We were looking for somewhere special to go for dinner recently, and out of the list of contenders (Il Posto and Splendido), Sotto Sotto won. Their Italian menu, the promise of fresh pasta, and a cozy and intimate dining area all sounded pretty good – never mind the fact that all the celebs eat here during TIFF. If it’s good enough for Kathy Griffin, it’s good enough for me.
Sotto Sotto is quite small, and is spread over a few dark and pokey rooms. So while you’re very close to your neighbour’s table, it sort of adds to the whole Italian feel -I honestly felt like I was in a restaurant in Perugia. Despite the small size, there’s still a intimate vibe to the place. It’s a bit romantic and sexy, but it’s also very comfortable.
We were served complimentary bread (pretty average, unfortunately), and we started with a plate of antipasti (around $17). Everything was clearly of high quality: the speck was perfectly salty and smoky, the olives were plump and in a flavoursome oil, and the hunks of cheese had a great nutty flavour. While the antipasti plate was on the small side, I’d recommend sharing it as we found our main dishes very filling.
Speaking of mains, I was having a hard time deciding what to order. Should I get the rigotoni cooked with capers, anchovies, and olives in a spicy sauce, or a specialtiy Lazio dish of hollow spaghetti with pancetta? The waiter suggested I try both – he could do a half serve of each for me. Brilliant! D ordered a seafood mix pasta (around $20).
Our mains came out shortly after we housed the antipasti. D’s looked terrific, and was covered in mussels and a sprinkling of lobster meat, scallops, and baby squid.
My two pasta choices came out together on a neat little platter. They were both awesome – I tried to decide which was my favourite and deemed it just too difficult. The rigatoni’s sauce was actually quite sweet; this contrasted well with the salty anchovies and capers. I loved the pasta in the Bucatini alla Matriciana; it was so chewy and saucey. I swear, fresh pasta – particularly, pasta like this – can turn you off the pantry-shelf stuff for life.
We were really enjoying our time at Sotto Sotto until the bill came. You see, you’re able to order pasta dishes in a half/appetizer size, or a full size. That’s great, but I was charged for two half-serves of the pasta – $13.95 each, for a total of $27.90 for my main dish. A full serve of either of these dishes was under $20. Now – normally I would understand charging for two appetizer sizes, because let’s face it, it’s exactly what I got – but the waiter was flat out misleading. How does saying, “What I can do is get you a half serve of each, so you can try both,” make it clear that I’ll in fact be charged more?
It was unfortunate that the night ended on that sour note, but really I should have confirmed the charge before I ordered. Oh well. When you serve pasta this good, I’ll let it slide.
116A Avenue Road (near Davenport Rd)
No photos of the food, sorry guys – it was very dark inside and it was a special dinner with my homeslice!