Thursday, November 17, 2011

enoteca sociale.

This past Wednesday, Lo, Gabbs and I had a hot date. 

With Lo's dad, Guy, that is. 

You see, he was visiting all the way from our hometown, Victoria, and we wanted to take him somewhere special for a meal (well really, it was him taking US out, but you catch my drift.) We'd heard great things about Enoteca Sociale, so we decided to head on down there for some Italian grub. 

Enoteca Sociale is a cozy, candle-lit spot on Dundas West with an intimate atmosphere and their own in-house cheese cave (awesome!) We arrived early to get a table, as they were booked up but reserve half the restaurant for drop-ins, and immediately tucked in to some delicious bread with olive oil, olives and of course, wine.

We ordered a whole slew of appetizers. Arancini with stracciatella, arugula and caramelized onions was the first of the bunch I sampled, and by far one of my favourite parts of the meal.

Perfectly crisp fried risotto balls with a soft, creamy centre served on a bed of caramelized onions and topped with fresh arugula, they were delicate little globes of perfection that left me wanting just one more. 

Ontario buffalo mozzarella in carrozza, anchovies, pickled shallots and parsley was the recommendation of our server, and arrived looking like two slices of an adorable little grilled cheese. It wasn't a huge hit due to the strong anchovy flavour, but if you like those fishy little guys, you surely wouldn't mind.

Grilled octopus with rapini, new potatoes, chilies and roasted pepper tuffo was a gorgeous tower of food, and although I'm not usually a fan of octopus, it had a tender texture and went wonderfully with the crisp rapini. I mopped the plate clean of the creamy roasted pepper sauce with a slice of bread (typical, but always a good sign.)

I ordered the house-made pappardelle with Ontario lamb ragu, house-smoked guanciale and don panchego for my main. Our server told us it was a favourite. The portion was small and rich with lamb that was fall-apart tender and flavourful, having soaked up all the delicious tomato-ey juices. So rich, in fact, that I could barely finish my small serving.

Gabbs, Lo and Guy went for pasta of a simpler, lighter nature - probably a smart decision after the rich appetizers, but when have I ever been known to make smart decisions? - with the bucatini al'Amatriciana with spicy tomato sauce and guanciale, above, and the spaghetti cacio e pepe with pecorino and tellicherry black pepper, below. I especially loved the spaghetti and its delicious simplicity.

Loved the exposed painted-white brick! One of the many cool decor touches.

Our fullness levels at the end of our meals had us toying with the idea of skipping dessert, but we decided at the last minute to try the pumpkin bread pudding with cardamom cream and amaretto dulce de leche.

As I've said before, I'm not much of a dessert person, but man was I glad we ordered this dish. Soft hunks of just-sweet-enough pumpkin bread with a slightly crisp, saltier edge drizzled in cream and dulce de leche. The few bites I had will be lingering on my taste-buds' memory for a while. That good.

Check out Enoteca Sociale if you've got an impending date (with a dad or otherwise) or just feel like treating yourself to some delicious food in a cozy, intimate atmosphere that feels like a special occasion. And check out the cheese cave - which we, stupidly, forgot to do. And tell me how cool it was if you beat me to my next visit. 

Enoteca Sociale
1288 Dundas Street West
Toronto, Ontario


  1. Thanks Guy!! A delicious meal. PS that "Gabbs" is a real hottie..

  2. Is Gabs the one sitting with Guy?...definitely a hottie

  3. Who are all these other "Anonymous" people that are stealing my anonymous presence. I guess I'll have to start logging in so you know who the real me is that is badgering you. So overall, did you love it? or only kind of like it?
    P.s. I'm cooler and have sampled the cheese was exciting!