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I’ve been trying to make a reservation at Enoteca Sociale for quite some time. If you’re looking for a Friday or Saturday evening reservation a few weeks from now, you better get on it!

Complimentary bread & olive oil

Since we were spending Boxing day shopping down in Queen West, Mike and I were looking for a restaurant for dinner. Turns out, most restaurants are actually closed this day (although I’m sure it didn’t help that Boxing day landed on a Monday this year). So, I was surprised when I saw a few reservations available for Enoteca Sociale and snatched up a reservation immediately.

They only accept reservations for half the dining room, so if you feel like dropping by one evening, the other half of the room is available on a first come, first served basis. You may just get lucky!

The restaurant (located on Dundas, just west of Ossington) is candle-lit and has a cozy, homey feel to it. Since it was so dim, I apologize in advance for the poor quality of my pictures. They really don’t do the food any justice.

Grilled Octopus

If you’re a wine drinker, you’re in luck! Enoteca Sociale has an extensive wine selection, which isn’t surprising given that “Enoteca” means wine library.

Shortly after ordering, they brought us some complimentary bread with olive oil. I only had a bite of bread since we had ordered three appetizers and two mains between the two of us, but the bread wasn’t anything to write home about.

The first appetizer that arrived was the Grilled Octopus – with pepper tuffo & potato ($19). At first I was hesitant about ordering this dish since I’m not a huge fan of octopus but this was one dish Mike really wanted. I’m so glad he pushed for it since it was one of my favourite dishes of the evening. The grilled octopus had a nice charred flavour on the outside and was really tender. The flavour of the octopus was simply incredible. If octopus was always done this well, I’d always order it!


The dish also came some crushed roasted potatoes and a red pepper sauce,which I didn’t even use too much of since the octopus was so flavourful on its own.

The next starter to come was the Arancini Con Mozzarella Di Bufala &Soppressata ($14). These bite-sized deep-fried risotto balls had a crisp exterior and a nice, gooey cheese-filled centre.

Eaten on their own, you may find them a tad on the bland side but what really made the dish was Enoteca Sociale’s tomato sauce. The dish came with three arancini sitting on top of this delicious sauce. It just had such a fresh taste to it and was seasoned beautifully. We licked every bit of this sauce up with the bread we were served with at the start of the meal.

Pork Shoulder

The last “starter” that arrived was the Grilled Pork Shoulder – with quince mostarda & porcini emlusion ($21). I say “starter” in quotes because the portion was enormous! I could eat this myself as an entrée and be satisfied. I guess we missed the part of the menu which indicated it was a 10oz portion.

Okay, enough about size (since it isn’t everything..). The perfectly-cooked pork came topped with a few slices of apple and a delicious porcini emulsion. Given that apple is a classic pairing with pork, I wasn’t surprised by its addition to the dish. However, I was surprised by how well this pairing went with the mushroom emulsion. The combination of the apple, mushroom and pork created a perfect little bite.

For my main, I went with the House Made Pappardelle – with an Ontario lamb ragu, house smoked guanciale & pecorino ($18).

House Made Pappardelle

When they placed it in front of me, my mouth instantly started watering from the aroma, and let me tell you, it tasted as good as it smelled! The thick pappardelle noodles were cooked nicely and came with several small chunks of tender lamb. This dish was another hit!

Just be warned…the portion of the pasta wasn’t very big, so I was still able to finish it easily even after sharing the three appetizers.

Mike ordered the Bucatini All’Amatriciana & Guanciale ($15) for his main. I think I may have enjoyed this dish even more than my pappardelle! The sauce tasted delicious and had a nice bit of kick to it. What I really loved was the thick chunks of guanciale (aka bacon) in the sauce. What a difference it made! And…I just love bucatini. It’s just such a great pasta and it was perfectly cooked here.

Bucatini All’Amatriciana

At this point, we were pretty full and everything we had so far was delicious! So, why stop there? We took a quick look at the dessert menu and decided to try the Ginger & Molasses Cake – with a stout toffee sauce, blood orange, rosemary meringue & lovage cress ($8). The dessert was served in small bite-sized pieces and contained several pieces of the rosemary meringue. Wow. This was another hit! I loved the moist cake which wasn’t overly sweet and the meringue paired nicely with it. This was the perfect way to end a perfect dinner!

Coming into a restaurant with so much hype, I often find myself a little let down. But this certainly wasn’t the case at Enoteca Sociale. The service was warm and friendly, and most importantly, the food, from start to finish, was fantastic! One of my favourite meals of 2011!

Ginger & Molasses Cake

At a glance:
• Amazing food and an extensive wine list
• Cozy, homey atmosphere
• Tough to get reservations, but half the room is available for walk-ins
• Located on Dundas, just west of Ossington

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

Enoteca Sociale on Urbanspoon

  1. Ally (Reply) on Tuesday 10, 2012

    I’ve been meaning to go here for ages too! I have a soft spot for arancini…those little suckers are so good.