In Toronto, its not hard to find an Italian restaurant. It seems like everywhere you look, there’s something Italian for everyone. It’s a not exactly a tough problem to have but the biggest problem for me has turned into finding an Italian restaurant I really enjoy. Growing up in an Italian household has set my tastebuds to a different level when it comes to this cuisine. I like my cheese cut from a wheel, I like my bread crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, and there’s always room for antipasto. The Badali Bar and Cucina, hit my expectations on every level. From the first sip of my cocktail to the crunch of my cannoli.
Badali Bar and Cucina
156 Front Street West Toronto, Ontario
My initial impression was that this is a beautiful establishment. The sign entering is painted brick, there’s tons of wines and alcohol displayed through the restaurant and a lovely brunch area was set up as we arrived. The one thing I noticed as we entered, it looks quite small on the outside, but is actually huge on the inside. In the heart of the entertainment district, close to sport stadiums and the CN Tower, the location couldn’t be better.
To start off our meal we indulged in some beverages. A simple Sicilian Caesar and my cocktail was called the First Fiat. When I saw that rhubarb was the flavour, I looked no further. I’m not a lover of gin, but with the rhubarb and citrus notes it was actually refreshing. Slightly tart but so delicious.
As we enjoyed our drinks, our first dish had arrived, Calamari Alla Griglia. This tasted like home to me. Grilled calamari is one of my favourite things to enjoy. It was dressed with perfect capers, juicy cherry tomatoes, and cooked exquisitely. It was light and well seasoned, just simple and not overly dressed. The calamari was the star and whomever cooked it, knew exactly how to work with seafood. We practically licked the plate clean.
Just as we finished with our calamari, our main dish was served. My husband chose the Porchetta Panini and I had to go with the Gnocchi Pomodoro because the main way to my heart is with gnocchi. I can’t say much about my husbands meal as he ate it faster than I’ve ever seen him eat before. It was cooked beautifully with that crispy crackle on the outside. You could just see it glisten from the sandwich. Great portion size and presented well.
My Gnocchi Pomodoro was classic, simple and it wasn’t overwhelming in size. It was served with a basil leaf on top and basil pesto drizzled on the outskirts of the dish. I was so happy when I took my first bite as it wasn’t starchy and doughy. It was so mouthwateringly perfect. I couldn’t ask for more.
As I finished my meal and asked for the bill, I sat there satisfied and not uncomfortably full. In my head I kept wondering should we go for dessert or just have another cocktail? It’s like they could read my mind because to my surprise, they gave us their Homemade Summer Berry Cannolis. Earlier on, our wonderful server Armando, had let us know that there was a contest going on Instagram and to tag #badaliboysinblue to any post we upload. So on top of the awesome cannolis, we get a chance to win Jays Tickets as well. At this point, I am now in love with Badali’s.
From now on, whenever we go to a Blue Jays game, or a concert downtown, we will definitely hit up Badali Bar and Cucina. It tastes like home, the service is wonderful and I know it will always be a great experience. If you’re ever in Toronto, looking for some good old Italian meals or a cocktail to start your night off right, this is the place to go.