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Enoteca Sociale or Campagnolo ?

Help me decide - both vibes seem similar, both on Dundas, been wanting to try both since they've opened. Dining with one vegetarian (so that may make us lean more towards Enoteca), we don't mind volume. :)

Any votes? Thanks!

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Enoteca Sociale
1288 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

Campagnolo
832 Dundas St. W, Toronto, ON , CA

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  1. Campagnolo

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    Campagnolo
    832 Dundas St. W, Toronto, ON , CA

    2 Replies
    1. re: Herb

      Actually, I'd go to Woodlot. Most of the menu is available in vegetarian versions.

      1. re: Herb

        Enoteca. Campagnolo's signature dish is the boar ragout. Go to enoteca with your vegetarian friend, and bring a carnivorous friend to campagnolo.

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        Campagnolo
        832 Dundas St. W, Toronto, ON , CA

    2. Been to Woodlot already, solid but not worth the hype for me. Thinking that Campagnolo will be nuts this weekend with the recent reviews. Think Enoteca is a go. Thanks everyone!

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      Campagnolo
      832 Dundas St. W, Toronto, ON , CA

      2 Replies
      1. re: miketoronto

        I really enjoyed Enoteca recently. Please report back with your thoughts.

        1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

          Also went recently and had a great time.

      2. I don't think there is a single item at Campagnolo your veggie friend can eat.

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        Campagnolo
        832 Dundas St. W, Toronto, ON , CA

        1 Reply
        1. re: JennaBean

          The menu at Campagnolo changes frequently, and tonight, there were several vegetarian dishes available.

          Enjoyed my entirely vegetarian meal of burrata with roasted grapes, escarole/treviso/nectarine salad, roasted broccoli/cauliflower with ramp pesto, and spaghetti alla Norma.

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          Campagnolo
          832 Dundas St. W, Toronto, ON , CA

        2. Got most of the "buzzed about" items last night - grilled octopus, bucatini amatriciana, oxtail w polenta, and dove into a bit of the cheese cave. :) A very solid meal overall, one of the better meals I've had in this city.

          Grilled octopus was excellent although they could sub the new potato with something more interesting/seasoned. All pastas were excellent - cacio e pepe, carbonara, amatriciana, papardelle w sausage/olive. Pastas well cooked, delicious, lots of pepper everywhere. Happy. Both the guanciale and pancetta were amazing in the pastas.

          First time having oxtail, exactly how I pictured it, very well prepared. If you get anything, make sure you try their polenta. Simply the best you'll have - simple, fatty as hell, pure comfort.

          Excellent service, great wine knowledge.
          $60pp for a full meal w a bottle of wine and a flight of 3 cheeses.

          1. We made our first visit to Enoteca last night. The meal was thoroughly enjoyable save one hiccup, and we look forward to returning.

            We arrived without a reservation and were offered a seat at the communal table or the bar. We opted for the bar since we often prefer to bar to table anyhow. Our server was knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and personable and offered excellent hospitality all night... especially in his wine recommendations (we worked our way through about three different varieties of by-the-glass pours).

            Mr. Rabbit opted for the $45 tasting menu (5 courses plus your choice of contorni) and I ordered three dishes of my own (anticipating some picking from his plates). We started with two kinds of bread, a rosemary loaf and some country bread and Mr. Rab's antipasti came out - a grilled cheese sandwich avec sardine, some olives, eggplant, and a little arugula salad. It was a pretty plate with a nice melange of flavours and textures and a very respectable portion size.

            Mr. Rab's pasta was a sweet potato ravioli with brown butter and sage. It was delicious, but perhaps too dessert-like for some. He swapped halfway through for my papardelle with sausage and olives. The pasta on both plates was relatively delicate and light even while the sauces had suitable grativas. I would order either of these dishes again.

            My main was oxtail with polenta. The meat was rich and delectable, although I am often frustrated by some of the pick and pecking involved with getting all the meat from oxtail (this is a personal comment, no slight on the preparation). Mr. Rab had a braised pork shoulder in a tomato sauce with white beans along with a salad of beets, greens, and some stracciatella with balsamic - a tasty salad, and again good portion sizes all around.

            We supplemented Mr. Rab's cheese course with a Quebecois blue. The cheese board came with toasts, honey, pecans and a house made jam. And finally we had an olive oil cake with poached pears and fresh whipped cream - a light but satisfying finish.

            The cheque came to $160 with tax before tip and felt well worth it.

