Angolino is a cozy Italian restaurant at the corner of Dupont and Franklin. They serve up classic Italian specialties such as arancini, fresh focaccia and salumi plates with a grin. You might even get some wild game meat on your plate, or even horse salumi garnered through a friendship with Gabrielle Paganelli of Speducci Mercatto .
Located near other favourites like Farmhouse Tavern , this intimate, graciously-lit spot is perfect for a romantic dinner or family evening out. They have imported Italian Peroni on tap for $10, and a variety of local quaffs from Parkdale-based Duggan's Brewery . They also do a luxurious chef's tasting menu for just $60 a head.
Angolino means little nook or corner in Italian, and while many might strive for that feel this place really has it. Formerly a random Portuguese chicken place for decades, the corner spot works perfectly with the name and the tight space feels more familiar than cramped. Curtains and a mix of high and low seating help break it all up without anything feeling out of place.
The gentle light that shines through this little neighbourhood establishment is Rozi Bali, owner. She and chef Tyson Liebrecht both went through gruelling training in Italy, their final test a stage in Michelin-starred Italian restaurants. She's got a real flair for bartending, so we order some drinks.
She recommends a pair of classic Italian cocktails, a negroni (vermouth, gin and campari set off by an aromatic orange peel) and a spritz (aperol and prosecco - the prosecco a brand unavailable in LCBOs, a Serenissima).
They go great with our first delicate course. The whole menu is seasonal, and we get the very last of the zucchini flowers during our visit in the late summer months. At $9, they're stuffed with meyer lemon and ricotta and rest on a zucchini puree.
The manzo, or braised beef short rib ($26), is an Italian entree that'll satisfy those who enjoy a great protein-centric dish. It's served with an au jus and a saffron and pea risotto that's made with chanterelles, chopped sugar snap peas and shelled peas.
This pasta dish looks simple but hides untold wonders: it's the campanelle ($16), a surprisingly beautiful ruffled bell-shaped pasta with wild boar ragu. They also get this special meaty treat from Gabrielle Paganelli. It's actually based on Tyson's mom's recipe, the ragu getting a long braise with juniper and tomato sauce. It's finished off with parmigiano reggiano.
Don't miss out on dessert here: the tiramisu ($7) is done right, elevated just enough that it's an excellent spin on a familiar, sometimes avoided delicacy. It's made with salted caramel, Kahlua and lady fingers soaked in coffee, and no inauthentic cocoa powder. It's topped with salted caramel and a dark chocolate liquid ganache.
Photos by Hector Vasquez