finish as it was perfectly rich and creamy, combined with a nice crust, and full of Nutella flavor.

J opted for the Double Chocolate Tartufo, which is a classic Italian ice-cream dessert. I have had tartufo before, and normally it would be a large ball resembling a truffle. However, the one at Francobollo is sliced into four pieces, and covered in a wonderful blend of double chocolate.

We both left the restaurant with a truly fantastic fine dining experience, and full. Although touted as an upscale restaurant, I enjoyed the warm ambiance that the staff from Francobollo provided. I found the service to be rather top-notch, as our server was incredibly attentive, and provided much professionalism. Lastly, its menu of classic Italian fare is crafted using fresh and locally sourced ingredients, and is something that I appreciate from a local restaurant.

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Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

Francobollo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Francobollo Posto Italiano

by on Friday, February 05, 2016
Located on Avenue Road between Lawrence and Wilson is a relatively new restaurant, Francobollo Posto Italiano . It is one of the many res...