|Location||1595 Dupont Street|
|Dinner for two with drinks||$150|
Lucia, a cozy trattoria in the Junction Triangle, will make you feel right at home — so much so that it might be a contender for your family-favourite list. Co-owners Michael Sangregorio and Fabio Bondi of Parkdale’s Local Kitchen and Wine Bar have brought their delicious Sicilian offerings to the west end in a charming corner house on Dupont Street and Franklin Avenue.
An intimate restaurant with only 30 seats, you’ll feel like one of the family as you part the drapes and step inside the dining area. Not only is the space inviting with hanging plants and a cozy layout, but it smells heavenly. Lucia isn’t without its quirks, either (kitschy tropical wallpaper, for one). Settling into my bar-side seat with my guest made me feel like une sardine, but it was all part of the charm. We even made friends with our bar-side neighbours, who were regulars and didn’t shy away from offering their recommendations.
Pour commencer, we each had a glass of pinot noir from Ontario’s Pearl Morissette. As with many other Italian restaurants, the Sangregorio-curated wine list provided a healthy selection of local and European varieties. Diners also have the option of uncorking wine from their own collection for $30.
Chef Fabio Bondi’s elegantly simple menu included just 21 dishes from antipasti to dolce. Antipasti included House-made Burrata ($20), Steak Tartare ($18), and Dandelion Salad ($13). After hearing the rave reviews from our neighbours, we couldn’t forgo the house-made burrata, which was served on a bed of pesto and finished with a hearty dollop of fruit purée and lemon zest. Our server explained that the burrata was a combination of cow, sheep, and goat’s milk. It was served warm, and I was thrown off by its soft-but-firm consistency that resembled melted mozzarella and which I could barely slice through. We also had to ask for some sourdough bread to accompany the burrata. For the $20 price, I would have preferred to see at least a couple slices of complimentary bread.
Le prochain plat, Seared Scallops ($18), were remarkable in every way — precisely seared, and drowning (in the best way possible) in a savoury squash purée. The purée balanced the sweet, delicate flavour of the scallops. The dish’s finishing touch crispy prosciutto tied everything together and hit all the textures and flavours I was craving.
While polishing off our plates, we eyed the Ricotta Cavatelli with ‘Nduja Ragu ($20) from beside us. This dish looked like a pasta purist’s dream — hand-rolled with zigzag edges. We opted instead for the Fazzoletti di Mortadella ($19), a handkerchief-shaped folded pasta. Although the pasta-making technique could use some refinement due to its thickness, one bite was not enough. The mortadella sausage stuffing and vibrant and flavourful pistachio and black pepper pesto made this dish a true showstopper.
From the contorni section, the Fogo Island Turbot ($21), Crispy Pork Belly ($23), and Flat Iron Steak ($25) were all prime contenders. We ordered the flat iron steak, which was Canadian AAA, 45 day dry-aged. A healthy serving of chestnut polenta covered the bottom of the plate and la viandewas topped with gremolata. It was juicy, herbaceous and packed with flavour.
Lucia offers a hipper, modern-day version of Nonna’s cooking. Chef Fabio Bondi knows what he’s doing and the crammed restaurant is mere proof. He hits the accents harder than traditional Sicilian cooking, without being showy. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Lucia and left feeling recharged and taken care of — and all at a reasonable price point. Visit Lucia, and you’ll see what I mean when I say it’s the type of neighbourhood gem you want in your ‘hood.
Mme M. xoxo
La rubrique de Madame Marie
1 étoile – Run. Before you get the runs.
2 étoiles – Mediocre, but nothing you couldn’t make at home.
3 étoiles – C’est bon, with some standout qualities.
4 étoiles – Many memorable qualities and excellent execution. Compliments to the chef.
5 étoiles – Formidable! Michelin Star quality. Book a reservation immediately.