Paese Ristorante has been around since 1989 serving handcrafted and homemade approach to Italian-inspired menu with a made-in-Canada twist. Paese is a neighbourhood gem. In Italian, the word Paese means “town or village”, which symbolizes neighbourhood. Paese is known for its mouth-watering appetizers, fresh and seasonal favourites and a menu filled with a mix of Italian eats favourites including: homemade pizza, pasta dishes with homemade sauces. Many of the ingredients comes from their own garden 2 blocks from the restaurant.
Tucked between apartment buildings on Bathurst, you can find parking at the restaurant. Inside, the restaurant has a classic Italian restaurant atmosphere with warm lighting. Our server greeted us warmly as he discussed the specials and shared his knowledge about the menu.
Our appetizers were amazing. We started the evening off with: the special of the day of Branzino Crudo, topped with kimchi and drizzled with citrus; Grilled Octopus with potato, grilled escarole, mint and lemon; Grilled Calamari on a bed of spinach, sundried tomatoes, olives and brown butter; Roasted Scallops with fennel and tarragon slaw, citrus and blood orange vinaigrette. The Crudo was fantastic, drizzled lightly with seasonings, acid, herbs and oils where you can taste the freshness of the fish and worked well with the kimchi. The grilled octopus had a good texture and smokiness from the charred octopus, while the tentacles were still tender. Similar to the octopus, the calamari was tender and enjoyable. The roasted scallops were thick, juicy and fresh, accompanied by the tangy and crunchy fennel and tarragon slaw.
For our pizza, we chose Pera, lovely toppings of roasted pear, gorgonzola, pecans and honey; a combination of flavour and textures, from the sweet pears, strong and slightly pungent creamy gorgonzola and crunch from the pecans.
One of the daily specials was the Grilled Branzino fish, stuffed with lemon and thyme, served with roasted potatoes and asparagus. The fish was nicely grilled with a crispy and flavour skin. The server also helped us de-bone the fish on a serving table nearby.
Finally, for desserts, we tried samples of their desserts. My favourite was the Ciccolato, dark chocolate terrina with white chocolate mousse and nutella, hazelnut brittle.
Overall, it was a delightful dinner. For a restaurant that has been around since 1989, it’s not a surprise with its food (especially the appetizers) in a relaxed atmosphere.
3827 Bathurst Street
Photos by Nick Lee