Showing posts with label tiramisu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tiramisu. Show all posts

Cano Restaurant (Toronto)



Cano is one of those cozy Italian restaurants I wish was part of my neighbourhood. Living in the York Mills and Lawrence Park area, we have our fair share of great places slinging pasta and pizza, but Cano does both just a touch better.

Let’s start with the crust on the burratina pizza ($25), which is thin and chewy, everything I look for in pizza. It’s cooked until a golden crust develops that despite being covered by a generous layer of tomato sauce, remains crispy and holds up with one hand.  Then the toppings: having the sauce, cheese, and basil combination, it’s like a margherita but elevated with the dollops of creamy burrata dusted with black Maldon salt. The tomato sauce is fresh versus tangy and with a liberal drizzle of olive oil, even the bites with no cheese or basil still tastes magnificent.


Their pasta is also solid. The rigatoni annata ($20) a substantial mound of perfectly done pasta in a vodka rose sauce swirled with shallots, pecorino and pancetta. It’s similar to a carbonara but the creaminess tempered with a bit of the tomato’s acid. In fact, the sauce was so good I wiped my plate with bits of pizza crust to ensure it didn’t go to waste.


Visit on Tuesday or Wednesday and you’ll also receive half a dozen oysters free with any bottle of wine. It’s appeared to be a deal that most tables participated in, including us, where six freshly shucked St. Simon oysters arrived lacking none of the traditional cocktail sauce, onion mignonette, and fresh horseradish fixings. And a bottle of wine on a weekday... what can be more Italian?


Every bite was tasty to the finish. Their tiramisu ($10) is a good rendition of the popular dessert, done traditionally with plenty of espresso and creamy mascarpone flavours. A bit more of the lady fingers and lighter sprinkling of the unsweetened cocoa powder would have made it even better.


Yet, it’s the panna cotta ($9) that was the hit. The silky vanilla bean base so creamy and luscious it feels like you’re having tapioca pudding without the tapioca, but there’s just enough gelatin allowing the dessert to scoop easily into a spoon. Oh, and that drizzle of salted caramel? What a great finish.


In hindsight, it’s actually a blessing that Cano isn’t located a short walk down the street. The food is so comforting and delicious that I don’t think I’d have the willpower to not visit regularly. In that case, my waistline would definitely suffer from their close proximity.

Overall mark - 9 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 1108 St. Clair Avenue West

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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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CANO Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Coppi Ristorante (Toronto)


Coppi’s dining room is a tribute to Italian cyclist Fausto Coppi and you’ll notice elements of the sport throughout: from trail posters; spokes on the wall; to, my favourite, a whimsical fish made from bicycle parts. It’s an interesting choice of décor for a restaurant whose menu and overall ambiance is nothing like a sports bar. Rather, diners should expect classic Italian dishes that have a heavier focus on seafood.


Their signature dish, the pesce al sale ($43), takes a whole fish and bakes it encrusted in salt. Wheeled out still in the salty tomb, the fish is quickly filleted and dressed in a light lemon butter sauce. 


While the dish looks huge, after fileting the meat what’s leftover is smaller than you’d expect, but nonetheless sufficient as a main for one. The sea bass was remarkably moist and tender with such a clean taste that even someone who doesn’t like fish could be converted.


The risotto frutti di mare ($44) serves two, but with a few appetizers this could be stretched for three people (pictured below is a single portion). Dotted throughout the risotto were bits of clams, shrimp, squid, octopus and bay scallops all evenly disbursed so each bite had a couple of seafood items and helped to thoroughly scent the rice. Tuck in as soon as it arrives as it’s a lovely consistency but a tad more cooked than normal; should be it left longer, it may become too soft.


Coppi offers a variety of appetizers but truthfully the choices are rather safe and nothing seemed overly exciting. Their Caesar salad ($15) is heavy on the anchovy and light on garlic, making the flavours subtler and ideal for those who want a lighter tasting version of the salad. The burrate caprese ($19) is simple combination of quality ingredients: a decent portion of burrata mozzarella, grape tomatoes, and rich and bright olive oil that went especially well with the warm heavily salted baguette.


Personally, I rather have an appetizer portion of pasta instead. The pappardelle in the mare d monte ($18) arrives as silky slightly chewy ribbons and the sauce a light combination of shrimp, mushrooms, and tomato. It’s a great blend of sweet seafood, earthy fungi, and just a hint of something fresh.


