Lady who Lunches – Terroni

It’s that time of year again for the dreary return of resolution-making, diet-starting, gym-membership buying, and budget-following. To celebrate the post-holiday season, I probably should have gone somewhere sensible, and like countless others, ordered a salad to help assuage my guilt from two weeks of non-stop holiday eating.

But of course, that’s just not the kind of person I am…which is how, the first day back to work after the holiday season, I find myself carb-loading at Terroni.

A popular lunch location for those who work in the St. Lawrence neighborhood, the restaurant is large enough that it never feels overly full. However, the high ceilings (designed to give the impression of an interior of an Italian courtyard) reverberates the noise, so this is not the place to bring a low talker. The ambiance is easy going, the service perfunctory, and the aesthetic part modern Italian furniture store and part Vegas’s imagining of Italy.

The menu is fairly large (particularly when compared to its sister restaurant La Bettola di Terroni), with nearly a full page dedicated to pizza. In addition to their standard menu, they also offer a number of daily specials, and one could easily return a few dozen times without ordering the same thing twice. For this occasion, we stuck to the standard menu. My companion and I started with the Calamari alla Griglia ($13.95), and then we each opted for a pasta as a main: I ordered the Ravioli di Zio Paperone ($17.95), and my friend ordered the Gnocchi alla Simi ($16.95). Luckily, neither of us had any aversions to the ingredients in the dishes, because, as the menu boldly declares, they “maintain a no modifications, no substitutions policy.”

The bread brought to our table, paired with a dish of olive oil (I have a feeling they would scoff at you with derision if you requested butter), is soft and chewy yet light enough that you don’t feel like you’re going to ruin your appetite. Our starter comes quickly, and I marvel at the size of the dish: a large bed of greens with a heaping pile of chopped tomatoes are dwarfed by the 3 large curls of grilled calamari. The calamari itself is delicious–smoky and with just the right amount of chew with no hint of rubbery-ness. This was probably one of the best calamari dishes I have had the pleasure of eating since starting this column.

The portion sizes of our pasta dishes were also very large. My companion’s gnocchi easily could have fed two, and the mound of fresh ricotta, with a sprig of basil, looked delicious (and I was assured that it was, in fact, as good as it looked). My ravioli was less beautiful to behold, with its more muted colours, yet still quite tasty. Stuffed with duck confit, the menu also promised fig (indiscernible if it was included) and roasted butternut squash which lent the duck a slightly more silky quality. The kitchen was heavy-handed with the sauteed mixed mushrooms (which, while tasty, added slightly too much oil to the dish) and all topped with a heavy sprinkling of parm.

Once you get tired of those New Year’s resolutions and return to your normal eating habits, be sure to add Terroni to your list of places to get your carb fix.

57 Adelaide Street East
Adelaide Street East & Church Street

The views expressed above are the writer's alone and are not meant to represent a restaurant review or critique – rather, the article documents the writer's experience on a single occasion.

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Written by Jennifer Bylok


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