Fresco’s offers two unique dining experiences
Fresco’s on Elgin Street caters to two different crowds with their downstairs Bistro Italiano and their upstairs Guest Room serving tapas and small plates. Up until ten o’clock their menus are the same, but after that charcuterie, fish and fine cheeses are up for grabs at the upstairs bar until the wee hours of the morning. While I’d already learned that the Guest Room is a fun place to relax and split a sharing plate, I recently decided to check out the Bistro half of the restaurant to see how it compared.
The appetizers were a little on the pricey side, but certainly tasty. The poached pear and warmed goat cheese salad was delicious. The acidity of the balsamic vinaigrette played well off the sweet caramelized onion and slices of slowly poached pear. The portion of warmed goat cheese that sat atop the dish was generous and encrusted in a coating of finely chopped nuts. The fried calamari is best shared among two or more and arrived with multiple dipping sauces. The yogurt sauce was a refreshing change from the more typical spicy cocktail sauce, though both were enjoyable.
The mains were not quite as big of a hit. I ordered up the chicken supreme Diavolo with pancetta, sundried tomatoes, Romano cheese and a leek and chili sauce. All of this sounded more appetizing on the menu than it appeared on the plate, as the Mariposa Farm chicken was far too blackened to be tasty and the sauce was much too salty. The fingerling potatoes on the side, however, were delectable, as was the array of vegetables on the plate. The asparagus, baby green beans and carrots made for a pleasant mix. My date’s Arctic char was fresh tasting and cooked properly, but the sweet maple garlic glaze that graced its flesh could have used a boost of flavour.
When it comes to a meal at Fresco’s it would seem that the chefs have saved the best for last. The cheesecake of the day was so divine it really shouldn’t be missed. The lemon and blueberry cheesecake was just sweet enough, with its tart citrus notes, graham cracker crust and chocolate ganache.
Though the meal held some mixed results, on past visits to the Guest Room upstairs I’ve thoroughly enjoyed their thin crust pizzas, mussels and pasta, which were a much better value. I wouldn’t write this one off altogether just yet.
Fresco Bistro Italiano
354 Elgin St
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