Showing posts with label fried calamari and shrimp. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fried calamari and shrimp. Show all posts

CLOSED: Piazzetta Trattoria (Toronto) for delivery

Note: Prices in post are based on regular menu prices and may be higher when using delivery services

During a cold evening, my husband and I love dining at Piazzetta Trattoria. The heat from their wood-burning pizza oven is like a welcoming hug as you enter the door, as the smells of bread, melting cheese, and marinara mingles in the air. It’s such a comforting environment … the staff’s friendly greeting and you’re seated with a basket of warm bread in front of you in no time.

Piazzetta’s pizza boxes are emblazoned with a picture of that front door, but as I lift the cover, I’m waiting for the blast of intoxicating heat like entering the front door, sadly it isn’t there. It’s an experience that’s difficult to replicate with delivery.

We are delighted by the containers of jalapeno and habanero hot sauces that arrive with the pizzas. These tarte and slightly spicy sauces, the consistency of chutney, is the reason we order pizza from Piazzetta. So much so, that we even added jar of the jalapeno sauce ($8.99) for home use – these are great on tacos/quesadillas as well.  

The pizza’s crust seems even thinner than what you’d find dining in, to the point it becomes too crispy, losing that slight chewiness, and morphs into a flatbread. Yet, they still load on the toppings: the pizza Bolognese ($19) covered with plenty of ground beef and mozzarella, both not overly salty so that it doesn’t overwhelm the thin crust.

An interesting dilemma arises with whether there’s enough tomato sauce on a pizza that’s considered Bolognese. I felt there wasn’t enough, the pizza tasting more like a burger than a lovely ragu. Yet, I appreciated that the crust wasn’t soggy… perhaps a few dollops of sauce over the beef, after the pizza is cooked, could create something that’s the best of both worlds?

The cheese that was strongest in the quattro formaggi ($19) was the gorgonzola, although you could tell there was plenty of mozzarella and fior di latte included as well, given the cheese formed a layer that was equally as thick as the crust. Consider pre-heating the oven when the delivery is on its way, as this pizza really benefits from a quick broil to melt the cheese and toast the parmigiano so you’ll get a lovely cheesy aroma.

The burrata ($18 for one person) is always a great add-on. Despite the menu noting the smaller serving is for one, the tennis ball sized sphere of cheese easily feeds two as an appetizer and arrives simply on thick tomato slices topped with plenty of basil and olive oil.

Really any of their appetizers can easily satisfy 2-3 people or work as a main for one person. The fritto misto ($18 for one person) is an array of deep-fried calamari rings, chunks of white fish, headless sardines, and shrimp. Being lightly coated in flour the starter isn’t overly heavy, but given the coating is light it could use a sprinkling of salt after being fried to allow it to be eaten solo without the marinara dipping sauce.  

While Piazzetta’s insalata di Cesare ($12) looks like it’s hardly dressed, you can certainly taste the savoury Caesar dressing that has a nice balance of acidity. Incidentally, that freshness was a perfect complement for the fritto misto, toning down the fried affair.

Two popular mains that I see ordered all the time at Piazzetta is their lasagna al forno ($20) and the pollo alla limone ($25). At the restaurant, the lasagna is baked in the pizza oven and brought bubbling to the table in the cooking dish. Of course, this isn’t possible with delivery and could be why the dish tastes less creamy as the tomato sauce doesn’t continue to cook down and combine with the cheese. It doesn’t mean the lasagna’s not delicious – the pasta is nice and silky; the tomato sauce laced with fine ground beef is uber fresh and the dish incorporates enough cheese to satisfy – it just doesn’t seem as decadent.

I was a little worried the lemon chicken (or pollo alla limone) would be too citrusy, but my fears were abated. The combination of white wine, olive oil, and lemon was well composed, and the chicken breast incorporated a bit of flour to allow the runny sauce to stick on without saturating the meat. After the heavier starters, this gentler main with sauteed vegetables and creamy roasted potatoes was the perfect progression.

Having had dinner delivered on two occasions, the heartier mains like pasta and chicken definitely travelled better than the thinner pizzas. The tin foil containers really help retain the heat and are also great for storing leftovers and reheating in the oven. And trust me, with Piazzetta’s portions you’ll have something available the next day, the perfect excuse to not cook again, because I don’t know about you, but I’m getting tired of cooking. 

