OSTERIA CICERI E TRIA: Classic and simple





416-504-1992   |   $12-30 entrees

Visited Bettola, its conjoined semi-twin earlier in the year and decided to give the Osteria try…just to say I’d been to both. Classic and simple is how I’d describe it.

Food

Here’s what I wrote for Bettola below. I’d write this paragraph again for Osteria almost verbatim:

"Menu reads like a run-through of Italian flavour combinations 101. There’s really nothing you haven’t seen before if you’re familiar with the cuisine. I wouldn’t say it’s a ‘twist on traditional’ kind of place."

Outside of the frequently tweaked menu, the switch of pizza for proteins, and the location slightly north of the other, these places are quite similar.

We started with a selection of five seafood antipasti (above). From left to right: tuna tartare was better sans oily chip, octopus salad was fresh and not chewy, battered shrimp tender juicy, oyster was forgettable, and calamari + radicchio was a nice combo. Overall a pleasant little grouping, but $20 for the simple and very small portions didn’t quite seem right.

We then moved onto the mains with a potato gnocchi and bistecchina (grilled tenderloin, above). Both were well-executed. Potato gnocchi with tomato and basil were fluffy and flavours were clean. Bistecchina melted in your mouth, served classically with arugula, balsamic and cherry tomatoes. 

The two of us finished admittedly hungry, so onto dessert we went for the Dolcetto Fondente (dark chocolate hazelnut cake/pudding served in a cup topped with a zabaione sauce, above). This way my personal favourite of the meal. The cake was perfectly dark and gooey, and especially delightful with some hazelnuts tossed in for some crunch.

Service and Ambience

Service was uneventful and friendly. I’ll give credit where it’s due though and thank our server for recommending the dulce at the end. Much appreciated.

Like Bettola, I liked the look of a space that felt both rustic, simple, and modern at the same time. Open ceiling, geometric graphics on wall/placemats. I very much enjoy this style and think it works well for the Terroni franchise generally.

The Reco?

In the area, its probably a good idea to head here for a guaranteed pleasant Italian meal. I don’t think you’ll be wow’d necessarily and I questioned the portion sizes a couple times, but I did enjoy the food for the most part. I do feel dumb for not actually ordering the Ciceri e Tria (traditional Pugliese stew). It’s probably really good…let me know. Cheers.

Other reviews:
Toronto Life    |     blogTO   

Posted by: Jacob, Visited Dec 23, 2011

Osteria Ciceri e Tria on Urbanspoon

FRIENDLY RECOS

What happens when you ask all your friends if they’ve eaten anywhere awesome recently? Tried on Facebook last night. People come out of the woodwork. See below for their answers:

  • "Marben…brilliant. i’ve been there a bunch of times, and the gnocchi stands out to me—super pillowy soft, ‘cause they make ‘em fresh and without a lot of flour. i also got the marben burger, which isn’t too bad."
  • "other places of note: the black hoof, woodlot and the stockyards if you haven’t been there already."
  • "YES! Gal’s Sushi in unionville. Awesome-ly fresh and they add interesting things to the meals."
  • "Terroni’s grill menu is awesome"
  • "black hoof is a wild scene, man. their charcuterie board included horse, duck tongue and other assorted meats. sweetbreads are good, too."
  • "Ed’s Real Scoop has some of the best ice cream flavours in the city."
  • "Snakes and Lattes is also an incredible experience, though the food is very simple (but tasty! - I love their milkshakes..)"

And saved my favourite comment that ended the thread:

  • "the ultimate goal is frog sashimi somewhere in the depths of tokyo, where they serve a still-beating heart to you on a plate while they prepare the rest of the animal for you. those who finish one of these meals gets a photo on the wall. see you there!"

 Posted by: Jacob, Oct 14, 2011

LA BETTOLA DI TERRONI: Simple Italian done well





416-504-1992   |   $10-20 entrees

Decided to drop by here pre and post Vintages’ Women in Wine event last night.

Food

Menu reads like a run-through of Italian flavour combinations 101. There’s really nothing you haven’t seen before if you’re familiar with the cuisine. I wouldn’t say it’s a ‘twist on traditional’ kind of place.

We ordered some arancini and mixed seafood fritti to start. Arancini were great: nice thin, crisp, hot exterior with a beautiful cheesey risotto texture within. In contrast, the mixed seafood fritti was a miss. The filling was indistinguishable (we suspect shrimp mixed in with the fritter batter?). On top was a carrot salad (meh) and some bacon (yum) that ended being the only flavour on the plate.

For the main, I ordered the chitarra special (thick square-cut spaghetti here) with zucchini, pine nuts, pecorino, and mint garnish. Pasta was al dente and quite dense, and the flavours were clean and simple. Chunks of pecorino and a more generous mint serving would have added more depth of flavour for me.

The pear, gorgonzola, walnut, prosciutto pizza was good, little light on the cheese, but the crust is both fluffy and crispy. Very unique crust. Octopus salad provides a good serving of octopus (light on the ‘salad’) and was bright and flavorful according to others at the table.

Upon returning to the restaurant later that night, we asked for an off-the-menu affogato (crema ice cream with espresso poured overtop). Done right and much appreciated. I also ate the cannolli with honey and pistachio. Not overly sweet filling and well-crisped shells. Definitely enjoyed it.

Service and Ambience

Our server Christina was great all night, offering friendly recommendations, and serving us promptly. It was nice to have a native Italian to converse with (not all servers are Italian, we just got lucky).

Ambience-wise the place has a modern tavern feel with some nice design choices on the place mats and a quirky light fixture arrangement with tops of fire extinguishers.

The Reco?

I like the concept here and I think it’s executed well for the most part. The prices are reasonable, the food is authentic and we had wonderful service.

Other reviews:
Toronto Life    |     blogTO     |      Toronto Star

Posted by: Jacob, Visited Oct 4, 2011

La Bettola di Terroni on Urbanspoon