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Showing posts with label Italian. Show all posts

Paese Ristorante

 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).

Social Media:

Instagram || Twitter  || Website

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

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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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mistura_sopra/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MisturaSopra
Website: http://mistura.ca/

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

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Cresta Toronto

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

Social Media:

Instagram: http://instagram.com/cresta_to/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/cresta_TO
Website: http://www.crestato.ca/

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

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Francobollo Posto Italiano

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

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The Red Tomato

The Red Tomato is located in the basement level of Fred's Not Here; a fixture in the heart of Toronto's Entertainment District, and minutes away from the theater district. Back in September, I was invited to their new menu launch event called #PieTunes, where they added casual Italian fare to the menu including a line of various pizzas. After the launch, I was also invited back along with a few fellow bloggers to have a more intimate tasting of their dinner menu.  Many of the items on their menu are shareable, so it's a good place to come dine with friends, or even a dinner date after the theater.


For our dinner, we started with three appetizers from their starter menu. The first appetizer was the Salad Caprese ($11) - fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, fire roasted peppers, and EVOO. Caprese salad is a simple Italian salad made to resemble the colors of the Italian flag. The one from The Red Tomato was a great starter, and the combination of tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil made it a refreshing salad.

The Crispy Coconut Shrimps ($8) - with Thai dipping sauce, were relatively large, and had a good amount of batter on them. Overall, I liked it as the coconut encrusted shrimp were perfectly crispy, yet succulent on the inside. 


The Steamed Clams ($11) - clams, chorizo with garlic, and white wine was chosen as our third appetizer. The steamed clams are served in the white wine that they are based in, and it wasn't overly salty. However, there were a lot more empty shells than I anticipated with the dish.

 Next up is their pizzas, which was divided into three categories; red, white, and fusion confusion.

"The Hangover Cure" - tomato, olives, soppressata, double smoked bacon, fresh mozzarella, grana padano, chilies, topped with fried eggs was the first pizza that I tried. The egg was a nice touch to the pizza, as the combination of all of the toppings complemented one another. 

The Smoked Chicken ($16) - tomato, fresh mozzarella, caramelized onions, sweet peppers, sliced jalapeno chipotle BBQ sauce, was another pizza that I'd order again. The mix between the smoked chicken, and sweetness of the peppers was an interesting combination.

I rarely order white-based pizza, as I very much prefer a tomato base pie than a cream base one. So, I didn't really like the Potato ($15) - Yukon gold potato, caramelized onions, fennel, and gorgonzola pizza.

Personally, I liked the Garlic Shrimps ($18) - fresh mozzarella, and walnut pesto pizza that I had at the #PieTunes party more than the one from the dinner. They were both chalk full of plump shrimp, but the one from the dinner was a lot more oily, so the shrimp pieces fell right off. Regardless of that issue, it was still a good pizza.

I wasn't a huge fan of the Prosciutto $16) - grilled artichoke peso, fresh mozzarella, fired roasted sweet peppers, and arugula pizza, as it was a tad overly salty with the addition of the artichoke peso. However, there was a generous portion of thinly sliced prosciutto (dry-cured ham). The reason for its thinness is due to the fact that prosciutto is often tough, and chewy so it's ideal to slice them thin.

The Peking Duck ($18) - roasted duck breast, enoki & shitaki mushrooms, fresh mozerella, hoisin drizzle with green onions, crispy duck crackling was by far - my favorite pizza out of all the ones I got to sample. There was a good ratio of topping versus the amount of toasted duck breast on each slice of pizza. The duck was flavorful, and tender, and the hoisin drizzle definitely helped to enhance the flavor of the duck. This one is must try!

Mushroom Agnolotti ($17) - with mushroom truffle butter sauce

Meatball Gnocchi ($16) - sausage, and angus beef meatballs, and marinara sauce 

Lastly, The Red Tomato also has a dessert menu with a good variety of choices. Price wise, they were all $7.99 each, which is a reasonable price for desserts in that particular area. The four of us decided to get one dessert each, and shared among the table. The desserts that we selected are as followed; Bourbon Pecan Pie, Belgian Double Chocolate Mousse Cake, Espresso Creme Brulee, and Duo Cheesecake.

The two that I liked best was the mousse cake, and crème brûlée. The Belgian Double Chocolate Mousse Cake had an intense chocolate flavor, yet it wasn't overly sweet. I also ordered the Espresso Crème Brûlée, as I have a penchant for this particular French dessert. It had a nice espresso coffee flavor, but the custard was a tad runny. I would have suggested that the custard be allowed to cool completely before they are properly set. That way, the custard would have a nice consistency.

Address: 321 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1J5

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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.

The Red Tomato Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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