September 5, 2012

Enoteca Sociale

Toronto has such a profusion of restaurants I often have a hard time just picking one place to go. I’ve heard a lot about the house-made pasta at Enoteca Sociale, so I thought I would try it out myself. 

My friend and I arrived at the restaurant around 6:00P.M and we were the first customers of the night. The restaurant is candle-lit, has a cozy and eclectic atmosphere and French doors that open into a side patio. The service was great, attentive without smothering.

The Menu breaks down traditionally into antipasti, secondi, contorni, cheese and desserts. Simple is good in Italian food and by first glimpse I can see a lot of traditional, simple and flavorful dishes. For starters, we had Arancini con Mozzarella di Bufala & ‘Nduja ($15). These deep fried risotto balls had a crispy exterior and a sticky buffalo mozzarella filled centre served in a thick tomato sauce. I think the freshness and natural sweetness of the tomatoes were the perfect balance with the richness of risotto balls. These risotto balls were good but definitely better as a sharing plate. I'd have a hard time finishing all three by myself. 

Arancini con Mozzarella di Bufala & ‘Nduja ($15). 

I ordered the Bucatini All’Amatriciana & House Made Guanciale ($15) for my main. The pasta dish is spicy, yet sweet from the tomatoes. The sauce taste delicious, its rich and flavorful without being overwhelming. The simplicity of the dish is simply remarkable. My only concern was the homemade guanciale (aka bacon), which consist almost entirely of fat, making the dish taste rather heavy.

Bucatini All’Amatriciana & House Made Guanciale ($15) 

My friend ordered the Gnocchi ($16) for her main. And again the tomatoes sauce is delicious. I also like the combination of nudja, stracchiatella and basil. However, the texture of the gnocchi wasn’t to my liking. My idea of good gnocchi is a little bit chewy and has a texture that allows every morsel of gnocchi to be covered with the sauce. The gnocchi served at Enoteca was certainly fresh, but were too soft. They literally melted in your mouth.

Gnocchi ($16) 

All the plates at Enoteca have suggested wine pairings. On Mondays and Tuesdays, there is a half-priced discount on Red “Enomatic” wines. Our server was very knowledgeable and knows what to suggest with the menu. From her recommendation we opt for the Barolo 2006 ($15 [price after discount]) and Sagrantino Di Montefalco 2006 ($10 [price after discount]). Barolo is often paired with meat dishes, heavy pastas and risottos, and it was paired perfectly with our meal.

Barolo 2006 ($15 [price after discount])

Coming into a restaurant with so much hype, I often find myself disappointed. However, the service at Enoteca Sociale was friendly and the food was enjoyable. Given the chance, I think I would return for a second time. 

D├ęcor - 7
Atmosphere - 8
Service - 9
Food - 8
Overall - 8 

Enotca Sociale 
1288 Dundas Street West 
Toronto, ON M6J 1X7
(416) 534-1200
Enoteca Sociale on Urbanspoon

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