            There was really no sour note in the whole meal... except for a bit of weirdness instigated by another patron. The house was pretty full and at a nearby table of six one chair seemed to be occupied by an apple laptop. This computer sat open and running on the table for pretty much the entire meal. One of the party would check it periodically. At one point there was an exasperated hunt and pecking for an outlet. I found this extremely annoying. Somehow having this intrusive bit of technology in my face slowly turned my stomach sour and by the end of the evening I was downright annoyed. I have (mostly) learned to deal with the rude reality of pathological texters at restaurants, but having a computer parked on a table was just too much. It definitely changed the energy in the room for me, and much for the worse. Perhaps it's because I'm parked in front of a computer for most of the day, but having one glaring at me at dinner was icky. It felt like someone smoking a cigar just across the way.

            I still look forward to going back to Enoteca, but this incident did make me wish that management had stepped up to protect the loveliness of their establishment and to shelter us from people who Don't Know Better.

            1. Went to Enoteca Sociale on Friday night. In short: Thought it's a place for some good pasta, a nice Italian-focused wine list, and array of cheeses. The buzz about this place is warranted since I would argue that it covers a niche within the Toronto Italian restaurant scene though I didn't feel anything I had there was mind-blowingly good.

              We had the arancini and chickpea fritters to start. I thought the arancini was disappointing; it was pretty much a plain, deep-fried risotto ball without a lot of flavour. The chickpea fritters were nicely dense and almost nutty, but the accompanying lentils and mushrooms were very salty.

              For mains, we had the manicotti and caserecce; I loved the broccoli passato sauce with the caserecce, it was almost like a pesto with herbs, I think pine nuts, parmesan and olive oil.

              The wine that stood out was the Colterenzzio pinot nero; I haven't seen this at the LCBO (I will have to check the SAQ back in Montreal) and it was fruity and nicely balanced. Went really well with my dishes, including the Avonlea cheddar we had to finish (we also had the ricotta tiramisu for dessert).

              I'd love to come back to this place just for the wine and cheese more than anything else.

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              Enoteca Sociale
              1288 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

              1. I know this topic is probably no longer relevant, but I didn't want to make a new thread.

                Just got back from dinner at Campagnolo; even just glancing at the menu, every dish I saw had potential to be something special. There was no chicken breast or striploin steak to appease the masses, it was all about good, solid food. The burrata with grapes was the highlight of the night, though the testina comes close. The grapes, olive oil and cheese played so well off of each other. Different characteristics of each component came into play and everything came together so harmoniously that it became a pleasure/pain of "Oh God this is so good/Oh God why is my plate empty?!".

                Bittersweet moment with the mains; Craig had culotte of beef on the menu. Fantastic cut, meltingly tender when cooked sous-vide (as Craig had done), but rich as short rib. Absolutely delicious, but previously culotte was a bit of an industry secret (it's the cap of the rib), and was really affordable. Looks like that fortuitous situation is going to end soon :(

                Anyways, magnificent meal at Campagnolo, definitely a place I'll be returning to soon!

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                Campagnolo
                832 Dundas St. W, Toronto, ON , CA

                1. Finally tried Enoteca Sociale. Really liked it.

                  After having tried both Enoteca and Campagnolo, I can say I really like both restaurants a lot, and would rather travel the extra distance to eat at Campagnolo or Enoteca Sociale, than dine at other moderately priced, contemporary Italian restaurants on College, in North Toronto or downtown.

                  Campagnolo has a little more space between tables. I loved sitting at the Bar at Enoteca Sociale, and found our servers very down-to-earth and friendly. Would certainly return if I was looking for a nice place to dine solo. Both places played 70s/80s classic rock/top 40 that I liked, probably a vibe that would appeal most to 30somethings and 40somethings.

                  We tried the baccala fritters with a tripe/tomato sauce, the arancini, the octopus/escarole/fingerling starter, the Sicilian porchetta with a piece of crackling, the whitefish, and the torchetti with corn, Speck and Pecorino. We were lucky to be treated to a refreshing, gratis Cuke salad with radish, mint and parsley. Everything was flavourful, and I'd be happy to return.

                  Guess the main difference for me was that Campagnolo's menu was more limited, with less options for antipasti, primi and secondi. The menu at Enoteca seemed to have twice as many choices, and many of the choices were easy to share with friends. Campagnolo's atmosphere seemed slightly less cozy than Enoteca's. Enoteca also has a lovely patio, where seating is first come, first serve.

                  I really like both places better than any other contemporary Italian restaurants using local ingredients that I've tried recently. Bonus that we found free parking.

