Vicino Italian Kitchen
Vicino Italian Kitchen is a casual restaurant for housemade pizzas, pasta, and gelato.
With floor-to-ceiling windows and a breezy patio that opens up to the grassy fields of the Regent Park Athletic Grounds across the street, Vicino takes up some prime real estate at the bottom of The Sumach building.
Residents of the rental units above are just a walk downstairs away from a local menu of uncomplicated Southern Italian eats, where nearly everything ,from the sauces to pizza dough, are made in house.
That includes orders like a refreshing seafood salad ($16). Black tiger shrimp. clams, and squid come with roasted red peppers, celery leaves, and pickled shallots.
A base of lentil hummus and a drizzling of homemade chilli oil bring it all together.
A pretty salumi board ($16) includes Italian olives, pickled eggplant, prosciutto from Italy, locally-grown pork salumi, and cured capicola. A side mixture of apple and apricot has mustard seeds on top.
It's all covered with a light layer of wild flower honey, and ciabatta crostini from Tre Mari.
Pizzas come in 10-inch or 16-inch orders, and are all made from a locally ground hard bread flower.
The result are smooth-rimmed pizzas with crispy, light crusts, like a simple margherita ($16/$24) with tomato sauce, fior di latte, and basil. There are gluten-free options available, though that dough isn't made in-house.
The Spaghetti e Polpette ($19) comes with meatballs made with a mix of veal, pork, beef, and ricotta. Meatballs are cooked to order in the sauce, bringing an extra meat flavour to the tomato sauce.
Fettuccine Con Funghi ($19) is a vegetarian pasta dish with oyster and cremini mushrom, glzed with white wine and lemon juice. There's no cream in this dish, though there is plenty of parmigiano reggiano.
The drink menu is your standard array of wines and a limited handful of beers and ciders on tap.
Cocktails are a good choice; the espresso martini ($12) is a mix of vodka, Galliano, Kahlua, and a shot of espresso.
My favourite part of the restaurant is its selection of gelato, made without any artificial sweeteners.
The strawberry and dolce de leche gelato are delicious, but absolutely do not skip out on the orange sorbet, which is bursting with citrusy rind flavours.