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Located in the heart of Leslieville, Ascari Enoteca (@AscariEnoteca) is a great neighborhood spot that’ll satisfy your pasta craving.

The small restaurant is located on a corner with large windows allowing for a ton of natural light to fill the space. The interior is cozy and features a bar in one corner of the restaurant. Reservations are accepted so take advantage of this as it quickly fills up – we dined on a busy Wednesday evening and saw the hostess turn several parties away.

Ascari Enoteca

Ascari Enoteca is brought to us by Erik Joyal and chef John Sinopoli who both own the nearby Table 17 as well. Being named after the Italian Formula One driver Alberto Ascari, you can guess that this restaurant specializes in Italian fare.

The interior

The menu consists of several sections: spuntini (small bites), in compagnia (things to share), antipasti and house-made pastas.

Complimentary Bread

I started off my meal with the Summer in Leslieville – Cynar, King’s Ginger liqueur, rhubarb simple syrup, fresh lime juice, sparkling Q water ($12), a light and refreshing cocktail.

Summer in Leslieville

Food-wise, we started off with the Arancini – risotto, Tallegio, peas, mint, porcini sauce ($12) from the spuntini section of the menu. One order came with two large arancini balls. They had a nice crisp exterior without being greasy and had a lovely soft and gooey interior. I particularly enjoyed the addition of the peas which gave the dish a bit of freshness.


Another starter we shared was the Cavoletti di Bruxelles – shaved Brussels sprouts, guanciale, caramelized garlic, toasted walnuts ($10). Brussels sprouts and guanciale (aka bacon) are a match made in heaven! This version was decent but not particularly memorable in my opinion. I also found the portion to be on the small side given the $10 price tag.

Cavoletti di Bruxelles

Ascari Enoteca has a great selection of house-made pastas so I had trouble narrowing it down. Everything sounded delicious! I finally decided on the Spaghetti alla Carbonara – guanciale, fresh peas, pecorino, egg yolk, cracked black pepper ($19). I loved the house-made noodles which had a great chew to them – reminiscent of ramen noodles actually.

After breaking into the yolk and mixing it up with the salty guanciale and peas, I realized it was a pretty sizeable portion. While the carbonara was solid, it was the noodles themselves that really stood out for me.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Mike went with the Linguine alla Puttanesca – tomato, anchovy, capers, Gaeta olives, smoked cod ($19). Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner! Like the spaghetti, the linguine noodles had a wonderful chew to them and this puttanesca sauce was spot on. I loved the brininess from the anchovies and surprisingly, for a sauce that contains so many salty ingredients, I didn’t find the sauce to be too salty. It was a damn good bowl of pasta!

Linguine alla Puttanesca

To complete our meal we ordered the Banana Zeppole – banana fritters, honey, candied pecans. These bite-sized doughnuts had just the right amount of sweetness and were topped with some delicious candied pecans for some crunch.

Banana Zeppole

For a Wednesday, it was insanely busy. I don’t even think the restaurant was expecting it as there weren’t enough servers to cover the packed place. So, it turned out to be a very long dinner. We waited a while before our dessert arrived and even paying the bill was a little painful. I have to give props to our server though as she acknowledged the situation without us bringing it up and comped our dessert as an apology.

Despite the short-staffing issue, Mike and I had a wonderful evening at Ascari Enoteca. I’ll definitely be back for their delicious house-made pastas!

At a glance:
• Located in the heart of Leslieville, a couple blocks away from their sister restaurant Table 17
• Serving up Italian fare with a focus on house-made pastas
• Pastas are a must-order; loved the puttanesca
• Small, casual and cozy space

Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 3.5 stars
• Service: 2 stars
• Atmosphere: 3 stars

Ascari Enoteca on Urbanspoon

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