UPDATE 12/20/2012: Went back to Balsamico in December and it was so much better. The restaurant was full and the food was much better. This time I ordered the Linguine Fra Diavolo. The pasta was great, the sauce was a little on the oily side but the experience is bumping my rating up from a C* to B*.

Balsamico is one of the many Italian restaurants in the Yonge-Eglinton neighbourhood that’s opened up more recently. I stopped by for lunch in August with a friend. We sat down at noon and the place was empty, it pretty much stayed empty for the rest of the lunch hour.

Atmosphere: The restaurant feels very warm with dark wood tables, a bar at the back and mustard yellow walls. The old fashioned chandelier also provided intimate lighting throughout the space.

Service: We were able to sit at a table of our choosing since the restaurant wasn’t full. The service was welcoming, attentive and friendly but not intrusive. They were very patient with explaining the menu to us and answering all of the questions about the Italian names.

Food: I had been craving risotto for some time now so went with the Risotto Ai Funghi for my main while my friend ordered the Quattro Stagioni pizza (mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, grilled mushrooms, grilled zucchini and prosciutto). The way the toppings  on the pizza was separated was interesting, we ended up rebuilding each piece with a little bit of each anyways but that flexibility was nice. My risotto was fairly under cooked  It may have been because it was a quiet day and they weren’t expecting an order, but it’s really no excuse. I only got through half of it. The flavours were great and I loved all the mushrooms, it just needed more time on the stove, which for $19 at lunch I wouldn’t have minded waiting. The half I took home, after being reheated, was perfect.

Balsamico Balsamico Balsamico Balsamico on Urbanspoon

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