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                  Enoteca Sociale
                  1288 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                  Campagnolo
                  832 Dundas St. W, Toronto, ON , CA

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: prima

                    Wholly in agreement with you here! Two of my fave Italian restos in the city.

                    1. re: prima

                      I thought the pasta dish was the second best rendition of a carbonara I've had (best was Woodlot, alas, it's no longer on the menu). The pasta was perfectly cooked, the salt levels were just right with the speck and the pecorino and there wasn't a hint of cream in sight. Excellent.

                      The porchetta was a massive platter and great value. Honestly, everything was really good and I enjoyed dinner greatly. Loved the massive wine list for by the glass options. We were recommended a sparkling rose that was surprisingly only $9/glass. It was refreshing to find a server recommendation that didn't run into the $14/$15 range.

                      I definitely need to go back for that patio.

                    2. Went to Enoteca Sociale tonight. We made 5:30 reservations via OpenTable, and when we arrived we asked to sit on the patio and it was no problem. The patio was really nice; I recommend it if it is nice out.

                      We both had an app to start; I had the fried risotto balls and my eating companion had the octopus. I thought the octopus was very well cooked, but the dish was really spicy for my taste. The risotto balls were good but definitely better as a sharing plate, I'd get bored if I ate all three.

                      For my main I had the trecce. It was just okay; I thought the sauce was a bit bland. Well cooked though. My companion had the flank steak, which he thought was too salty, but I thought was very good.

                      For dessert we shared a cheese plate, which was the highlight of the meal.

                      Overall, I would go back but just for wine and cheese. Good, friendly service.

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                      Enoteca Sociale
                      1288 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                      1. Campagnolo hands down. Both places have friendly staff and good food. But Campagnolo's staff and chefs are very friendly and their winelist doesn't need a person to explain the whole thing. Enoteca could do without the pretencious lanky female sommelier who accosts you with thin wines and yet hadn't heard of some of the top Italian wines produced.

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                        Campagnolo
                        832 Dundas St. W, Toronto, ON , CA

                        1. Just went to Enoteca last night as my first time, it was delicious and exceeded our expectations. We didn't have any reservations, but managed to get a table for 3 at one of the communal table.
                          We had the grilled octopus, which was tender and cooked perfectly, the blood orange salad, which had a nice variety of textures, and it was a refreshing way to start off the dinner. We also started off with the arancini, which were deep fried risotto balls with buffalo mozzarella in a thick tomato sauce, which was good, but not as memorable as the octopus or the blood oranges. One of my friends ordered the pork shoulder with the quince mostarda, and it was delicious! The pork was cooked medium, and it was so juicy and tender, and went beautifully with the sweetness of the quince.
                          We ordered one pasta dish to share among the three of us, because we weren't that hungry, and decided on the papardelle with the lamb ragu. The pasta is all homemade, and it was cooked al dente, which was preferable to us.
                          For dessert, on the server's recommendation, we ordered the beet and apple tart, and the panna cotta. The tart was actually quite sweet, but the flaky crust around it was perfect, and it tasted great with the semifreddo. The panna cotta was very smooth, and didn't have any of the tiny grains of sugar that usually gets stuck in it, and accompanied the pears very nicely.
                          Their wine selection had a wide variety of wines from regions all across Italy, we picked the brunello di montalcino, which went with our meal very well.
                          Service was great, very helpful and friendly. I would definitely come back again

                          1. Campagnolo for us.
                            Been twice to Enoteca and have not found anything stood out enough to go back. Nothing bad, but just not for us i guess.

                            1. The thing about Enoteca is, I'd go a lot more if it wasn't so hard to get into. It's not a restaurant that is worth waiting for in terms of reserving ahead - I love the space, the good service, and especially the lovely wine list with some really interesting choices. But the food to me does not merit having to reserve ages in advance. I wish it was a place you could drop into - I'd go way more often. Maybe they need to open more bar space.

