Finding Mezzetta Restaurant is like stumbling across a hidden treasure... right there in midtown Toronto. Not only does this St. Clair West hideaway offer up great service and irresistible value, they've got a truly original menu you'll be hard pressed to find anywhere else in town.
Here, the cuisine is a little bit Greek, a lot Middle Eastern and completely served up mezzes style. Mezzes, if you've never heard the term, are of small dishes meant for sharing, much like Spanish tapas.
I arrive with two friends and we order the standard "Dinner for Three". The deal includes our choice of 15 different dishes from the menu along with pita for $15 per person. Dishes are regularly $3.50 each. Though we have a meat-lover and a vegetarian in tow, both are quite pleased with their options.
We order and soon the procession of aromas and colourful dishes begins... Tabouli Salad, Persian Rice, Chicken Cigars, Fantastic Falafel, Fried Yams, Beef Sambousak, Spinach Boureka, Herbed Eggplant, and Houmous are just a few of the orders.
Highlights include the Beef Sambousak (minced beef wrapped in puff pastry and dressed with mezziki) and Tabouli Salad (cucumber, tomato, onion, crushed wheat, chick peas, mint and lots of parsley). A well balanced mix of slight and strong flavours made each bite an absolute pleasure.
Less impressive were the Chicken Cigars (chicken-liver pate in phyllo, deep fried and served with tahina sauce) and Cheese Boureka (Cheese-filled puff pastry sprinkled with sesame seeds). While still enjoyable, we had to check to the menu to remember what was in these phyllo cigars as there was just not enough filling to carry the meaty flavours across. Same goes for the bourekas -- don't be shy with the cheese, please.
We cleared all 15 dishes with ease and though quite satisfied, still agreed to order up some Baklava for dessert. Almonds, walnuts, cinnamon and cardamom layered between phyllo and drizzled with orange blossom. It tasted just as good as it sounds.
With that perfect ending, we were on our way, but not before noticing a specials board near the entrance. Just when we thought it couldn't get much better, we notice that Mondays bring half-price dishes to the table.
Guess you know where I'll be next Monday.
Mezzetta Cafe & Restaurant
681 St. Clair Avenue West
(at Christie St)
Open weekdays for lunch and dinner, weekends for dinner only.
Also featuring live music on Wednesdays.