The hectic pace and exhaustion that comes along with the incredible joy of having kids can put any relationship on the back burner. So, my husband and I decided it was high time to re-connect and get a little romantic. Acquolina Ristorante, located at 760 St. Clair Avenue West, is a fantastic Italian restaurant for a delicious date night. And from drinks to dessert, we got our groove back.
A Family Affair
Acquolina, open for nearly 13 years, moved to St. Clair West three years ago. The opportunity to expand to a larger space and be back in the neirghbourhood in which they grew up, the brother and sister duo of Frank Catalano and Luisa Romeo decided to come home to St. Clair West.
Acquolina is truly a family affair: Luisa’s husband is the chef and her oldest son also works in the restaurant. The staff at Acquolina are passionate about food and make their patrons feel like good friends.
Part of a select group of Toronto restaurants featured during Winterlicious 2012, Acquolina has a fixed price menu. For Valentine’s Day, their specials, including lobster, are sure to bring back the spark.
With two large rooms filled with redwood furniture and low lighting, Acquolina can accomodate a large crowd while also providing intimacy. The walls are tastefully decorated in oil paintings by local artist Beverly Lavender. Her romantic still lifes of gorgeous flowers suit the mix of sophistication and comfort that is Acquolina.
The Way to Our Hearts
A marriage between a devout vegetarian (him) and hardcore carnivore (me) can make dining out a challenge. Luckily, Acquolina has everything to make us both happy. A perfectly spicy and chilled Casear for me and a glass of Valpolicella for hubby, we tore into the crusty French bread we drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and devoured the tangy olives brought immediately to our table.
His Eggplant Parmesan appetizer and my Caesar salad were the perfect lead up to our entrees. As our main courses were brought, we almost dived into the amazing looking food. Canneloni for hubby, and of course, Surf and Turf (a tender veal chop and succulent giant Tiger Shrimp) for the mom.
Knowing that all of the ingredients are locally bought and every morsel is made with fresh ingredients, we savoured every bite.
The End to a Perfect Date? Dessert!
Hubby and I tasted a selection of Acquolina’s finest desserts: Tiramisu, Panna Gotta — a fluffy and light Italian custard cream — and the hilariously named Gelato Fumigato, which translates as “vanilla ice cream strangled with espresso.” Bite after bite, we grinned at each other, totally relaxed and completely sated in every way.
Next time, we might even bring the kids, which the folks at Acquolina love. With a wide selection of pizza and pasta and highchairs available, children are welcome to join their parents. But this time, our delicious date night was all about us.
Restaurant interiors courtesy of Acquolina Ristorante
760 St. Clair Avenue West, Toronto, 416-658-0460