Tutti Matti | Ristorante Tuscano
Times visited: 1
Recommended: Not particularly
Price for 2: $100+
Other notes: You probably need a reservation.
It’s my birthday this month, so last night I got treated to dinner at Tutti Matti. I’ve been eyeing this place for a while because it was featured in a marketing case I had to do in my university business class like 5 years ago. For the case, I recommended the “out of the box” advertising option of relying on word of mouth plus (gasp) a website. Although I got docked points for not making the “right” choice (which was a Dining Out magazine ad) I humbly note that my suggestion seems reflected in their current strategy, and it’s going pretty well for them.
Tutti Matti is an authentic Tuscan restaurant at Spadina and Adelaide. It’s situated in a generally pleasant, roomy space with a show kitchen in the middle of the room.
Overall, I have no particular complaints about my dining experience. It was relaxed and pleasant and Tutti Matti is clearly a good restaurant that serves creative, high quality food. However, I have no particular accolades. And, especially given the fact that in my non-birthday life I have to make my dining dollars stretch, I don’t expect to return any time soon.
Given that the focus in this restaurant was clearly on the food, here is a little breakdown of what we ordered.
For an appetizer, we got the Crostini (17$). I couldn’t exactly interpret what this was going to be from the menu listing, which just looked like a laundry list of ingredients: pancetta, white bean, rosemary; taleggio, truffle honey, pear and walnuts; quince, goat cheese, pecorino, squash, black cabbage, speck. However, I figured with that list we couldn’t go wrong.
What we got was 4 crostino, each with some of the above toppings. I’m not so sure which items made their way on to which of the pieces of bread, although I think the pancetta and white bean definitely stuck together.
Given that there were 4 opportunities for the kitchen to achieve a shining creation, I wasn’t too impressed that none of them wowed. The bread itself wasn’t quite warm enough, and the toppings (although unique) just didn’t make magic.
We also opted to try a Winter Caprese salad (a special). This blossomed across a plate with chestnuts, pomegranate seeds, fresh basil leaves, a drizzle of balsamic, and two cooked vegetables that I can’t remember. While it was a delightful twist on an old classic, I can’t say that I ate it thinking “Man I would pay $26 to eat this again.”
For entrees we had the cognilio (prosciutto-wrapped lamb on a bed of stewed white beans), the fish special of the day (sea bass baked whole in parchment paper with citrus fruits and other seasonings, accompanied by crispy fried vegetables), and the tortelli (a pear and ricotta stuffed pasta in a buttery sauce). Again, while they were all kind to the eyes and the stomach, none of us was eating our food saying “Wow, you have to try this.”
The same was true of the desserts: housemade gelatti, sorbetti, and tiramisu.
In sum, while the food was certainly well-executed and tasty, it didn’t astound the palette. And our server, while trying his best and succeeding some of the time, wasn’t quite as polished as you might have hoped at a restaurant like this.
If I had lots of money, I would happily go back to Tutti Matti for what I’m sure would be consistent, yummy food. But as it is I think I’ll pick somewhere else for my birthday next year.