Nove Trattoria (number 9 in Italian) opened its doors four months ago at the somewhat cursed location of 1406 Yonge St. where a succession of restaurants have failed in the past. But things are about to liven up the St. Clair and Yonge area with this bustling new trattoria. Think 5 Doors North , 7 Numbers , Enoteca Sociale and Tommaso's Trattoria and you've got the idea. Don't count on sitting on a patio because St. Michael's Cemetery lies out back.
Nove Trattoria gets its name from the 9 brothers and sisters of the Bianco family: Riccardo, Marcello and Vito are the busy owners/waiters/pizza cooks who keep this place buzzing from 11:00 a.m. until whenever they feel like closing.
I am signora for the evening and after sending back our first bottle of acidic Merlot (without any fuss) we begin to examine the menu. We choose the Carpaccio di manzo which is a thinly sliced beef variation with shaved parmesan, arugula and truffle oil. The meat is pink and rare and melts in my mouth. The truffle oil is a nice addition and the generous amount of parmesan is aromatic and sharp. ($12.00)
We make the mistake of ordering the "Rucola gorgonzola e pere" ($11.50) which is their version of an arugula, poached pear, gorgonzola and tomato salad. The pear is rock hard and so is the tomato. I thought this was supposed to be harvest time in Toronto! Sheer stupidity on my part for overdosing on the arugula: I deserve it!
The pasta dishes fly by us and the portions look huge so we split a "Spaghetti alla sorrentina" ($16.50 - top). It's a nice seafood pasta with an abundance of mussels, shrimp, baby clams, calamari and scallops. The seafood is cooked perfectly here: I sop it up with the flavourful homemade tomato sauce accompanying the dish.
We sit next to the open-kitchen watching as the pizzas churn out. It's getting busy here: people come and go with their take-out orders.
There are 10 different pizzas on the menu and 9 of them are named after the brothers and sisters of the Bianco family. The "Riccardo" ($13.50) is a sausage, porcini mushroom and smoked scamorza cheese pizza. The "Vito" ($12.50) is comprised of: fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, baby arugula, bresaola and parmesan. They both look really good but...maybe next time.
We complete our meal with the "Vanilla chocolate tartufo" ($4.50) ice cream which has an outer layer of ground hazelnuts. Delizioso!