I have heard of this place as an alternative to the lovely Caren' wine bar. We decided to try it out on a late Thursday evening.
light, rich, bubbly
The large orange Ciao script type over the entrance is um-mistakable and overwhelming. The small patio on the side is very cozy looking, but it had just rained.
intense, melon, fresh cut grass
As we entered, there were stairs going down with a legitimate amount of space around a pool table. On the main floor there were quite a few tables, with a bar area as a second open-concept level. Very spacious. We called in for a reservation so they sat us down quickly. As they realized we would ideally want to sit outside, the hostess offered we sit on the main level by the patio, as the tall narrow blind-like doors are open - so that we are under the roof but still feel the wind and watch the by-passers.
There is some heavy investing done in the interior of this place, I guess to match the cruising Maseratis. The most impressive part are the spot lights over the tables - large, wooden organic vases turned upside-down; underneath - tables and sofas with coarse wooden frames. And throughout, black ribbed, pillar ambient lights stood out and added even more interest.
, hint of pineapple
The menus were single string bound, cardboard covers with a mechanical stencil typeface (not their best choice), definitely have a look going for them though. Inside - simple and elegant. And the best part is Da Vinci's opening quote: "The discovery of a good wine is increasingly better for Mankind than the discovery of a new star."
All this makes this place perfect to impress someone, but how about the food?
Our waitress was young and polite, a bit on the rush side.
I find it a bit odd that people are expected to know what they will drink right after sitting down. We took our sweet time as I am keen on trying to create a harmony in my palette. A glass of French Gamay Lapierre 2010 for Cheri, a 2010 Niagara Colineri Pinot Grigio for me and a Formaggi Salumeria to share. Oh wait, if the waitress recommends to go w the meat and cheese meat platter because it is the same cheeses but different amounts, I'm in.
dry, semi-sweet, a bit bitter
We waited a bit long for the wines, but glasses of water and fresh focaccia arrived instantly. Pre-cut on a lovely wooden board it came, with a side of jarred hot peppers in oil accompanied by an adorable wooden spoon and parmegiano in a salt-shaker. For a restaurant with an Italian name I was expecting a more flavorful parmegiano than that. (this was the powder, regular stuff you get from the grocery store)
The wines arrived. My Giorgio was a beauty - a complex nose and luscious texture, while Cheri's Gamay had a very heavy nose and a light texture.
Our Prosciutto + Formaggio plate: a few cubes of cheese (brie, gorgonzola and asiago), a line up for sliced prosciutto and hot salami accompanied by grapes, a few slices of fig and apple. I don't meant to be overly-critical but it was nothing impressive flavour-wise nor presentation-wise.
Next we ordered a glass of Inniskillin Vidal Icewine and a Muscato Piedmont Italy to go with their recommended Dark Chocolate Baci Bombe. Our waitresses described this dessert as a giant Ferrero Roche. She was correct and it was very good indeed. But I did not enjoy it quite as much as that Muscato - beautiful nose, floral, light and semi-sweet. Left a beautiful finish in my mouth. The ice wine was a very intense - maple, sweet syrup.
Great wine selection, decent dessert.. if I'm coming in another time I till try out an actual heavy pasta dish or, as a friend mentioned, their Gorgonzola pizza.
overall a glorified sparkling Moet & Chardon
beautiful, snobby package, disappointing product