Guys I don’t know what to say. I think I’ve found myself the equivalent of an Italian Sushi Couture! That’s right, folks. That’s how much I like this place.
Location: 6 Scollard St, Toronto, ON
Price: $10-12 per entree (aka really cheap)
Alright guys. This place was elusive. It’s hidden, like some sort of secret area that only lucky people may find. Fortunately, my girlfriend told me about this place and was kind enough to show me where it was. Score! PS – two f’s in caffe? That’s when you know it’s serious business.
The decor is relatively simple. Clean and white, it’s a rather small place. But don’t let its no frills design fool you. By the way, the black pepper here is the good stuff. You can see the individual cracked pepper granules!
They have awesome chairs! I even told the two people heading the place that they had awesome chairs. Also, their washroom has THREE different kinds of hand soaps in it! I obviously did not take a picture of the interior of the washroom — that’d just be weird. But really, at some restaurants they don’t even have one hand soap up and running. This place has three! In any case, on to the food.
When I say no frills, I really do mean no frills. In fact, this establishment does not even have a standard pasta menu. Rather, they have daily creations every day made fresh. As such, rather than filling up the menu with many different kinds of variety, they’ve chosen to focus on what they know they can do well. While some people may not appreciate the lack of quantity, I think that this restaurant more than makes up with it with an abundance of quality. We ordered the bruschetta to start (I absolutely love bruschetta), lasagna, and the fornino pizza (freshly shaved parimagiano-reggiano, prosciutto, fresh tomato sauce, arugula, and extra virgin olive oil). I also decided to get an expresso, just because.
I’m actually not much of a caffeine person but I make it a point to try out expressos and coffees at places like this. They’ve got the really good stuff — even though it’s more expensive, you get a real kick out of drinking them!
I totally nerded out over this bruschetta. I watched the chef grab a fresh basket of cherry tomatoes so that he could work on making this in the kitchen. Liberal amounts of high quality EVOO, salty olives, fresh parsley, bruschetta, crispy, fresh bread — this was essentially heaven on a plate. The thing is, with something as simple as a bruschetta, you can really see the quality of the ingredients used. And this appetizer was an indication of what everything else would be like. I could not stop raving about this until the rest of the food came. Honestly, it was really good!
This was one of the fresh pasta creations of the day. I don’t usually have lasagna because I feel that most of the time, it’s just not good (at home, or at restaurants). Either there’s too much pasta, not enough sauce, the sauce isn’t good, there’s too much meat, not enough cheese, etc.
This lasagna, however, was different. It was a very large portion, easy to share between two people, and there was the perfect amount of cheese. The tomato meat sauce had a nice balance of simple, delicious tomato flavor and meaty goodness, and the pasta sheets used were not too thick. At this point, the chef came by and offered us chili oil. That’s right! Some places may offer you chili flakes, but this place offered us oil infused with chili to add to the experience!
As some of you readers may remember, I went to Terroni a couple months back so that I could try what some claim to be the ‘best pizza’ in Toronto. While I did enjoy the pizza there, it was by no means ‘awesome’.
You see, this pizza WAS awesome. They also gave me an actual knife to cut the damn thing, which is loads of bonus points — I had a difficult time with my butter knife at Terroni. Now, while at first glance the quality of the crust here may appear similar to Terroni, it manages to hold up and stay solid and crispy. Comparatively, Terroni’s crust is soft, and, dare I say, soggy, when it comes to the parts that have sauce and toppings on them. The prosciutto here was nice and salty along with the cheese. Just thinking about it again now as I write up this post makes my mouth water! At this point, we decided that it simply would not do to not have dessert. So, we ordered a tiramisu!
But it actually wasn’t! This cake was soft and fluffy, with mounds of coffee flavor. The caramel, cherry, and chocolate sauce ribbons that cover the dish actually only help to bring out extra sweetness to the dish. They are not overpowering at all. I’m not the best at explaining desserts, so I’ll just let the picture do the talking here. Needless to say, this is one of the better tiramisus that I’ve had!
Conclusion: The crazy thing about this place is that it offers better food than Terroni, at around half the price! This is one place I’m going to whole-heartedly recommend to all of you from the bottom of my being. It’s just that awesome. I have no complaints. Like I said, the Italian Sushi Couture! So I guess you already know the rating here. 10/10
Minor Update: Caffe Di Portici now offers delicious cold drinks like inverted iced cappuccinos for the summer. As well, their patio is now opened, and talking to some of the folk in the storcaffe, they’re planning on obtaining a liquor license! All the more reason to try Caffe di Portici out. 😉