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Review: Maléna, Toronto


At 120 Avenue Road sits a fantastic little Italian restaurant full of the warmth and hospitality you would expect from your Italian grandmothers kitchen. When I was first  invited to review Maléna I thought to bring along my good friend Arlene who had just celebrated her 30th birthday. Ms. Setacci is a born and bread Italian so I was looking forward to her critique and commentary on each dish. Arlene’s family comes from a small town outside of Rome. During the course of our meal she commented on how the food at Maléna reminded her of the Italian Coast. One of the reasons I truly love Italy is its regional cuisine which I had a chance to experience first hand during my culinary adventures in Venice, Modena and Florence.

Maléna’s kitchen focuses on the foods and flavours of Southern Italy and Greece which are heavily influenced by ingredients from the sea. Maléna presents a fresh interpretation of Ionian coastal cuisine matched with stunning presentation and perfectly paired wines. After scooping up bits of pheasant and slippery tubes of Garganelli Arlene exclaimed that she had just eaten the best pasta of her life (I nodded in silence).

Book yourself dinner at Maléna for a special occasion or romantic meal (or hell for any dinner when you feel like eating something honest and dare I say divine). The restaurant appeared on James Chatto and Joanne Kate’s top restaurants of 2010. You will find I have similar tastes (and good judgement) as it is now featured on my Toronto Top Restaurant List.

We enjoyed (* notes my favorites)

Amalia Brut *

ktima tselepos, NV mantinia, greece

Fig Manhattan *

canadian club sherry cask rye antica forumla, reagan’s bitters and compressed fig

Favorita ‘Sarvai’ *

deltetto, ’10 piemonte

Pinot Noir ‘Jack Rabbit Flats’

fielding estate, ’09 beamsville bench, niagara

Barbera d”alba ‘La Bettola’ *

erbaluna, ’09 piemonte, italy

2009 Colaneri Pinot Gris *

st. david’s bench, niagara

***

Warm Roasted Olives

peperoncino, fresh herbs, citrus

Winter Salad *

beets, radicchio, housemade ricotta, almonds, fresh dill, orange zest

Arancini di Miale *

braised perth pork shoulder, roasted squash, pecorino

Fritto Misto del Giorno

calamari, baccala, cod, halloumi with salsa verde and lemon

***

Garganelli with Pheasant *

braised pheasant ragu, winter spices and fresh herbs

Charred Leek Ash Tortelloni *

house ricotta and manouri cheese, tomato arrabiatta

Pork Shoulder ‘Carbonara’ *

slow cooked perth pork shoulder, duck egg raviolo, bastardo peccorino, rapini, black pepper pangratatto

Grilled Boston Porey

fingerling potatoes, greek yogurt, fresh dill, caramelized celery, olive oil

***

Warm Dark Chocolate Cake *

sweet roasted eggplant and white chocolate

Apple Pie Cannoli

cinnamon mascarpone, apple caramel, candied pecans

#291 restaurant reviewed in Ontario since moving to Toronto in 2010. 


Malena on Urbanspoon

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