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Aria Ristorante - Toronto, ON

Gorgeous Decor, Food a Huge Let Down


Restaurant Category : Italian

Aria Ristorante - Toronto, ON Located in the Telus building next to Union Station in downtown Toronto is the gorgeous Italian restaurant, Aria Ristorante. We’ve been to many Italian restaurants in Toronto, but Aria Restaurant ranks as one of the most beautiful we’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, a stunning restaurant does not always mean the food and service lives up to its beauty.

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We went to Aria Restaurant on a Friday night with reservations at 7:30pm, and we were surprised to see that the place was almost empty. An empty restaurant on a Friday night is not a good sign. However, we chalked it up as us being too early for the crowds.

Once seated, we were asked if we wanted anything to drink. We asked for Champagne and our waiter presented us our options. One was a half-bottle of Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose for $250. Two hundred fifty dollars! Way, way, way overprices (for a half-bottle!) After the initial shock, we settled for a Canadian sparkling wine (Henry of Pelham) for a much more manageable $16 a glass. Oh, and we also asked for some still water.

After a lengthy wait, our sparkling wine arrived along with glasses of tap water – not good because typically, at restaurants of this caliber, when you order still water, you are served bottled water.

As we were very much in the mood to get started with dinner, we ordered scallops to start with while we perused the menu. The menu was pretty limited with just three fish dishes and four meat dishes (one of which only came in servings for two).

The scallops, which we had while we enjoyed our sparkling wine, were partially burnt. Despite being overcooked, its spicy sauce made up for the burnt taste making them quite good.

For appetizers, we both shared the House-made Veal Cheek Tortelli with tomato veal jus, smoked popcorn sweetbreads and truffled pecorino. This pasta appetizer was a big disappointment. We love our veal cheeks, but these were dull and tasteless.

My partner had a white fish entrée – Pan-roasted Pickerel with toasted fennel and pumpkin broth, fall mushrooms, and a roasted parsnip and cauliflower salad. Though it was nicely presented, again, it was rather tasteless.

For myself, I had the Roasted Beef Short Rib with mashed potatoes and green sautéed mash. The short ribs were extremely tender, melt in my mouth tender, but the taste, well there was none. Again, another dull, tasteless dish. The mashed potatoes were good, but hey, they were just mashed potatoes. The greens on the other hand, were bitter.

After dinner, we browsed the dessert menu for a while but then decided to cut our losses, skip dessert altogether, get the check and just go.

Service was slow and the wait between courses was long. By the end of dinner we had a fair idea of why the Aria Restaurant was virtually empty on a Friday night. In total, there were less than ten couples or foursomes throughout the time we were there. We asked our waiter about this and he said it was because of the NHL strike. But our guess was that poor service and dull food kept diners away and looking for a better Italian restaurant in Toronto.

It comes as no surprise that we rate the Aria Restaurant Almost Not Bombastic. The food wasn’t bad enough to return, but it was dull and boring enough for us not to return to Aria.

What I liked: Beautiful ambience and aesthetic appearance

What I didn’t like: Dull and tasteless food, poor service, overpriced

Rating: Almost Not Bombastic

Address and Telephone Number:
Aria Ristorante
25 York Street
Toronto, ON M5J 2V5
Telephone: 416-363-2742
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