If you asked most of my Italian friends “What is your favourite Italian restaurant?” They would probably tell you it was their Mother’s kitchen. I know this because I have asked. I understand this. If I cook a dish particularly well, or my Mother does and I see it on a menu I wouldn’t order it. It may seem unfair, but when you come from a family of good cooks….
So when we had a craving for Italian Sunday afternoon we decided to try some place new. That place was Biagio’s Italian Kitchen on Richmond Road. I have to admit a lot of Italian restaurants have similar menus and Biagio’s is no exception. What I think set it aside for me was excellent customer service. Wait staff who were both professional and knowledgeable about the menu (albeit the word delicious was used a lot), and when I say knowledgeable, they genuinely cared which I think gets lost some places.
The food was good, we were pleased with our meals. Starters were calamari fritta and crostini topped with pancetta. The calamari was tender and lightly dusted, a very large portion served with lemon and a garlic aioli. The crostini, called Monaco was topped with thin salty pieces of pancetta, garlic and mozzarella.
I ordered a pasta dish served in garlic and olive oil called Capricciosa. A firm fettuccine noodle with artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted garlic, and goat cheese. A flavourful dish, but too heavily laden with sun-dried tomatoes. I love sun-dried tomatoes, but the dish could have used about half the amount.
My table mates ordered Pasine a penne dish in tomato sauce with grilled spicy Italian sausage, red and yellow peppers, and red wine and Rughetta a linguine dish in tomato sauce with spinach, grilled eggplant, artichokes, roasted red peppers, and ricotta cheese.
The Pasine got rave reviews, lots of flavour and good spicy sausage. The Rughetta was well received but it’s tomato sauce was a bit lacking in flavour, kicked up a notch it would have been perfect.
I think perhaps had I ordered a glass of wine, it may have been a great addition to my meal, but I am off wine for a bit. I missed it.
Dessert was easy. I love Panna Cotta, light cream with a hint of Cointreau set in a crisp Galliano candied basket, finished with a mango and cherry compote was almost too lovely to eat, but we did and it was light and luscious. It’s yummy candied basket was fun and added a perfect crunch. Isn’t it pretty?
We also ordered some chocolate/raspberry Tartuffo. Really, how can you lose with a good Tartuffo?
Would I go there again? Absolutely. It was a nice experience and we would definitely like to try some other dishes from the menu.
Biagio’s Italian Kitchen, 1394 Richmond Road, Ottawa 613-828-0770