The spaghetti used in the chitarra tirreno ($26 for a main portion) is interestingly square-shaped and could be a tad more al dante. Regardless, the san Marzano tomato sauce mixed with all the seafood tastes wonderful and is that lighted umami-laced tomato sauce I love with seafood pasta.


Seeing the baba di ricotta ($13) we were instantly intrigued to try an Italian version of rum baba, a traditional French dessert. A funnel of sponge cake is wrapped around sweetened ricotta, which is a great addition. However, the cake is hardly “soaked” in the rum syrup mixture as described on the menu and any rum flavour is non-existent. When I order this dessert, I want that hit of alcohol against the tongue before the sugar shines through! This is better described as sponge cake filled with ricotta and drizzled with sugar water.


Coppi’s tiramisu ($13) uses most of the typical ingredients (lady fingers, espresso, and mascarpone cream). Yet, seems to leave out the zabaglione layer so the dessert is creamy and sweet but doesn’t have that rich egg custard that really makes the dessert. It’s a bit disappointing when tiramisu at an upscale Italian restaurant is only a touch better than one found at the supermarket.


There are a number of Italian restaurants to choose from around the Yonge-Lawrence neighbourhood. Coppi’s menu trends towards being an upscale establishment and offers excellent mains and decent appetizers but passable desserts. What truly sets Coppi apart is the ambiance: space exists between tables and the table itself is also larger (where they sit two people, in other restaurants it’d hold four). The timing of dishes is also well-paced to allow a brief pause between dishes, but still quick enough to keep things under two hours. It’s a place that you’ll want to stay and catch up longer with guests. Just load up on the delicious pasta, maybe you won’t even need dessert.

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 3363 Yonge Street

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
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!


Is That It? I Want More!

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

Padella (Toronto)


Like any good Italian restaurant, you won’t leave Padella hungry. Even as we sipped on wine, a basket of freshly toasted bread and a small bowl of delicious pickled beans arrived, something that even people waiting by the bar were nibbling on. 


To avoid sounding repetitive, I found Padella best suited for people who enjoy under seasoned dishes, which allows an ingredient’s natural flavours to shine, but was too plain for me. Some restaurants add a lot of toppings to their beef carpaccio ($16), the only garnishes at Padella were well-drained capers and shaved parmigiano; even the greens were left undressed. Indeed, we could taste the beef, it just doesn’t taste like much without seasoning.


Similarly, the pan seared octopus ($16) and cannellini bean salad barely had a lick of salt so the flavours were derived from the herbed olive oil. I just couldn’t get used to the octopus’ texture, which was too soft. Sure, you may be thinking tender octopus is a good thing. Yet, when the seafood flavours disappear and the springy texture almost becomes mushy, it no longer tastes like octopus.


The clams to linguine ratio in the vongole ($19) was impressive: equal amounts of seafood to pasta. Moreover, both ingredients were prepared to perfection – the clams just cooked through but still juicy and the pasta retaining that lovely chewiness. If only the sauce wasn’t so acidic – it’s like the chef forgot he added lemon and did a second squeeze, then the person at the pass added a third helping – rendering everything so sour that even the garlic and white wine were masked. This could have been an amazing dish with a quarter of the lemon and double the salt.


Only the spaghetti carbonara ($18) had a decent amount of saltiness from the guanciale, pecorino, and parmigiano. If you like bacon, this dish is for you as Padella doesn’t skimp on the guanciale. Combined with the egg yolk, the cured pork’s fat creates a rich smoky sauce that covers the fresh spaghetti. For me, I would have like more pepper to balance out the flavours.


Padella’s tiramisu ($8) was equally rich with generous amounts of mascarpone cream, making for a moist and decadent dessert. If only it had a stronger espresso flavour it would be even better, but still left us satisfied.


The cozy restaurant was packed on our Monday evening visit. From the number of people speaking to the staff, I could tell there are a lot of repeat customers and this is a neighbourhood joint. The friendly environment and respectable portions were great, I only wish the flavours were better. Luckily, aside from the vongole and octopus, the others are an easy fix with a dash of salt and pepper, something that can easily be accommodated by asking for some shakers. 

