While the Italian trend of restaurant openings was so 2011, naturally more are bound to open as time moves on. (Thankfully just not 19 at a time.) Enter Cafe + Bar + Pasta, a darling West End spot that has us salivating over fresh-as-can-be housemade pasta. Owner Tom Bielecki’s done an admirable job making his new restaurant stand out against the rest of the Italian joints in the city thanks to some creative fare and a vibe all its own. We checked it out recently, and here are the 4 reasons you need to pop by…
The Pasta (D’uh!)
Cafe + Bar + Pasta has a #POW pasta maker with dozens of dies (read: the “stencils” for the type of pasta). This means they can rotate 30 or so different pasta styles throughout their menu, seasonally changing on a whim. It also means they can be a bit more creative with their dishes than a lot of the other by-hand-only spots in the city. We adored the Bucatini Amatriciana’s simplicity, which was amped up slightly by some delectable guanciale (pork jowls). The Rigatoni with shredded duck leg confit, chanterelle mushrooms (read: our fave), and a five spice corn creme is an interesting exercise in sweet-meets-savoury delightfulness.
The Wine (Obviously!)
Call us winos if you will, but we’ll often pick a restaurant based on the wine list alone. (You’re never hungry with a full-bodied red at your side!) Master Sommelier John Szabo worked with Cafe + Bar + Pasta to hand-pick a beautiful selection of premium local estate wines. These wines are then kegged and poured through an uber-advanced wine-on-tap system at the restaurant, which retains the innate flavours of the grapes via nitrogen and argon gas for optimal freshness. Drink up!
The Space (Intriguing!)
Cafe + Bar + Pasta falls in line with the trend of shabby chic restaurant decor in the city. Thankfully, instead of exposed brick we’re presented with white-painted ones, providing the perfect backdrop for a swoosh of hot red colour towards the dining room’s back wall. The open kitchen/harvest table concept works nicely for dinners with a bit of cooking entertainment, and the downstairs private room doubles as an interesting wine cellar. (The bottles are positioned in a cabinet that, not surprisingly, reads: WINE.) We also love the grandma’s kitchen-style deuces, and the bandana napkins. Cute!
The Vibe (Eclectic!)
Of course, when we’re checking out a new spot, one of the most important characteristics is its vibe. Is it fun and exciting? Subdued and quiet? Rowdy and rambunctious? The vibe of a restaurant is almost as important as the food, decor, and service (heck, we wouldn’t make awesome videos of the vibe if it wasn’t!), so we were naturally pleased to see Cafe + Bar + Pasta as a convivial spot, perfect for low-key yet chic dinners or gatherings around great apps (try the two tartars and tell us you’re not in love!) and wine. It’s an every day spot, not just a weekend wildcard!