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Maialino Enoteca Italiana

Posted by Anna Rose Kowalski / Listed on March 30, 2012 / review policy

Enoteca Maialino ItalianaEnoteca Maialino Italiana shines as a beacon in Parkdale with welcoming staff, astonishing food, and striking décor. Opening quietly in mid December there hasn't been much buzz devoted to the restaurant in the months that have intervened. My guess is that within the next month, however, this will be one of the 'it' spots in the west end.

Enoteca Maialino ItalianaOwner Mike Rutigliano was a hairdresser, but after 16 years he hung up his scissors to fulfill a promise he made to his great grandfather to one day continue the family business. Having grown up spending time in his family's espresso bars, he had a clear knack for the service industry. Several years after his great grandfather's passing, Rutigilano opened Barista Espresso Bar — now, a few years later, he's jumped head first into the restaurant business with Maialino.

Appetizers: Porchetta ($8) and Crostini Con Uova di Quaglia ($9)
Enoteca Maialino ItalianaAs a meat lover I was excited to see the Mount Everest style plating of slow-roasted, shaved pork. It rests on a bed of lentils and shares the plate with peporonata and caramelized onions. My first mouthful is of the pork alone, which sets my taste buds into a dance. The meat is fatty and flavourful. Then, putting all of the ingredients onto my fork for the full affect, I'm blown away by the complexity of what is apparently such a simple dish. The onions and peporonata offer a sweet and silky coating for the tender meat.

Enoteca Maialino ItalianaThe quail eggs are arranged beautifully, their speckled shells sharing real estate with frisee. I scoop up the yolk and smear it onto the crostini. Unfortunately the crostini is too crunchy, and doesn't do much for the light egg taste. Putting the yolk onto a piece of soft bread, which was brought to the table alongside Sicilian olive oil upon our arrival, I'm able to enjoy this delicacy.

The chef brings over arancini without us ordering it, "because we just have to try it!" The only way to describe this traditional rice balls is that it gives me the same warm and cozy feeling that a blanket does. Order the arancini ($7) — don't share it.

Mains: Ravioli alla Norma ($15) and Stinco di Maiale in Agrodolce ($23)
Enoteca Maialino ItalianaRavioli is traditionally eaten as a primi but after two appetizers this is a perfect main. The pasta is made in-house and stuffed with eggplant. The pasta is properly al dente, which combines with the smooth filling to produce an above average dish. Covered lightly in a cheery pachino tomato sauce, this is a dish that would easily make chef Boyardee weep with envy.

Enoteca Maialino ItalianaThe braised pork shank comes highly recommended by the server, so I give it a go. The moist and tender meat sits in a bowl of cherry tomatoes, dandelion greens, capers, celery and green olives — it's a salt-lovers dream. Even better, the acid from the vinegar reduction creates a tangy punch that accentuates each ingredient while also preventing the sodium from getting out of control.

Dessert: Cannoli ($7)
Enoteca Maialino ItalianaI am stuffed but cannot say no to dessert. A recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation, it's clear why the cannoli is outstanding. The smooth and fluffy ricotta cheese is particularly noteworthy, which makes sense given that it comes from a local Sicilian distributor.

If you are in the market for an adopted Italian family, the folks at Enoteca Maialino Italiana welcome you as one of their own. Maialino proves to be a restaurant to be reckoned with. The portion sizes are overwhelming but tackle them, as each dish is stacked with an unbeatable taste.

Enoteca Maialino Italiana



Mia / February 13, 2012 at 10:20 pm
The food here is delicious and the service was incredible. They pulled out all the stops; offering us complimentary Proseco, house made salami and exquisite cheese. Our entrees were divine. My partner had the lamb, which literally melted in the mouth, and I had a delicious seafood special. The service was incredibly attentive and I will definitely return.
Mia / February 13, 2012 at 10:24 pm
Oh, and try the rabbit... Amazing!
Christian / March 30, 2012 at 09:31 am
Place looks like it's worth a try and the prices look decent. I'll add it my list. Thanks for the suggestion Anna Rose.
Patricia / March 30, 2012 at 09:36 am
My husband is Sicilian and we are due for a date night. So I will check it out for sure!!!!
parkdillyo / March 30, 2012 at 10:02 am
is it just me, or is anyone else having trouble pronouncing the name? how the hell do you even say it? "Maialino"?
shane / March 30, 2012 at 10:04 am
Again, what is it with blogto not providing the loacation of the restaurant in the review? Please provide such basic details. Far too often in reviews and the like these basic details are missed. Thanks!
Shane / March 30, 2012 at 10:07 am
OOps!! Utterly blind. There it is there, the "location and contact details", on the right hand side. Sorry guys!
danielle / March 30, 2012 at 10:09 am
I have to say my friends and I were a little disappointed with our meal here. It had been open for about a month at that point, so I would think most of the kinks had been worked out. The apps were all pretty good, but our mains - which sounded great on paper - seemed to be under-seasoned and as a result were somewhat bland. As a restaurant entering the 'rustic Italian' game this late in the trend, you had better be at the top of your game. I should point out that our server was terrific and made wonderful wine suggestions. Oh, and the cannoli were great. Perhaps just an off night in the savoury kitchen?
JoeParez replying to a comment from parkdillyo / March 30, 2012 at 10:10 am
It's pronounced exactly as it's shown.

