This past Friday night was spent dining with the girlfriends at Villaggio Ristorante. We had been trying to get together for a LONG time and were really looking forward to seeing each other, what better way to catch up then to share some authentic Italian food in a happening place. Villaggio just went through a massive renovation, and the new space looks really great. With the new open concept dining, you can literally see through to the back of the restaurant from the hostess stand at the entrance. We were considering going downtown Toronto but then I thought why? Here you can get the downtown vibe and not have to worry about finding parking, this is really a win win situation.
This Friday night was particularly cold, we are just entering the 2nd week of November which should be relatively mild. Anyhow, we arrived at the restaurant at 8pm and found parking in the back. We could tell Villaggio was bustling with activity as we drove by their huge windows – part of the new design. To me first impressions are everything, by the time we were greeted and swiftly taken to our table I was impressed.
Our server was very attentive and answered all of our questions expertly, seven girls – a few with some dietary restrictions we do tend to ask a lot of questions. We were seated at a round table at the back of the restaurant, this was a great table as we felt we were tucked away while still part of all the action.
The menu was not expansive, I can’t do menus that are more than three pages long. When a restaurant has a concise menu there are a few things that always ring true:
- Reduce extra dishes that aren’t in line with the overall concept. This means that each and every dish that is left on the menu can be a more of a pure reflection of the restauran
- Dishes have been crafted with a high degree of thought
- Streamline and improve the ordering process and service
Ok now to talk about what we ordered! Started off with a few appetizers, we were expecting them to be more sharable based on the descriptions. They are best to be shared between two people.
Calamari – lightly battered and fried. It tasted light with a side of lemon, exactly like how calamari should. This app can be shared between 2-3 people.
Caesar Salad – romaine hearts, crispy prosciutto, shaved parmigiano- reggiano, garlic crostini mixed with Villaggio Caesar dressing. This dressing was perfection with a hint of dijon mustard, not your traditional caesar dressing.
Mushroom Tower – large mushroom cap topped with peppers and goat cheese with a balsamic glaze. Was a nice light vegetarian appetizer. From the description we were expecting a tower of mushrooms, would be a good starter for one.
Arugula Salad – crispy speck, green apple, toasted sliced almonds, honey white balsamic vinaigrette. This was a light salad where you can taste the freshness in the homemade dressing.
Antipasto Mediterraneo – grilled bell peppers, white onion, jalapeno, portobello mushroom & whole garlic sautéed with extra virgin olive oil. This appetizer was on the smaller side.
Margherita – fresh mozzarella di bufala, basil, with a tomato sauce base. Traditional Margherita that was perfect, the sauce was fresh and the hint of basil was all that was needed.
Agnello – 14oz braised Australian lamb shank, sautéed cabbage, black beans, natural reduction. The lamb was tender and juicy and the black bean gave it an interesting texture. Would recommend adding a starch or a vegetable to balance off the dish.
Intero -fresh grilled whole fish with lemon, pineapple jalapeno salsa, seasonal vegetables & potato. Perfectly seasoned and cooked white fish – made a amazing light dinner.
B52 Cheesecake – Bailey’s and Kahlua infused Cheesecake. This was one of the lightest Cheesecakes I have ever had. It was light and fluffy with just the right amount of sweetness, there is a reason this Cheesecake is a long standing menu item.
We had an incredible time at Villaggio, the food, the service, and the ambiance made the experience enjoyable. Love the new look and will definitely return next time for date night.
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