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I’ve been meaning to come to Campagnolo for quite some time now. Last time, I wanted to drop by on a Tuesday, only to discover they aren’t open on Tuesdays (or Mondays). Located on Dundas, between Bathurst and Ossington, the restaurant has a cozy, rustic tavern-feel.

Niagara’s Pingue Prosciuttio

I liked that the tables weren’t cramped together so the restaurant felt quite spacious. Unfortunately, there were two obnoxiously loud groups there when we were dining which made it really difficult hearing the person sitting right in front of me. Although it was no fault of the restaurant, it detracted from the otherwise pleasant atmosphere here.

The menus here change frequently – I’m assuming daily as the menus we had were dated. The menu isn’t very extensive as there were only five entrees to choose from. Not necessarily a bad thing though. Sometimes it’s just better to do a few things very well. A great example is Porchetta & Co, just down the street from Campagnolo.

Since we were all famished, we decided to order a few appetizers to share. The first one that arrived was Niagara’s Pingue Prosciuttio ($11). Since part of the kitchen was open, we could see the staff shaving off slices of prosciutto for us. The plate contained a generous portion of delicious prosciutto. I was surprised that this dish didn’t come with a side of bread since you don’t generally eat prosciutto on its own given how salty it is.

60 Day Aged Beef Tartare – with truffle sauce

So, we ended up getting an order of the House-made Baguette and Gougère ($4) which came with a side of chive butter. The baguette consisted of little bite-sized bread knots. We had no idea what gougère’s were, so we were all surprised when we bit into these. They were light, fluffy and hollow like a cream puff. Later on, after doing some Googling, I discovered that these are made with the same type of light pastry dough used to make éclairs and profiteroles (aka cream puffs) and have cheese mixed into them, giving them a savoury taste.

The next starter we decided on was the 60 Day Aged Beef Tartare – with truffle sauce ($15). This dish blew us all away and was easily one of the best tartare’s I’ve had. The meat was seasoned beautifully and had such a great flavour to it. It didn’t even need the sauce. Hopefully they’ll keep this on their constantly rotating menu. This was a real winner!

Bone Marrow – with oxtail and peach marmalade

Our last appetizer was the Bone Marrow – with oxtail and peach marmalade ($14). Mike suggested this, since he thought I might like it. This was my first time having bone marrow and I really enjoyed how they made it here at Campagnolo. The oxtail was tender, delicious and paired perfectly with the fatty bone marrow, which we had to scoop out from the bone. I couldn’t really taste the peach marmalade, but I still loved this dish. Another killer appetizer! We were off to a good start.

For my main, I decided to go with the Sweet Pea Agnolotti – with Atlantic lobster and a fennel puree ($26). I love stuffed pastas and the lobster certainly couldn’t hurt either. The dish consisted of a good portion of lobster, which was perfectly cooked. The peas that came with the dish were delicious. I rarely ever eat fresh peas (i.e. peas that don’t come out of the freezer), so this was a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, I didn’t love the sweet pea filling inside the agnolotti, which was weird given how much I enjoyed the peas on the side. Maybe it was just that the filling resembled baby food. This was a real shame since the taste and texture of the pasta itself was nice.

Sweet Pea Agnolotti – with Atlantic lobster and a fennel puree

Mike and Jo ordered the House-Made Spaghetti All’Amatriciana ($19). When it first arrived, the serving didn’t seem all too large. But after mixing in the cheese and basil which topped the dish, it was a lot bigger than we had thought – a good sized portion. The spaghetti was cooked to a perfect al dente and had a little bit of a kick to it. The pasta was simple, yet so tasty. I kept helping myself to large bites of Mike’s dish. I don’t think he was too pleased…

Lastly, Chris ordered the Fresh Chorizo Sausage – with Portuguese octopus, peperonata and semolina polenta cake ($26). I don’t think I’ve ever had octopus this tender! Often times, it’s tough and rubbery, causing me to get a migraine eating it. The chorizo was tasty and had a bit of a kick to it. I didn’t try any of the polenta, but Chris seemed to enjoy it.

House-Made Spaghetti All’Amatriciana

After finishing our meals, we asked for the dessert menu. We were politely told that they don’t have one and the server simply told us the three desserts they had today. Since none of them really appealed to us, we decided to skip dessert.

Overall, we had a great experience here. The food lived up to our expectations and the service was warm and friendly. Our server always had a warm smile on her face and dropped by often to ensure everything was fine. The atmosphere here was also very warm and cozy – a great date spot. Although it might be a little of out of the way, it’s definitely worth a visit.

Fresh Chorizo Sausage – with Portuguese octopus, peperonata and semolina polenta cake

At a glance:
• Frequently changing menu
• Stand out dishes: Beef tartare, bone marrow and spaghetti all’amatriciana
• Open Wednesday to Sunday for dinner
• Warm, rustic atmosphere

Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 4 stars
• Service: 4 stars
• Atmosphere: 4 stars

Campagnolo  on Urbanspoon

  1. Karen (Reply) on Thursday 8, 2011

    oh man i’ve been wanting to try this place for a while now im moving this place further up on my list

    great review Jess:)

    • Jess (Reply) on Thursday 8, 2011

      Thanks, and you definitely should! The food (particularly our appetizers) was delicious. Slowly knocking restaurants off my never-ending list…

  2. tony bourdain (Reply) on Thursday 8, 2011

    those portions are hilarious.

    your money must grow on trees.