Sunday, January 16, 2011

Osteria Ciceri E Tria

416 955 0258
106 Victoria Street

Although I don't go crazy buying Christmas gifts for friends each year, my best friend Alex and I always take the time to find each other something really special that we can look forward to tearing open a day or two before Christmas. This year, after expressing how broke we both were this holiday season, and how stressed we were thinking about buying all of our Christmas gifts, we decided to give each other the gift of time...and food! No matter how much I love all of the thought and care that goes into the gifts that Alex gets me, nothing could be more special than spending the night in each others company, in a great atmosphere, enjoying a fantastic meal and cocktails. We figured that we would already be going out to eat together during the holidays (we're known for hitting up restaurants to sit for hours on end, spilling our guts out to each other about our latest news, gossip, and drama), and we loved the idea of boycotting the mall, so why not splurge a little more on dinner one night, and really treat ourselves to a great meal for our gift to each other! After going through every single menu on Joanne Kates Top 100 Toronto restaurants of 2010, I decided upon Osteria Ciceri E tria for our Belated Christmas Dinner, because no matter what all you naysayers wanna say about Terroni, I still love it with every foodie bone in my body, so the idea of trying out their sister restaurant was one I just couldn't shake. This past Thursday Alex and I finally went out for our Belated Christmas Dinner and, to be honest with you, it was one of the best gifts I have received all season long!

Casual and rustic, with a trendy edge, I felt totally at home at Osteria. My favourite part? The large communal table that runs down the length of the restaurant, which encourages a dialogue between strangers. I love the mystery of being seated next to a total stranger, who's number you just may leave with by the end of the night! Me and Alex were definitely hoping to get seated at the communal table next to a group of well-dressed, attractive men...ah well, maybe next time.

A rule for any successful Girls Night Out is that every girl must always be accompanied by a fantastic cocktail. My drink of choice for the evening, a classic Bellini. Osteria knows not to mess with a good thing, keeping it simple and true to tradition with simply prosecco and peach nectar. You can't go wrong with a classic.

As alluring as it sounds to be brought five mysterious small plates, that change almost daily, I have to admit I was a little disappointed with the antipasti selection. Out of the five dishes, there wasn't one that stands out in my memory. Personally, I found that they tasted unfinished, like they were missing an ingredient, seasoning or herb. True the antipasti specials change almost daily, so I may have just been on an off night, but I would recommend skipping the antipasti and digging into your Primi or Secondi on more of an empty stomach.

After wrestling over the menu for some time, unable to decide which delicious dish to choose, my server pointed out the specials of the day and I was immediately sold! I enthusiastically ordered the Primo special Fettucini Con Tartufo, which is handmade fettucini with porcini mushrooms, prosciutto, parmigiano regiano, and black truffle shavings. The handmade fettucini noodles were so incredibly light, delicate, and eggy, that the very light olive oil sauce was the perfect choice. The salty flavour coming from the porcini mushrooms, prosciutto, parmigiano regiano, and black truffle shavings could seriously knock someone out, and I mean that in the very best way possible! Although I was full about 1/3 of the way into the dish (the specials are known to be a bit larger than the primo and secondi listed on the menu), I refused to leave one noodle behind, thoroughly enjoying and savoring each and every bite!

Despite how full Alex and I both were, we knew we would regret it for the rest if the night if we didn't order dessert...and didn't each get our own! The dessert selection was fairly limited the night we went, but we still found a choice that we knew could do no wrong. No matter how many times I have had flourless chocolate cake, I still find myself going back for more, so Osteria's Doncetto Fondente, flourless dark chocolate hazelnut cake with warm gianduja sauce and zabaione was my dessert of choice for the night (although I'm wishing they had their Torta Di Ricotta that night, which sounds absolutely divine!). The hazelnuts in the dark chocolate cake set this dish apart from your average flourless chocolate cake, but the real kicker here was the gianduja sauce and zabaione, which added incredible richness, moistness and sweet flavour.

The Verdict?
All in all, I had a great experience at Osteria. Loved the atmosphere, the staff was very friendly and attentive, and, other than the slightly boring antipasti, I thoroughly enjoyed my meal. Osteria, you haven't seen the last of me!

Follow Alex (@freshfromalex) and I (@thisgingerrose) on Twitter!

Listening To:
Miike Snow - Song For No One

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