My birthday was on April 3rd and like many of you will have guessed I spent the entire day eating. First stop was lunch with Erin at Aria. The restaurant is located directly beside the Air Canada Centre and was recently ranked by Toronto Life as one of Toronto’s Best New Restaurants 2012. I was excited to start my birthday off with a bit of refined elegance. I had expectations that the ambiance, food, drink, decorum and service would be top notch.
I arrived with a smile and sat atop a comfy bench overlooking the wooden sculpture and balloon like chandeliers which fill the space. The food for the most part was fantastic. Most definitely munch your way through their pastas as they are made in house and executed perfectly. We were also over the moon with our mid day booze rush courtesy of our two creative cocktails.
I was however put off by a few things. Our server was mute and glum throughout service, acting as if he had just been sentenced by some judge to work community service at our table. He placed a carafe of water at the table when I first arrived (which I had to pour myself) and did not refill it until 90 minutes into our lunch. He brought dried out lime wedges to the table filled with pits which were haphazardly dumped on a plate.
Erin and I have both worked in the hospitality industry for years and were just so taken aback by the clear lack of service and attention to detail. Looking beyond our dehydration and citrus pit filled crystal glasses, the kitchen is putting out honest Italian comfort food with a bartender who most certainly knows how to spike the punch.
We enjoyed (* notes my favorites):
beefeater 24, cointreau, prosecco, lemon juice, simple syrup
Aperol Spritz *
aperol, prosecco, sparkling water, citrus
La Waldorf Rivisitata
romaine, radicchio, celery, apple, toasted walnuts, smoked chicken, creamy parmigiano dressing
Mozzarella di Bufala
roasted garlic and eggplant puree, oven roasted cherry tomatoes, basil and green onion swirls
chanterelle mushrooms, gorgonzola cream, toasted walnuts, sage
duck ragout, mascarpone
#313 restaurant reviewed in Ontario since moving to Toronto in 2010.