Situated on the quiet street off Blue Jays Way, Buonanotte is a classy establishment alongside Milagro Cantina, Le Germain Hotel, and Victor Restaurant. The façade doesn’t seem like much; brick walls, large rectangular windows, and a dark grey Buonanotte flag. The entrance has a beautiful set of wooden doors under an arched concrete structure. Inside, the décor will take your breath away. The first thing I noticed was the magical golden grid ceiling. It brought the atmosphere to a new level of class. The stunning space consists of a gorgeous bar along the left side, a kitchen and a pizza oven along the back, and a spacious dining area to the right. The dark mood reflects the intimate atmosphere and an artistic connection to the dishes. The dining area seats an impressive 160 guests with seating arrangements that accommodate small to large parties. Ok, I’m done reminiscing about the space, on to the food!
We started our tasting off with cocktails: Mercer D’estate ($17), Iced Tea, a fruity drink (forgot the name), and Something Clever ($16). Something Clever was everyone’s favourite out of the bunch. Light and refreshing, where you can barely taste the alcohol, my kind of cocktail.
Our first dishes were Carpaccio di manzo ($19) and Il crudo di tonno ($19). The carpaccio was topped with shaved parmesan, cured egg yolk, truffle, and micro greens. It was a fantastic dish with bursts of savoury flavours. The tuna was plated artistically with a brush of squid ink sauce to visually balance the circular dish. The tuna itself was tender and lightly seasoned with cucumber, chili, and pickled mustard seeds. A great start to our meal so far.
The next dish was more artistic than flavourful; Barbabietole al forno ($13) – roasted beets with balsamic, goat’s milk yogurt, pistachio, and beet puree. A beautiful work of art but the flavours didn’t stand out. The subtle sweetness of the beets went well with the balsamic but I was thrown off by the goat’s milk yogurt. The dish was fun to destroy too, dragged the beet across the lines of balsamic and dollops of yogurt. Moving onto our last and tastiest appetizer, Capesante scottate ($19) – pan seared scallops with squash puree, wild mushrooms, sage, and brown butter. They were beautifully seared with a perfect crust and it was surprisingly paired with a squash puree. The puree was delicate enough to let the scallops shine through, plus the brown butter was a matched made in heaven and in our mouths. Fat, juicy scallops are one of the ingredients into my heart.
As an Italian establishment, of course pizzas and pastas were on the menu. We were served Zucchine cacciatore provola ($20) and ‘Nduja uovo funghi ($21). The first pizza was topped with thinly sliced grilled zucchini, gorgonzola cheese, roasted walnuts, fresh basil, and extra virgin olive oil. The gorgonzola cheese seasoned the pizza really well, while the zucchini and walnuts provided fun textures. I was having a hard time focusing on the flavour combinations because the pizza kept falling apart. The crust was significantly too thin to hold up the toppings. Some of us rolled it up and ate it as a burrito or we used our forks and knives. I love thin crust pizzas but not a paper-thin crust.
The second pizza was more exciting but it also had a paper-thin crust. The ‘Nduja uovo funghi was topped with crushed tomatoes, ‘nduja salami, boiled eggs, champignon mushrooms, fior di latte, fresh basil, and extra virgin olive oil. The salami gave it pops of flavour while the mushrooms and eggs gave it a good bite. The boiled eggs were an interesting topping and they added a nice touch to the pizza.
After the pizzas, the pastas and entrees came out. This was definitely a feast! We had Pappardelle con agnello ($21) and Ravioli all’anatra ($26). The lamb ragu was saucy and packed with bold flavours to complement the lamb. I also loved the al dente texture of the pappardelle, it was perfect. Piled high on the plate, the reddish brown ragu just looked scrumptious.
The duck confit ravioli laid flat on the plate with a demi glaze drizzled on top. The pasta was undercooked, making it dense and chewy. I found that the small portion of delicate duck confit was masked by the pasta.
The last courses of our meal were the meat and seafood entrees. We finished with Spigola al pomodoro ($40) and Braciola di vitello ($40). The sea bass had a beautiful golden brown sear and a silky smooth texture that flaked off delicately. It was swimming in a light and flavourful tomato sauce, surrounded by deliciously fresh mussels, clams, and shrimp. When I think of Italian seafood dishes, this combination always hits the spot. The Chiliean sea bass was definitely memorable! This might be the most perfectly-cooked piece of fish I’ve ever put in my mouth.
Lastly, we had the 18oz veal chop. The glorious piece of meat was sous vide with the bone-in, then seared for a finishing touch. The texture of the veal was melt-in-your-mouth tender. Seriously, it needed minimal chewing! The side of mashed potatoes and mushrooms were hardy and scrumptious. I shamelessly mopped up the juices and pancetta cream sauce with my veal and it was SO satisfying. This was such a great dish to end our meal.
We left with happy bellies, satiated taste buds, and a memorable dining experience. There are a lot of new items on the menu to check out during the fall and winter season. The dishes we tasted were part of the new menu, so give them a try if you ever find yourself here! Their classic and authentic Italian dishes are comforting with a modern-take on cooking methods and presentation. You’ll be wow’d by the gorgeous and elegant space, the list of cocktails and wines, the attentive service, and the amazing food.
This was a complimentary meal from Buonanotte Toronto, opinions expressed are my own.