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 3441 Yonge Street
 Delivery: Uber, Doordash, Skip the Dishes
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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never order again
  • 6 - decent for delivery and takeout, but there's better
  • 7 - this is good, for delivery and takeout
  • 8 - great for delivery and takeout, it's almost like you're in a restaurant
  • 9 -  wow, it's like I'm eating at a restaurant
  • 10 - I'd happily order this for delivery or takeout instead of dining in any day!

Is That It? I Want More!

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Sip Wine Bar (Toronto)

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 2 Broadway Avenue
Type of Meal: Dinner

Newly opened on a quiet street close to Yonge and Eglinton, Sip Wine Bar already has quite the following as seen by the packed restaurant during a Saturday visit. Their décor is simplistic with wooden tables, exposed cream bricks and tons of light bulbs hanging from the ceiling. Aside from the dining room on the main floor, the restaurant offers a private dining area downstairs (with its own bar) that would be perfect for parties.

With tons of delicious sounding items on the menu, my friends and I decided to order a selection of dishes and share family style. First up was the fittura mista ($15.95) or deep fried shrimp and calamari. Arriving piping hot we couldn’t get enough of these lightly dusted nuggets of salty seafood. Of course, things that are deep fried are inherently delicious, but these shrimp and calamari were tender and didn’t feel too greasy or heavy.

On the other hand, the polpette di Luisa ($8.95) or meatballs with tomato sauce was a bit lackluster – possibly because I ate this second. Served lukewarm it didn’t have the same freshly made feel of the fittura mista; to me it seemed like they were spooned out of heating dish with spring mix tossed on the side. The meatballs and sauce itself tasted decent, but could have benefited from some cheese and/or herbs sprinkled on top.

We had to try their pizzas, given Sip’s AVPN accredited status (essentially an association that sets up regulations to ensure the standards of making Neapolitan pizza is maintained). The first was the capricciosa ($16.99) a pizza loaded with mushrooms, prosciutto, artichokes, olives, mozzarella and basil. The crust was certainly Neapolitan with the blistered pockets of dough and paper thin crust. But, the amount of tomato sauce was a bit too generous making the middle soggy and causing the ingredients to slide off when you tried to move a slice onto the plate. Nonetheless, the toppings were abundant and flavours good if you don’t mind a mushy crust.

For a white pizza (olive oil rather than tomato sauce based), we tried the funghi porcini ($18.99) which was more simplistic highlighting porcinis with mozzarella, parmigiano, tomatoes and basil. In this case there was no soggy crust but the pizza also lacked flavour. Certainly you wouldn’t want to overwhelm the pizza and cover up the porcini’s woodsy taste, but even an additional drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of sea salt prior to serving would have been appreciated.

The gnocchi alla trevigiana ($16.95) was absolutely delicious. First off, Sip nailed the gnocchi texture I covet – soft and doughy yet still hard enough to have some bite so that it resembles pasta rather than mushy dough. Tssed a light gorgonzola cream sauce the hot pieces of gnocchi had just enough sauce to flavour it without being overly heavy. This would definitely be a dish I’d order again.

Sadly, their tiramisu was sold out by the time we arrived at the desserts.  Instead, we ordered the white chocolate cheesecake ($8.99) and the crème brulee ($9.95). The cheesecake was rich and had a great flavour – a mix of caramel and chocolate. Sip’s dessert chef does need to get the chocolate cookie base thinner; at almost ¾ inch thick we struggled to break through it so the cheesecake mixture ended up falling off. Then when it was eaten together the abundance of crust overwhelmed to smooth cheese base.

However, the cheesecake was a better choice than the crème brulee which arrived cold, had an uneven sugar crust (although in the centre was nice and thin) and the crème itself fairly watery. Again it had a nice vanilla flavour, but the execution needs some improvement.

Most of the media articles written about Sip focuses on their pizzas. But from our visit, my friends and I agree their other dishes are much better; even from scoping the table beside the lamb chop and chicken dishes looked appetizing. We were advised by our helpful waitress that Sip has a patio out front in the summer so a return visit may be in order to sample their pasta and meat dishes while enjoying a lovely summer evening outside.

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • - 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!