If you missed it, I am on a mission to eat authentic dishes from every country in the world, here in my own city of Toronto.
You can find all recaps here. Today I am talking about Italy!
Side note: I got Evan this scratch map for Christmas (as in, you scratch off the countries you’ve visited), and he has donated it to me for this eat the world mission. I gotta bust it out and start scratchin!
There was quite the build up to eating Italy, because I really, really love Italian food. I think pizza and pasta (with red sauce) are both tied for my favourite food. I have mentioned many times that I cannot resist pasta on a menu. I know, I can make it at home, but I love a good tangy tomato sauce on top of carbs so much that I have a hard time saying no to it. I have also mentioned before that I would probably be obese if my family was Italian.
Toronto has so many Italian restaurants (I have been to quite a few – Joe Bidali’s, Terroni, Pizza Libretto, etc. – all very delicious), so deciding where we would go for the official eating the world mission was very difficult. After doing some research we ended up at the family-run Anna Maria Trattoria in Vaughan, which promised a traditional Italian family experience. And it did not disappoint! I am so glad that’s where we ended up, I cannot say enough good things about that place. One of the reviewers on Trip Advisor said that eating there made them feel like they were at a quirky relatives house, and yep. Totally. I don’t have any Italian relatives, but I felt like I was part of their family. Our server Gina was really funny and she did remind me of a quirky aunt, and Anna Maria’s son Frank kept coming over and asking us how we liked everything. And also just talking about life things. He treated us like a friend, and we had just met him. I could truly tell that Anna Maria and her family are invested in every guest that walks in their door. You can check out the story of their restaurant here.
Really cute atmosphere in there also. This picture doesn’t do it justice but I felt like I was in Italy (I’ve never been to Italy but let’s assume).
It was really busy when we went (packed with big Italian families!), so I would recommend reservations. We didn’t make any and they were quick to seat us (Frank went above and beyond immediately with us), but a big table with a family had just left so I think we got lucky.
We started, as you do in Italy, with fresh bread served with olive oil with hot peppers and garlic.
They make the spicy olive oil and pepper mix in-house and it was so good we bought two jars of it. I am excited to put that on all various carbs in the future.
Evan is quite a calamari connoisseur, it is his favourite, so we ordered that as our appetizer.
It was PERFECT calamari. Fresh and crispy and all sorts of delicious.
We also shared the margherita pizza…
While not the best pizza I’ve ever had, I was absolutely not let down. But the gnocchi…
Oh the gnocchi… It is homemade by Anna Maria herself and oh man is it ever good. Hands down the best gnocchi I have ever had. And that meat sauce was a really nice addition. I loved it. It was so filling but I just couldn’t stop.
I was too full afterwards for dessert (I am going to have to go back sometime for the tiramisu), so I just went with an espresso. Perked me right up.
I wish we had gone earlier so we could have had more of an eating marathon because there were so many things on that menu I wanted to try. GIVE ME ALL THE PASTA. Oh well, we will just have to go back!
Overall I feel like we got an authentic Italian experience and it was everything I imagined. Highly recommend checking out Anna Maria Trattoria.
I need to give a quick shout out to Pizza Libretto though, because that is the best pizza I’ve ever had in my life.
And everyone says it’s just like you’re in Naples so I am going to choose to believe them. One day. One day I will eat all the things in Naples.