Living near Tutti Matti, I had always been curious about this little Italian restaurant on Adeleide, just east of Spadina. Serving up Tuscan-inspired cuisine, the space features an open kitchen right in the middle of the restaurant.
Given how many great things I had heard about Tutti Matti, the restaurant was only about a quarter full on a Friday evening. I liked the space which had a cozy and intimate feel to it. I just found it a little warm inside the restaurant since we were seated right next to the open kitchen.
Before ordering, make sure your server comes by to tell you about their daily specials. They had quite a few the day we visited, many of which sounded great.
I came with three other people – Mike, Chris and Jo. We’re all quite indecisive and with Tutti Matti’s long list of appetizers and salads to choose from it took us a while to narrow it down to two starters to share.
The first dish was the Principessa – baby spinach, bufala mozzarella, pine nuts, dried balsamic figs, sliced prosciutto, grilled seasonal fruit and saba vinaigrette ($19). The grilled fruit that it came with turned out to be apple slices which I thought was an odd choice. I didn’t really enjoy it in the salad to be honest. My favourite part of this dish was the bufala mozzarella, which tasted incredible. I wish we had just ordered mozzarella instead as the rest of the salad wasn’t very memorable. The most memorable part of it was the $19 price tag…
The second starter, Porchetta di Maremma – slow-roasted suckling pig, tuna sauce, arugula, roasted onions on toasted country bread ($16), fared much better. It came with three slices of country bread topped with delicious, fatty slices of porchetta. The addition of the roast onions and the mild flavour of the tuna sauce made this dish a big hit.
The menu features many mouth-watering pasta dishes. After much deliberation, I decided on the Pappardelle con Stracotta – hand cut pasta will pulled beef brisket, cherry tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil ($21). No regrets whatsoever! These thick flat noodles were cooked to a perfect al dente and the dish came with a generous portion of tender pulled brisket. The sauce tasted incredibly fresh and this ended up being my favourite dish of the evening.
Jo went with the Pinci – hand rolled pasta with stewed wild mushrooms and artisanal sausage ($23). None of us had ever tried this type of pasta before. It was a thick, round pasta which had been rolled out. They actually reminded us of Shanghai noodles. The pasta had a nice, chewy texture and contained a generous amount of sausage. Another great pasta dish!
Since Chris is a meatlover, he decided on the Maltagliata con Osso Bucco – veal shank stewed with porcini mushrooms served with gremolata and bone marrow ($21). Unfortunately, unlike the pappardelle and pinci, this pasta dish was really lacking in the meat department. I only had a bite of this pasta which was nicely cooked and looked quite similar to my pappardelle. As for the meat, I wasn’t a huge fan of the flavour. Perhaps I’m just not a huge fan of gremolata, which essentially is a mixture of lemon, herbs and parsley.
Unlike the rest of us, Mike decided on a meat dish, the Costole di Manzo – braised short ribs in beer, oranges, rosemary with smashed roasted vegetables ($30). The short ribs had a nice sweet glaze and were quite tender. Paired with the potatoes and roasted vegetables, I found this to be more of a heavy winter dish. While the short ribs here were enjoyable, I can’t say they’re one of the best I’ve had.
In addition to our entrees, we ordered some sides. Mike is a huge fan of Brussels sprouts so we ordered the Cavolini di Bruxelles – oven-roasted Brussels sprouts, fried bread and pancetta ($7.50). I was curious about the fried bread but they were really just like regular croutons. The Brussels sprouts were decent but I wish there was a little bit more pancetta in it to give it more flavour. For a great Brussels sprouts dish, I recommend Globe Earth in Rosedale.
The other side dish we ordered was the Piselli alla Fiorentina – peas, spring onions and prosciutto ($7.50). Peas are typically just so-so for me, so I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this dish. I initially thought they were sitting in a pool of butter but it turned out to be a light broth of some sort. Oh-so-delicious!
Since the portions of all the dishes weren’t very large, we still had room for dessert. The first one we shared was the Affogato – vanilla gelato with espresso ($6). I’ve only had this once before and really enjoyed it so I was looking forward to this one. It didn’t disappoint. It’s gelato and espresso – you really can’t go too wrong!
The other dessert we ordered was the Budino – dark chocolate mousse on a salted chocolate shortbread cookie with olive oil gelato and orange rock salt ($14). When it first arrived, I was shocked by its size – only one small spoonful of the mousse and one spoonful of the olive oil gelato. For $14! While it tasted fine, it certainly wasn’t worth the steep price tag. I think we would’ve all been happier if we each ordered an affogato instead. Not the greatest way to end the meal…
Overall, I was happy with the meal at Tutti Matti. Sure, there were some dishes that I wouldn’t order again, but some of their dishes really hit it out of the park. The restaurant is a great neighbourhood restaurant I’d visit again since I live close by but I wouldn’t go out of my way for it.
At a glance:
• Serving up Tuscan-inspired cuisine
• Must order: pappardelle with brisket; skip the Budino
• Located on Adeleide, just east of Spadina
Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 3.5 stars
• Service: 3 stars
• Atmosphere: 3.5 stars