This little Italian restaurant is tucked away on James Street South and is really easy to miss. I’ve driven by that area a bajillion times since I was a kid and I’ve never noticed the restaurant – it’s pretty much a hidden gem. Inside, seating is very limited with a few stools at the bar. The walls are painted red like tomato sauce. Decor is dated but it has a homey feel. Once you step in the door, you’re hit with the aroma of delicious pasta and pizza. If you scan the tables, you’ll find huge bowls overflowing with pasta, raised dishes of freshly baked pizza, baskets of chicken wings, and drinking glasses (if there’s room).
My grandparents were in town and surprisingly wanted something other than Chinese food. I quickly made a reservation for a party of 7 for 7pm. When we arrived, all the tables were still full. The two waiters seemed super busy, running back and forth but service was slow. Tables were waiting for take out boxes, food or the bill. Apparently, they never get this busy and tonight they served a lot of large parties.
Seeing as how every table took home leftovers, we knew the serving sizes were going to be epic. We ordered 5 items for the 7 of us… AND we still had leftovers! We started a salad and a sad looking bruschetta. I was fooled by its appearance because the tomatoes were warm and popping with flavour that sat on a beautiful piece of toast. I’m pretty sure we were all deceived by the presentation.
Next, all our dishes piled onto our table. The pizza came out, followed by the lasagna and the chicken parmesan. We ordered Under the Tuscan Sun and Pizza Bianca. Both were fresh, hot, and had a deliciously crunchy crust. Under the Tuscan Sun is their version of the Margherita – toppings were Bronzies homemade pesto with ripe tomatoes, feta cheese, and fresh spinach. The pesto brought everything together and the bits of feta cheese throughout added pops of salty goodness. Our second pizza, Pizza Bianca, didn’t shine as bright. Topped with white sauce, chicken, bacon, and onion, the flavours weren’t interesting. The bits of fried chicken were yummy to munch on.
The lasagna looked magnificent on the plate. Piled high and drowning in tomato sauce, I was excited to dig in. Layered with 7 sections of pasta, ground meat, and cheeses, this classic lasagna made my taste buds happy. Everything was balanced, savoury, and comforting. The chicken parmesan was just average. The piece of fried chicken was seaoned and cooked well but the pasta and the sauce was a bit bland. A sprinkle of cheese and salt was what it needed. Food thing these were on every table, along with red pepper flakes and black pepper.
We ended up taking home our pizza. Even when I reheated them the next day, they were still so delicious! Overall, our dinner was ok. Some menu items stood above other and the portions were huge. Service was lacking because they were under staffed but their attitudes were all positive and cheery. Although we got impatient at times, we were understanding. I’ll have to go back another time to check out the pastas and wings. Hopefully it’ll be less hectic. Definitely make reservations if you’re planning on visiting during the weekend!