August 08, 2014

Mr. Ciao Serving Italian Food in East Chinatown

Mr. Ciao at 598 Gerrard St. E Toronto
Mr. Ciao at 598 Gerrard St. E

In a sea of Chinese restaurants and shops one would not expect to see an Italian restaurant and bar, yet in East Chinatown, that is exactly what you'll see! Mr. Ciao opened about 7 weeks ago and is already a favourite among the locals of the growing neighbourhood. Open for dinner 7 nights a week, and now open for lunch Thursday through Sunday, Mr. Ciao is a great spot for food and drinks for the family, date-night or even a night out with friends. 

Custom Table at Mr. Ciao, Toronto
Custom Table at Mr. Ciao

We had driven by Mr. Ciao's on more than one occasion and I always said the same thing, "I really want to check that place out!" So when I was invited in to try out their menu for dinner - I jumped at the chance! After a full day of shopping (we both got some GREAT stuff, BTW!) we ended out long-weekend with a nice dinner at Mr. Ciao. Located in East Chinatown, on Gerrard St. E at Broadview, and with a 40-seat side patio and FREE parking (no need for street parking - hooray!), Mr. Ciao is a hidden gem! 

What's On Tap At The Bar at Mr. Ciao

Brought to life by the same people behind Triple A - Mr. Ciao features a menu filled with appetizers, pasta and Pizza Frittas (pizzas made with their twist on the Neapolitan style street-food). What is a Pizza Fritta, you ask? Well - it's delicious, for one thing! But it's a style of pizza where they deep fry the dough first, then top it with sauce and toppings and then Mr. Ciao cooks their pizzas in a stone oven. HELLO - HEAVEN! After speaking with one of the owners, he informed me that they plan on doing some daily menu specials in the future, so stay tuned for those details! I have to mention that they have wine on tap which can be ordered by the, basically - they're my new favourite place! 

Pizza "Egg Rolls" Mr. Ciao Toronto
Pizza "Egg Rolls"

Crispy Polenta with Bomba Italiana - Mr. Ciao Toronto
Crispy Polenta with Bomba Italiana

We started our meal off by ordering a bottle of wine, obviously! The menu at Mr. Ciao is not overwhelming, which I think is a great thing. I don't do well under pressure, LOL - so I like to keep it simple!  There are a few items to choose from, giving Mr. Ciao's team the opportunity to do what they do best - focus on the basics and add a twist. We decided to start with the Pizza "Egg Rolls" and the Crispy Polenta with Bomba Italiana. The Pizza "Egg Rolls" were great, perfectly fried and served with a marinara sauce for dipping. The Crispy Polenta with Bomba Italiana was really good! The polenta was crispy on the outside, smooth on the inside. We went between dipping the polenta bites in the Bomba Italiana to crossing over and using the marinara from our "Egg Rolls" - both were great! (I actually referred the polenta dipped in the marinara!)

Pepperoni Pizza with pepperoni, green peppers, mushrooms, tomato sauce, mozzarella Mr. Ciao Toronto
Pepperoni Pizza

Pappardelle Pasta with mushrooms in a cream sauce at Mr. Ciao Toronto

Next up was the main course! Seeing as Mr. Ciao is the only restaurant in Toronto serving Pizza Fritta, we obviously had to order one of those! And as a pasta addict, err, I mean lover...we ordered the Pappardelle as well. The Pepperoni Pizza was crispy and delicious. Topped with pepperoni, green peppers and mushrooms with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, you would think it would be just your basic pizza - but nope! The Neopolitian street-food style brings it to a whole different level! And the toppings were plentiful and you could taste the freshness in the ingredients. As someone who is known for picking the toppings off the pizza to nibble on (sorry, don't hate me!) - this was a great dish for me as there were so many toppings to choose from! 

Like the pizza, the Pappardelle was delicious. The pasta itself was made fresh and there was no shortage of mushrooms in the dish! I couldn't get enough! Just like I did with the pizza, I couldn't stop nibbling on the mushrooms, so I was grateful there were so many in the dish. We made friends with the people sitting at the table across from us, Kristin from Fuss Studio and her dad. Kristin ordered the Pappardelle as well, and her father ordered the Potato Pizza. We all agreed that the pasta dish was great and that you could really taste the mushrooms in the sauce. Kristin mentioned that she usually would have to put salt or pepper in a cream sauce like that, to bring out some more flavours - but with Mr. Ciao's dish - she didn't.  Shout-out to pops for sharing the Potato Pizza with us as well - holy smokes, I will most definitely be back for that! The potatoes were topped with salt and rosemary and it was like heaven in my mouth. For was amazing

Side note - we can't wait for the BBQ, Kristin! See you soon! :)

Mr. Ciao in East Chinatown, Toronto
Mr. Ciao in East Chinatown

A huge thank you to Mr. Ciao for inviting me in for dinner! The food was great and the ambiance was lovely! As I mentioned, the restaurant is family-friendly and even has a back area set up with toys to keep the little ones, and little ones at heart, busy. But Mr. Ciao is also a great spot to go to with friends for a night out. You can sit on the patio (while we still have a few nice days left), and enjoy some great food and drinks. Or sit inside at the bar and chat with Johnny, tell him I sent you! 

Get social with Mr. Ciao!

Disclaimer: Dinner was complimentary, however - as per usual, my views are entirely my own and I really cannot wait to go back to Mr. Ciao for more!

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