Overall mark - 6.5 out of 10



How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 1967 Avenue Road

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
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!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:



Padella Italian Eatery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Francobollo (Toronto)

Francobollo Toronto

While there are tons of Italian restaurants in the York Mills/Lawrence area in North York, Francobollo stands out with their fancy contemporary décor … it’s the place to go to for a nice date night or a swanky evening with the ladies. The restaurant is also about the little touches - like the soft focaccia accompanied by a mini bottle of warmed olive oil. While storing the oil in a warm place causes it to spoil faster, this wasn’t a problem at Francobollo as the golden oil tasted bright and vibrant.


Sitting by the kitchen we could smell the arancini ($16) as it was prepared, how intoxicating the aroma can be for deep fried, smoked provolone smothered products. The arancini’s coating was thin and after breaking through we're greeted with soft risotto rice flecked with wild mushrooms and laced with truffle oil. The starter was good, especially with the hearty tomato sauce that’s thick enough so the crispy balls don’t get soggy.


The burrata ($23) was a sizeable portion, the cheese’s lovely creamy consistency going well with the juicy heirloom tomatoes dressed with basil, thickened balsamic, and olive oil. However, I could have done without the plum pieces, which were hard and somewhat sour and detracted from the dish.


First introduced as a special of the day, the lobster pappardelle ($29) has become a permanent fixture. I can see why the dish was popular: the thick egg noodles are done perfectly and the spicy rose sauce adding just a hint of heat and the perfect consistency to completely cover each noodle. Moreover, Francobollo doesn’t skimp on the lobster; with the concave dish, it’s sizeable portion of pasta as well.


Assuming the restaurant has access to fresh fish daily, they should consider adding the grilled whole orata ($39) to the menu as well.  While the kitchen will filet the fish for you, there’s something about having the meat stay intact on the bone that makes it juicier and more flavourful. So, I asked for it to be left whole and did the work myself.


The orata was nice and flaky, but since the plate was very hot, the bottom of the fish became overcooked by the time I got to it. To be fair, the kitchen already placed it on top of garlic smashed potatoes, roasted parsnips, asparagus, and rapini (to keep it from directly touching the plate). Short of removing the fish and putting it another plate when served, it’d be difficult to stop it from becoming overdone – something that would happen if you’re sharing the fish, especially since it’s a significant portion.

While my husband and I were both stuffed, we continued with dessert to keep the evening going. The mille-feuille ($9) crispy pastry and custard layers were well-balanced, but the dessert could have forgone the raspberry coulis. Meanwhile, the tiramisu ($12), although very creamy, was too sweet and didn’t incorporate enough espresso to balance out all the mascarpone.


Despite the average desserts, the rest of the meal was delicious and Francobollo has now joined the rotation for date-night dinners in the neighbourhood.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 1959 Avenue Road

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
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!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:



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

Getting The Cheesecake Factory without the wait


During one of the coldest nights of the winter, a desire for a comforting “American” fare came over the household and the newly opened Cheesecake Factory came to mind. Do we dare brave the negative thirty conditions to battle the Yorkdale crowd without reservations? Not a chance! That’s when my husband discovered Door Dash exclusively delivers for the behemoth chain.

Since we ordered during the weekend evening rush, the app stated it’d take an hour and a half for the meal to arrive. “It’s a little long,” I thought, “But, I really want Cheesecake Factory.” So, we accepted and hunkered down with wine. Much to our surprise, the order arrived in less than 50 minutes.

Nothing says comfort food like fried macaroni and cheese ($14.95), an appetizer that brings the pasta to a whole other level. While the starter was a bit salty, perhaps due to the marinara sauce, the creamy centre was nice and gooey, unlike other ones I’ve tried that contains so much pasta that it becomes dense. The molten centre goes so nicely with the crispy coating. Just share – having one ball is already enough. 



The Cheesecake Factory’s “glamburger” was unexpectedly delicious, especially for delivery. My husband wrote in a request to have the Americana cheeseburger ($17.95) done medium and the thick patty was indeed a light pink upon arrival. With a rich charbroiled taste, the beef held up against all the other toppings.



Moreover, since the secret sauce, melted American and cheddar cheese, and pickles were all relatively salty, it was smart that the rest of the burger was kept neutral to balance it out. With some thinly sliced potato string for crunch, and grilled onions that help give the ingredient sweetness without the harsh sting, it was a surprisingly satisfying burger.

