10133 125 Street NW, Edmonton
Updated Post Below
Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted! It’s been a busy summer so far. I went to Montreal for my cousin’s wedding, then there was Taste of Edmonton, K-days, Heritage days… I haven’t had much chance to write anything! Anyways, without further adieu, here is my next post.
A few weeks ago I went to Violino Gastronomia Italiana. Usually when I don’t have a restaurant in mind and want to try something new, I usually refer to Open Table. It’s super easy to make reservations, and there is a rewards system, who doesn’t love earning points? I’ve never heard of it, but it had a staggering 4.5/5 with 890 reviews on open table so I thought I’d give it a try.
It’s located right on 125th street and 102 avenue. It’s actually inside an old mansion from 1913, so it looks like you’re dining inside of a house. There is a fair amount of street parking nearby, and it wasn’t too hard to find a place to park. The interior is separated into small sections and would be really good for private functions. They also have an upstairs that can house a small event as well. Similar setup as The Manor next door.
It was a beautiful evening, so we decided to eat out on the patio. I’m really glad we did, because it was a really lovely patio. Lots of trees nearby, and despite because near 124th street, it wasn’t too noisy with cars at all. Violino was one of the top best outdoor dining restaurants in Canada in 2015 on Open Table and for good reason.
We decided to start off with the Granchio Fritella (Crab fritters), then had Linguini Nero Bianco as one main, and the Rib Eye Bistecca as our other main. Our server quickly took our orders and served us with a rustic Italian loaf with olive oil and vinegar.
I gotta say, I really liked the ambiance of the place on this particular day. Shortly after we were served the bread, little robins flew by to see if we would give them any. It was very quaint and pretty cute. They didn’t chirp or make any noises when we ignored them and didn’t bother us at all. The bread was pretty good, no complaints. Nothing too amazing.
Our Crab fritters came shortly afterwards. They were lightly breaded house-made crab fritters served with Italian pepperoncini and a basil aioli sauce, served on top of a leaf of seaweed. This wasn’t particularly amazing to me. It came out a bit luke-warm and the flavours, though okay, were not great. I’ve definitely had some better crab cakes/fritters in my day. If I were to come back, I’d probably try the calamari or a different appetizer.
The Linguini Nero Bianco came with tiger prawns, sun-dried tomato, charred fennel, black and white linguini, and served in a sambuca cream sauce. By far, this was the best dish of the night. The pasta was cooked perfectly al dente. The sauce was really rich, and everything went well together. There was also a decent amount of shrimp as well. I’d definitely order this one again, or even try one of their other pastas.
Our other entree was the Rib eye Bistecca. This is AAA 12 oz alberta raised beef rib eye steak, served with italian-cheese-enriched mashed potatoes and wild arugula limon cello salad. We ordered it medium rare. It actually came out overcooked, but I’m pretty bad at sending food back ,and I didn’t want it to go to waste. I’m always a little bit disappointed when I order steak. It’s always so expensive, and I’m never really wowed by it. To be honest, I think I would have rather ordered another pasta, because it seems like it’s more of their specialty. The potatoes were also just okay, and same with the salad.
I almost never get dessert, but opted to give it a try on this occasion. The cheesecake, and the bread pudding looked appealing to us, but we decided on the bread pudding. We asked to get the caramel sauce on the side because I can already imagine it being pretty sweet to begin with. It comes with cinnamon, pecan, vanilla-flavoured pudding and served with their house-made gelato. This was a pretty good way to end the meal. It was a pretty good size to share for the two of us after our meal. It went well with the gelato, and was a perfect level of sweetness without the caramel (for our preference anyways, I always find things a bit too sweet/salty).
Overall, I enjoyed my experience at Violino Gastronomia Italiana. There are definitely some hits and misses to the restaurant. From the other reviews that I’ve read, it’s definitely a love or hate kind of thing. The food was kind of hit and miss for me as well. The linguini was a win for me, and I recommend it. I’d maybe pick a different appetizer and entree if I could go back in time. I really enjoyed the patio and the vibe of the whole restaurant though.
Updated post (August 2019)
I came back here this summer with a few friends from out of town.
To start, there was the same rustic bread with olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette. Nice and chewy and a nice way to start the dinner.
For appies, we got the calamari fritti and the salsa all’ Aragosta (lobster dip). The calamari comes with lemon pepper squid, served with red onion, italian pepperonici, and red pepper couli. Tender and crispy. Really enjoyable. Cooked perfectly and a great appy to share. The lobster dip comes with lobster, artichoke, spinach, cream cheese, feta cheese, and served with pita bread. Also a nice sharing dish! Pretty sizeable and good to split between a few people.
Violino is the only restaurant in Edmonton that I know of that flambés pasta in a giant wheel of cheese. It’s really trendy in larger cities, so it was neat to see being done table side. The Fettuccine Tavolino comes with fire-grilled chicken breast, alfredo sauce, and then tossed in a flaming wheel of Asiago Cheese. Decadent and cheesy!
The other entree we got was the Aragosta Risotto (Lobster risotto). Herb butter baked whole lobster tail, Langostina, charred fennel, green peas, infused in a saffron cream sauce, with grana padano. Tasty! The risotto was cooked perfectly and there were generous amount of lobster.
The ravioli Di Caprese comes with stuffed caprese ravioli, fresh tomato, tossed in a white ine pesto cream sauce and served with parmigiano cheese. I thought this entree was a bit small, but overall the dish was pretty good.
A couple of other dishes that my friends got were the penne pollo, the chicken parmesan. The penne comes with fire-grilled chicken breast, pancetta, asparagus, vodka tomato and red pepper sauce, and of course, parmigiano. The chicken parmesan was the special, and we asked for it with a side of one of their pastas.
For dessert, we also the bread pudding and affogato. It was also a friend’s birthday so we got a second order of bread pudding on the house! The bread pudding comes with pecan, cinnamon, vanilla flavoured pudding, and served with caramel sauce and gelato. I usually always opt to get caramel sauce on the side so I can control the amount of sweetness. The affogato comes with their housemade vanilla bean gelato, and served with italian espresso.
Overall, we had a lovely time at Violino! The service was great, and the quality of food was excellent. I would say that the prices are a little bit on the expensive side, but overall, it’s a nice restaurant for an indulgent meal and to treat yourself.