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Bobby and I were looking for a nice mid-week dinner out and decided to head up to Streetsville and try out Mondello Ristorante. What a pleasant surprise it turned out to be—I can’t wait to share the experience with you!
Immediately upon walking into the restaurant, I felt at home. The décor was calming and lovely and the staff greeted us like we were old friends. We chose a table in the middle of the action and settled in to see what was in store. There was a lovely booth in the back of the restaurant that would be perfect for a romantic dinner for two.
There were many other diners there that night and it sounded like a lot of them were regulars. Our servers were very attentive and took time to explain the menu and specials—they got me excited to try their food!
We started with a bottle of 2010 San Pio Volpolicella Ripasso ($45) which was silky and smooth with a decidedly peppery bite on the finish. Excellent! There were many appetizers ($7–24) on the menu—bruschetta, meatballs, arancini, calamari. With so many choices, we decided not to make one and instead opted for the Mondello Platter ($24) so we could try a little bit of many different things.
And what a great choice! It came with two moist and tender meatballs in a rich tomato sauce, plus two arancini—risotto balls stuffed with cheese, coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried—which were equally delicious. The calamari curls were expertly grilled, tender and sensational with a spicy dipping sauce. Two pieces of bruschetta with tomatoes, garlic, basil and asiago cheese provided a crunchy goodness. And to finish it off, a fresh salad lightly dressed with a great vinaigrette. But the best was yet to come.
The menu is full of delicious items including salads ($9–14), pizzas ($12–17), pastas and risottos ($14–22) and mains ($15–30). Bobby chose the Veal Marsala with a wild mushroom sauce. The veal was tender and the sauce was flavourful. The accompanying asiago and garlic mashed potatoes had a perfect texture and baby carrots rounded out the meal—Bobby was happy!
I chose the Wild Cheese Tortellini with wild mushrooms, garlic and chicken in a truffle cream sauce. Doesn’t that sound delicious? I’ve never met a mushroom I didn’t like; add truffles and I’m in heaven! Plump tortellini, lots of mushrooms and a creamy sauce with a hint of the truffle on the tongue—yum! The chicken was started on the grill and then finished in the sauce giving it a wonderful depth of creamy goodness. Thinking about it makes me want more!
For dessert, they offered up an incredible list of decadent delights. We chose the house favourite—a concoction of peanut butter ice cream with a caramel center all wrapped in chocolate. Yummy! Add a deliciously creamy cappuccino and we were done. It was great!
Sometimes the atmosphere of a place can even top the food to make for an enjoyable evening, and I must say the staff at Mondello were terrific. Andrew served us our mains, and Heather took care of the desserts. Nico, the chef/owner, came to our table twice to ask if we were enjoying ourselves. Jessica, Nico’s wife, made sure that the front of the house was running smoothly.
I’ve mentioned before being impressed by the seemingly choreographed dance of the servers making the service smooth and seamless, and these people were fun to watch. Everyone jumped in to clear tables and make sure diners were happy, and they did it all with huge smiles on their faces. It’s clear that they all thoroughly enjoy their jobs and it really made the evening special. I know that Bobby and I will definitely be going back—the sooner the better!
Words by Tara Pepper