Sunday, December 23, 2012

Osteria Ciceri e Tria- Toronto, ON

Truffle Pasta 
Meeting up with some old friends for the holidays, we decided to to try the restaurant Osteria Ciceri e Tria. Osteria is an Italian restaurant located in Downtown Toronto, ON.

Upon arrival to Osteria, we were presented with one plate of bread, olive oil and some olives for a table of nine. I proceeded to ask the waiter for another tray to satisfy the other side of the table and was given an awkward response of "I will try". I thought it was quite interesting as nine people passing one small plate of bread across the table was not very comfortable. However, we decided to forget this incident and ordered some wine as we began trying to decipher all the Italian words on the menu.

Osteria's Menu consists of Antipastis, Primi (pastas), and Secondi (typically meat dishes). I decided to try the Taglioni Al Tartufo Nero (priced at $25 a plate), which consisted of freshly made linguine-type pasta covered in truffle oil and accompanied by hen of the wood mushrooms, Pecorino cheese and black truffle shavings.

Some of the antipastis (right to left): house made sausage &
buffalo mozzarella and cherry tomato salad with arugula
My companion decided to go with the Antipasti sampler plus a Primo for $25.00. The Antipasti sampler consisted of five different tastings: 1) a white bean, potato, and kale soup with a bread crustini, 2) a seared shrimp, 3) a buffalo mozzarella and cherry tomato salad on a bed of arugula, 4) a house made sausage and 5) a cheese stuffed arancini deep fried rice ball.  For her pasta dish she went with Orecchiette Di Farro, a shell pasta topped with fried eggplant, light cherry tomato sauce, ricotta salata (a type of ricotta cheese that has been dried and salted) and a sprinkle of basil.

Having very high hopes for my pasta dish, I can honestly say I was really underwhelmed by the taste of the truffle pasta, as it only seemed to have one note: oily. Even though the pasta was cooked to a perfect al dente quality, it did not have much of a taste to it. Also, the shaving of truffles seemed to be variable, as a large number of the group had ordered this pasta. This inconsistency clearly had some receiving more truffle shaving than others.

I was also able to try all five antipastis and can say the arancini rice ball was definitely my favorite. The hot outer deep fried crust of tomato sauce seasoned rice was very tasty. Yet the white bean soup was very bland and like the other 3 samplers, proved to be ordinary to say the least. The Orecchiette Di Farro pasta was filled with a nice cherry tomato sauce and was more flavorful. There was plenty of ricotta cheese added to the dish, which added a heavier feel to it. The shell pasta, also cooked al dente, provided a nice chew to the meal. As we finished our mains, many of us were still left with a feeling of hunger.

Shell pasta with fried eggplant in a cherry tomato sauce
At the end of our meal, the waiter began splitting our bills and each person gave their credit cards for payment. As it turns out, the waiter had put the wrong charges on the wrong credit cards! What a disaster! Unsure of what to do, the waiter stated that he would have to reverse all of our charges and then redo them again. To say the least, we were not impressed.

Besides the mishaps occurring throughout the meal, the service at Osteria was average to below average. One thing I will say in which service was excellent was that our glasses, whether filled with wine or water, were always full.

However, for a Wednesday night this place was pretty lively with almost all the seats in the restaurant being occupied. Osteria seems like a relatively popular hang out place for business men and women working in the Downtown Area. But for me, it was too dark and more lighting is needed (as you can see from my pictures). And for those wine connoisseurs out there, Osteria houses a plethora of various whites, reds and spirits for all palates.

So the question comes down to would I come back? My honest answer? Probably not. The pasta was fresh and tasty, but nothing I couldn't get at many other restaurants. The prices at Osteria were pretty expensive for a relatively small plate of pasta. That combined with the service has left a bad impression in my mind about Osteria...maybe that will change in the future, but for now, I don't plan on coming back.


2/5 Erics

Osteria Ciceri e Tria on Urbanspoon

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