Showing posts with label Spuntini. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spuntini. Show all posts

CLOSED: Spuntini (Toronto)

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 116 Avenue Road
Type of Meal: Dinner

Spuntini’s atmosphere is pretty stereotypical of a posh Italian restaurant – dim lighting supplemented with candles, a dark wood motif and walls upon walls of wine bottles.  It’s cozy and comforting, much like the food, and date night friendly if you can score a spot along the walls away from the other tightly packed tables.

Despite the romantic environment, coming here with 2+ people is recommended due to large portion and sharing appetizers are a must if you want a chance at eating your main.  On our visit, we went with five people and chose two dishes to share as starters:
  • Burrata with prosciutto ($14.95) a big hunk of soft and creamy burrata arrives on top of a toasted crostini with a pile of tissue thin prosciutto and peppery arugula salad.  Without a doubt, the one slice of bread is not enough, but Spuntini does provide a bread basket so everyone could easily grab a piece from there.  The fresh burrata was fairly neutral so did require some cured prosciutto to give it flavour.  For someone who does not eat meat and is sharing this with others it would be nice to have more of the condensed balsamic vinegar on the plate to complement the cheese.

  • Although the gnocchi quattro formaggio ($15.95) is actually a main, we all wanted to try it without having an entire portion as it sounds so rich. So, we asked for it to be brought out as an appetizer instead and shared amongst the table. The gnocchi were plump and soft (believe due to adding ricotta to it); I favor the regular potato mix resulting in a harder pasta but this really is a matter of preference as the rest of the table loved it.  The four-cheese sauce made with asiago, gorgonzola, parmigiano and bocconcini was absolutely delicious and a good combination of strong, creamy and mild cheeses so it wasn’t overpowering.  Added cream made this even more decadent and certainly made us glad we decided to share this.

The ravioli di soraia ($18.95) contained five squares of ravioli filled with a delicious seafood mousse (tasting more of crab than lobster).  Perhaps I've been spoiled with my recent UK ravioli experiences but found the dough too thick and filling too sparse; I’d much rather the dish be shrunk down to four smaller raviolis and have more of the crab/lobster mixture in each one.  The sauce of sage, butter and white wine was nice and the slivers of fennel and peppers on top were also good.

My friend's osso bucco, a daily special, was amazing!  Although it was soft from being braised in red wine, the veal shank still held its shape and looked appealing.  Served with the bone, the marrow was left intact and could be easily pushed out and smeared across a piece of bread.  Having only started eating it over the last three years, bone marrow is still a hit or miss (with most experiences not that great).  

This may sound gross, but if you’ve never tried it, it’s the consistency of fat but doesn’t actually taste like it.  The flavour is pretty mild and normally takes on whatever it’s seasoned with, but the jelly like texture can sometimes be off putting. Generally, I like it when it’s been braised for a long time so that all traces of blood are gone and the marrow is able to absorb some of the braising liquid’s flavour. Overall, Spuntini’s was one of my better experiences with bone marrow and the lamb itself also delicious.

Some other dishes I had a bite to try included the rigatoni portobello ($15.95), which had intense mushroom flavours; something other than Portobello mushrooms had to be added to this to make it so earthy.  The pasta was done well and the addition of a bit of pesto and cream balanced everything quite nicely.  Another rich dish made for sharing.

The angonoltti alla California ($16.95) was another filled pasta except using a ricotta & spinach mixture and the pasta being half-moon shaped.  My comment on the filling to pasta ratio remains the same with this dish but I did enjoy the flavourful rose sauce.

If you’re looking for a lighter choice, the spaghetti alla chitara ($14.95) would be perfect.  It’s simply dressed with a garlic, lemon and olive oil mixture but still packs a lot of flavour.  The pasta has more bite and taste to it, on account of being made with whole wheat, and went well with the wilted rapini and roasted cherry tomatoes.

By the end of the meal we were STUFFED, with some having to take their mains to go.  But, we did order a scoop of the hazelnut gelato ($9?) to share. It was deliciously home-made tasting with small pieces of hazelnuts adding a great nutty texture against the smoothness of the ice cream.  Also, it was sweet enough to satisfy without being overpowering.

Spuntini was certainly busy during our Friday visit with all the tables filled and a constant stream of turnover.  I can see why they are so popular – good flavours, huge portions and an unhurried environment that allows for wine and conversation.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10

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Gastro World's Grading System
  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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