Amano does fresh handmade pasta from scratch in an unlikely place: one of Toronto’s biggest railway stations. The name compacts the Italian phrase “a mano,” meaning “by hand.”
Part of the massive redevelopment of Union Station, the project was put together by the same folks behind Union Chicken and caters to commuters, travellers, and lovers of great Italian food of all stripes.
The concept places accessibility at the forefront, and though compact, the entire space is completely accessible from entryways to washrooms.
Coffee, baked goods, meats, cheeses, their fresh pasta and other quick goodies along with Amano’s own sauces and olive oil can be purchased from a quick grab and go/pantry area at the entrance.
Ready-made sandwiches include hunter salami with spicy butter ($8.50).
Slim bar seating in this front space holds about nine. The total capacity is about 100, an area beyond the coffee bar embracing a surprisingly refreshing level of elegance, the entire space done by DesignAgency.
Pasta is constantly being handmade within view of both diners and passersby all from solely Canadian flour, some of it from Arla right here in Ontario.
Stools face a marble L-shaped bar and the open kitchen.
Insanely light snapper crudo ($9) is accented by meaty little pickled mussels, yoghurt and dill.
Meat & melon ($9) is a classic flavour pairing, salty fatty prosciutto interwoven with ribbons of cantaloupe set off by mint and chili. Straciatella cheese ($8) pops with roast squash and local Sleger greens.
Gnocchi ($19) or “dumplings” in the layman’s terms the menu uses are topped with Canadian-feeling maple braised rabbit, crispy brussel sprouts and pecorino.
Orecchiette ($15) are actually totally vegetarian and can be made vegan if you hold the cheese, the pasta made with just semolina and water, no egg. It’s very cauliflower-forward with mint, breadcrumbs and chili.
Tortelloni ($21) (“pope’s hat”) fills impeccable pasta envelopes with creamy mascarpone that perfectly underscores rich, tender roasted lamb with olives and fried rosemary.
Conchiglie ($17) is nice and spicy thanks to n’duja sausage, an oily medley of rapini, basil, anchovy and breadcrumbs.
Their aperitivo hour should come as great news to commuters. Every day from 3 - 5 p.m. diners can select as many meats, cheeses and snacks as will fit on their plate for $6 plus buck-an-ounce wine.
Italian 2017 Lambrusco ($12) sets everything off nicely, this unique and refreshing wine filling and increasing number of glasses in restaurants across town as drinkers learn bubbles can be red, too.
Part of the station’s redevelopment includes a Carriageway that lies just outside Amano, with a dedicated thirty-seat patio just for them and an outdoor wine and cheese charcuterie bar to service it year round.