S / March 30, 2012 at 10:44 am
The food here is phenomenal and the staff are lovely. I will definitely be going back.
enuff / March 30, 2012 at 11:17 am
Time for a new slogan for all these restaurants.

No more "Enoteca ..."
jt / March 30, 2012 at 11:28 am
"Covered lightly in a cheery pachino tomato sauce, this is a dish that would easily make chef Boyardee weep with envy."

yikes. any comparison to Chef Boyardee, whether flattering or not, is a hurtful comparison. Yay, it tastes better than Chef Boyardee....
Cbab replying to a comment from shane / March 30, 2012 at 11:29 am
The address is in the "Location and Contact Details" box just off to the right of the review. This is always the way they've done it, as far as I can recall.
tnt replying to a comment from parkdillyo / March 30, 2012 at 11:49 am
MA--eee--eye-leee-no....means little pig
Matt / March 30, 2012 at 12:07 pm
What a wonderful meal I had here with my wife a couple of months ago. Our new 'go-to' Italian resto...
Mary / March 30, 2012 at 01:43 pm
I found a hair in mine.
Quaker Oat / March 31, 2012 at 02:39 am
I can't stop thinking about poor Chef Boyardee, weeping with envy someplace. It's just sad. Think of his accomplishments. It's not enough. Tears.
Josh replying to a comment from Quaker Oat / April 2, 2012 at 12:42 am
Actually Chef Boyardee (Boiardi) did have huge achievements he had a very successful restaurant in Ohio in the 20's. It was only because of the high demand for his food and his recipes that he released canned products. Now 90 years later you're dropping his name on a blog, his brand, and his name live on.
brampton movers / April 2, 2012 at 03:27 am
So nice dish is to good.
chi-cha / April 9, 2012 at 01:07 pm
Well overrated, the food was just OK. We had ordered chicken cone and mozzarella cheese with Prosciutto for appetizers. The chicken cone was nothing special, and appeared to be more of a hide out for kitchen leftovers (rice,tomato sauce,chicken, cheese). My husband had ribs that were mainly fat and came accompanied with semi cooked shallot halves. I have ordered black cod that came accompanied with 3 slices of zucchini, it was a good tasting but the small size had astronomical price tag ($26). The best part was dessert, delicious moist chocolate souffle and cannoli. Server was knowledgeable about vines but service is really slow, seemed like one server on Saturday night.
Marcus / May 8, 2012 at 04:35 pm
Make sure you eat before you go! So little food for so much money. The food was ok, not great. I had the aged prosciutto appetizer and the ravioli. The prosciutto was mostly fat and came with a few tiny breadsticks. Do Sicilians not eat bread? Not a rhetorical question - I really don't know.
ninki replying to a comment from Mia / June 20, 2012 at 04:03 pm
Nono / September 16, 2012 at 04:57 pm
Went last night. Had Octopus carpaccio and it was half frozen. The lobster spaghetti had the constancy of and tasted like ramen. Sever didn't even ask if everything was ok when we left most of the spaghetti. I wanted to like this place but other than the bread, we were very disappointed.
Andy North / April 4, 2013 at 09:48 pm
Went there last week. Won't go back. I was born and lived half of my life in Italy, spent several summers in Sicily, worked as a chef for a few years and owned two restaurants. This to say that I know a bit about Italian cuisine. MAJOR disappointment! Lots of money for minuscule portions (definitely not 'Sicilian'). Unimpressive food. Ok wine.

Sicilians do eat bread! Trust me on this!
Sarah / April 14, 2014 at 11:09 am
We went to this cute little restaurant on Saturday night for my birthday and had a GREAT experience. The food was delicious, cocktails were great and the servers were fantastic. Sometimes I'm wary about large groups and what kind of service to expect but the staff went above and beyond to make my birthday easy and enjoyable. We had a blast and can't wait to go back and sample more of the menu.

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