Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Campagnolo- Simply Delicious

We had planned a "girl's dinner out" for Friday night and decided to try Campagnolo. Many of my friends have frequented and loved this restaurant and I've been really wanting to try their "must-try" appetizer the Crispy Ceci. Campagnolo is located on Main Street between Terminal and Chinatown. 

The space is spacious, warm, inviting, rustic (with old growth fir wood beams), with some simple, modern, industrial touches. They serve rustic Italian dishes.
We arrived at 7pm and were lead to the back bar/lounge area where we waited for about half an hour for a table for 4.

As usual, we were all starving, but ended up gabbing so that it wasn't until the third time the server came around that we were ready to order. Our server was fantastic. She was friendly, knowledgable, and quick to answer questions and make recommendations. We ordered a few different dishes to share.

Crispy Ceci: Chickpeas, chillies, mint, citrus $8.50
This is a must-order at Campagnolo and came highly recommended by our server. I've never had anything quite like this before. It tasted like a Middle-Eastern dish fused with an Italian country dish. They either flash fry or deep fry the chickpeas and then dress them with aromatic flavours which absorb into the chickpeas and toss with some fresh mint and arugula. It's savoury and nutty with a citrus kick and a slight peppery and spiciness. It's light but fairly filling.
*On a side note: I found a recipe for this dish online and made a greener version with the addition of kale and swiss chard for Thanksgiving dinner. It didn't taste as good, but was still pretty awesome. Give this recipe a try! 

Summer Vegetable Salad $11.50
This was a recommendation from our server who thought that it would go well with the other dishes we were ordering. It was a really nice blend of some crisp and roasted veggies in a salty, citrus-y dressing. The salad was a light bed of arugula with small chunks of roasted yam and peppers with shaved fresh fennel and sliced cherry tomatoes and large buttery crispy croutons. This was a good blend of fresh and light and richer flavours with the yam and crispy, buttery croutons adding some body and fullness to the other light elements.

Pork Ragu Tagliatelle: Pork Ragu, basil, pecorino romano cheese $19.00 main size
The noodles were fresh made and well cooked. The pork ragu was rich and full of deep flavours. They to a great job in sauce-to-pasta ratio at Campagnolo. The sauce and shredded pork coated perfectly around every noodle and every bite was perfectly mixed and balanced. The basil and pecorino romano cheese were delicious toppings that added, but didn't over power the dish. I usually don't order pastas out at restaurants because they seem so simple and easy to make but this reminded me that some restaurants really take pasta dishes to the next level and elevate a simple dish to absolute deliciousness. 

Margherita Pizza: fior di latte mozzarella, tomato, basil $12.50
It's a rather light, basic pizza that's easy on the sauce and cheese but super fresh and flavourful. They give you a side plate of pizza toppings and they are all fresh- parmesan, oregano, and chili flakes. The Oregano in particular was awesome. It's crispy and baked in house. The crust was thin but with a little puffiness and was ooey-gooey goodness in the middle. I don't know if it's made the authentic Neopolitan way, but I would say it's done in the same style. So simple, so delicious. 

We were all pretty full so we weren't too disappointed when the additional Funghi Pizza that we ordered didn't come. We asked our server if it was coming and she realized that she didn't put it through to the kitchen. She then apologetically brought out out a complimentary dessert (although it really wasn't necessary- she was awesome, and we were pretty full anyways.)

Vanilla Panna Cotta: Seasonal Fruit (candied plum) with crumbled pistachio. It was creamy, rich and delicious and the bites with candied plum were the best. That candied plum was absolutely bursting with flavour.

We all loved Campagnolo. Really simple food, done with quality ingredients and made amazingly well. Thumbs up for service as well. The owner/manager came over to check in with us at the end of our 
meal- I love when they do that. It's an easy way to make the customer feel special and appreciated.

Campagnolo on Urbanspoon 

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