Since the fries were placed in a separate bag, they arrived warm and crispy, despite being delivered. For those who want a healthier side, you can also substitute the fries for a green salad at no additional cost.

Meanwhile, the chicken enchiladas ($18.95) were the only item that arrived cold. Luckily, it’s the one dish that reheats easily and after a minute in the microwave turned into the fragrant gooey dinner I was craving. Arriving three to an order, the corn tortilla held up under the red chile sauce and melted cheese, with the diced chile pieces adding a bit of heat.



Each enchilada was stuffed with plenty of tender chicken pieces, although I would have preferred if they weren’t breaded. The corn salsa on top was delicious and incorporated grilled corn on the cob pieces. A sizeable side of soft black beans and slightly oily but flavourful cilantro rice also comes with the meal.

 

Canada’s first Cheesecake Factory hasn’t shrunk their portion sizes as it crossed the border. We had enough leftovers to feed at least one other person – this would have been enough for a family with two younger children.

Of course, we had to get a slice of cheesecake – having The Cheesecake Factory and not ordering their signature cake would be a shame. The first layer of the tiramisu ($9.95) was the creamy mascarpone generally found in the Italian dessert, followed by fluffy but flavourful cheesecake, finished with a base of coffee cake and graham crumbs. This final layer was left unsweetened to balance out the sugary top of the cake. Just remove the large sweet glob of chocolate frosting on top, as it started to cover the actual cheesy flavours.



If it weren’t for the amount of waste that gets generated, I’d love to have Door Dash deliver The Cheesecake Factory more often. If you want to save yourself time, consider trying it as well. After all, by the time you find a parking spot at Yorkdale (good luck), walk to the restaurant, and wait for a table it could easily be over half an hour – that’s before ordering and receiving your food. Plus, if you click the referral link, you’ll get $10 towards your first purchase. Full disclosure, I’ll earn a $10 credit as well, think of it as a thank you for saving you time! 

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 3401 Dufferin Street (Yorkdale Mall)

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
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!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:



The Cheesecake Factory Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Celebrating birthdays at Buca Toronto


Before getting into the birthday post, I have to highlight Buca’s sopresini alle vongole ($32), which is one of my favourite pastas - good ol’ spaghetti with clams. At the restaurant, they swap out the long strands of noodles for beautiful calla lily shaped pasta from Emilia Romagna, which are great for capturing the citrusy tomato sauce. Without a shell in site, large pieces of tuatua clams are strewn throughout for satisfying meaty bites.


Now, back to the post…

Some restaurants will have staff sing you Happy Birthday, while most simply stick a candle into a dessert to commemorate the occasion. At Buca, they outdo themselves by giving the birthday person a gift: a chef presents a box of ingredients for capacite pepe spaghetti, a black pepper pasta topped with pecorino.


Along with a quick three-step recipe, you can treat yourself (and perhaps a friend) to an Italian meal in the days to come. It’s a surprisingly thoughtful gesture that makes me wonder why I don’t go to Buca for my birthdays.

Of course, they also have a variety of desserts to ensure the party ends sweetly. A glowing candle arrives in the tiramisu du Buca ($14). While the dessert incorporates the traditional zabaglione and mascarpone mixture, it also contains a generous dollop of chocolate mousse and substitutes tapioca biscuits for lady fingers. The tiramisu is too creamy and sweet for my tastes, but if you enjoy a budino, this has a similar feel.


Give me the frittelle ($14) any day, little bite-sized deep fried buffalo ricotta fritters, paired with zabaglione and blood orange tasting quince. Compared to other desserts it’s simple and safe, but great for balancing out the heavier pasta and pizza combination from earlier in the meal.


Aside from the Italian fare, Buca is known for their use of blood and offal. Pork blood makes its way into the torta di sanguinaccio ($14) where it’s mixed into dark chocolate to create a luxuriously creamy concoction that would put a flourless torte to shame. It’s then doused with liqueur table side and set on fire, perhaps to help melt the chocolate, but unfortunately causes the tonka bean gelato to run as well. I did enjoy the boozy taste it adds to the dessert – trust me you won’t taste a drop of pig’s blood.


Overall, it was one of the better meals I’ve experienced at the restaurant. Thank you Buca for the capacite pepe, a brilliant gift for the birthday girl. What a great idea, so much so that I’m enticed to return in May, for my celebration. 

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 604 King Street West

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog


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