- Address: 88 Harbord St., Toronto
- Visited: 02/24/2017, Dinner, 2 people
- Cuisine: Italian
- Rating: 3.5 5.0 Excellent, worth every $
4.5 Good, food & value
4.0 Good, but $$, would re-visit
3.5 Meh, good $, would re-visit
3.0 Meh, would not re-visit
2.0 Did not like $$$ [$] <20; [$$] <40; [$$$] <80; [$$$$] >80
- Website: http://www.pianopianotherestaurant.com/
Stephen and I usually celebrate Valentine’s Day by going out for dinner sometime in February. We like to avoid the actual day/weekend with its crowds and set menus, but rather use the event as an excuse to cross a restaurant off our wish list. This year we made a reservation at Piano Piano. I didn’t have the chance to eat at Splendido before their doors closed and it’s one of my biggest food regrets. This meant I walked into Piano Piano with pretty high expectations, which unfortunately I still carry after our dinner.
Atmosphere: Piano Piano’s decor was colourful and dramatic. From the pastel pink exterior to the open dining room filled with dark florals, I loved the space. The entire room was open with high ceilings and stunning pendant lights. One wall had large mirrors and the bar was located in the centre of the room. Music was catchy but not loud enough to drown out conversations. I found the white marble tables we were at a little tight, but I did see more private booths and great large tables for bigger groups.
Service: Our server was overall lovely but slightly inattentive. She was friendly and explained the menu, telling us about the daily specials. It took awhile to track her down to place our order and when we were ready for our bill. Service felt casual and relaxed. Once we had ordered, each plate arrived very quickly from the kitchen at a comfortable pace and our cutlery was refreshed before or entrees.
Food: When it came down to it, food was where Piano Piano fell short for me. This could have been a combination of my expectations and what we ordered. I thought I would be wow’ed by every dish and that didn’t happen.
To start, Stephen and I shared the Smoked Burrata, which was good. I liked the creamy soft cheese and the thick toast smelled heavenly. The slices of radish added a nice crunch to each bite and you could really taste the smoky flavour. A touch more seasoning would’ve made the dish perfect for me. Our side of Russet Potato Fries ($9) was good, but a disappointing portion size. I needed about 50% more fries to even come close to using up the malt mayonnaise sauce.
For our mains, we chose the Spicy Sicilian pizza (fior di latte, tomato, parmigiano, spicy ‘Nduja, sicilian oregano) and the Rigatoni Carbonara. All of the pasta dishes looked delicious and it was a hard decision to pick just one. With the pizza, I loved the flavours of the toppings and 80% of the crust. The slice had enough structure to be held up for moment but some of the bubbles on the crust were very charred. I liked the rigatoni more, with the chunks of pancetta, heavy handed cracked and generous sprinkle of parmigiano. The pasta was quite al dente and the sauce creamy.
Dessert was a perfect cappuccino cup of Nutella Tiramisu, which was rich with a strong coffee flavour soaked into the cake. Overall, dinner at Piano Piano was okay but I had hoped for excellent.