Autogrill front


Autogrill 's been around since 1996, started by brothers Steve and Sandro Costa and their friend John Bastone. Their goal was to open an upscale restaurant that offered quick service and fresh ingredients and as far as I could tell last night, their efforts paid off.

I've been curious about the place but never tried it until Winterlicious .

Autogrill Winterlicious menu

The interior, like the Web site, is sleek and modern-looking. Check out the intriguing design of the fluorescent light fixtures in the photo below:

Autogrill interior

It also has a well-stocked bar; see their Web site for a list -- you can turn off the annoying percussion-bass loop by clicking on "SOUND OFF" in the lower left corner.

Autogrill bar

They brought us bread with a tapenade spread while we browsed the menu:

Autogrill Bread

I had already made my choices before arriving; for $25, you got a choice of an appetizer, main course and dessert. I started with the P.E.I. Mussels, served with green onions, spicy tomato sauce and crostini -- normally $11.95 when ordered off their regular menu.

Autogrill mussels

Yum. I sopped up the leftover sauce with some bread. For my main course, I ordered the Magic Mushroom Risotto. How could I not, with a name like that? To my surprise, I was served a salad instead. When I told the server that I had ordered the risotto, she just stared at me and then walked away.

Hm. At first I wasn't sure whether she had heard me, but several minutes later our original server brought my risotto and apologized for mishearing my original order.

The wait was worth it; my Magic Mushroom Risotto was fantastic -- flavourful and the perfect consistency. The dish was prepared with shiitake, oyster, and portobello mushrooms in a porcini mushroom stock, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and truffle essence, and costs $17.95 when ordered off the regular menu.

Autogrill risotto

My dinner companions were also happy with their choices, which were the Absolut Penne with smoke bacon, green onions, fresh basil and parsley tossed in a vodka tomato cream sauce (normally $13.95):

Autogrill penne

and a lemon veal (hm...I couldn't find this on the regular menu):

Autogrill veal

We finished off our Winterlicious meal with the homemade tiramisu (served with Belgian dark chocolate shavings and berry coulis), which was excellent:

Autogrill tiramisu

The waitress who stared at me earlier when I told her about the wrong order was cheerful and friendly by the time we ordered dessert, so I figure she must have just been stressed earlier; the place was packed, likely with other Winterlicious diners.

Autogrill also offers home and office delivery through Restaurants On The Go or call 416-932-3999. Family-friendly, and good for large groups.

Autogrill interior

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