                              1. I have been wanting to check out Enoteca Sociale for way too long. I first made a reservation back in December (for a Saturday night in late January), but ended up having to cancel because of last minute plans. So I rebooked for a some time in February, which also had to be canceled due to some other interruption. And I agree with Arcadiaseeker, that the difficulty of getting a reservation is very frustrating (I wouldnt have to cancel reservations if I could make them when I actually knew my weekend plans). Regardless, I made it there and I was really looking forward to this meal.
                                I liked the lively atmosphere but found the small tables very difficult to organize with the water glasses, wine, bread, olive oil, side plates and food.
                                The staff were all very helpful, and our server was efficient and knowledgeable. However, I did feel the whole night was a little bit rushed. Our server didn't spend any time romancing the details of the menu, just gave the facts and banged out the courses. To give you a sense of how the evening went, we were sat at 8 pm, and three courses later, were in the cab home at 9:14 pm. I can't even get in and out of Jack Astors that fast- and at JA, you wouldn't be wanting to linger!
                                Normally, this would turn me off a bit as I liked dinner to last at least 1 3/4 hours, but I was so exhausted from my crazy week at work that I didn't mind making it an early night in.
                                Okay so lets talk food and drink. What I like about ES's wine menu is that (for most of the wines) you can choose to order a "taste", "glass", "quartito", or "bottle". So we did a quartito (1/3 bottle) of a red, and two tastes of white.
                                The bread that was served was delicious, particularly the slightly salty focaccia which has always been my favourite.
                                To start, we decided to share two appetizers. We tried:
                                Arancini con Mozzarella di Bufala & 'Nduja- Three perfectly fried balls nestled in a pool of fresh tomato basil sauce. In contrast to its creamy fluffy interior, the outsides had a wicked crust that yielded an amazing crunch that no amount of tomato sauce could temper (and that's a great thing!). Speaking of tomato sauce, I think the freshness and inherent sweetness of the tomatoes were the perfect foil for the richness of these balls.
                                Salumi Board of the Day with Chicken Liver Pate, Mortadella, Sopressata, Caramelized Apples and Grilled Bread- This was a very generous portion of salumi, easily split between three or four (not for us, though). The pate was gorgeously smooth and perfectly seasoned and I loved the melt in your mouth pistachio-studded Mortadella with the apples.
                                Moving onto mains, it was really hard to choose, but we decided on:
                                Trecce, Pork Sausage, Charred Broccoli & Tomato Peperonata- House made pasta with a generous portion of sausage, this tomato peperonata sauce was another winner. My only criticism would have been that the fennel in the sausage was a bit too pervasive for me, but I am not a fennel seed enthusiast, so this is just personal preference.
                                Gnocchi, Tomato, 'Nduja, Stracciatella & Basil- As soon as I read Stracciatella in the title, I knew I had to order it. I am also a massive gnocchi lover, so the dish was kind of a no brainer. These gnocchi were super light, tossed in that lovely sweet tomato sauce that had been enhanced by that delicious 'Nduja and garnished with basil and melted stracciatella. It was a nice moderate portion, but felt that I could have taken a bit more sausage, and a little more (okay, or a lot more) stracciatella couldn't have hurt. Regardless of me just wanting more of a good thing, the dish was a solid choice.
                                Sticky Toffee Pudding, Cardamom Syrup & Vanilla Bean Ice Cream- Obviously this was my choice for dessert as I am the STP queen. Honestly, I have never really met a STP I didn't like, and this was no exception. It was certainly not a traditional one (and still I prefer more traditional), as the syrup was more spicy than it was sweet, and the pudding itself was more light and crumbly than it was sticky. Regardless, it was a nice aromatic take on the dessert that I thoroughly enjoyed. It was certainly less heavy and sweet than what I am accustomed to, and so I felt a lot better after the meal.
                                So for a bottle of sparkling water, a quartito of wine, 2 tastes of wine, 2 mains,2 shared apps, 1 dessert and a cappuccino (which was delicious), the bill was about $150 including tax and tip, very reasonable for a very enjoyable meal. However, if you're looking for a solid evening out that might make each of those dollars count, ES might not be a good bet. Regardless, I had a wonderful meal and found numerous menu options that I would like to try so will try to get back again soon.

                                1. I went to Campagnolo yesterday for the first time. We decided to go with a tasting menu. $50 per person is good value for a tasting menu and for this reason my friend D. highly recommends it. Three of the people that ate with us had been to Enoteca Sociale, and they all agreed that Campagnola is better. Here is what we tried and my thoughts about each item:

                                  House-made Baguette and Gougeres - Both were very good, the baguette was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and the gougeres were light and airy. They were served with garlic butter which was also very good.

                                  Warm Olives - only three of us like olives, and I am one of the ones who does not - they all enjoyed and one asked the chef how it is done - everyone that ate them liked them - sorry I cannot comment further, my husband is not a wordy guy!

                                  Braised Short-rib Bitterballen (Croquette) with Horseradish Mustard - these were very tasty - the croquette was crisp and the short-rib filling was quite good, although I felt like it maybe could have had a bit more flavour (the flavour was good, but nothing popped as being unique or surprising).

                                  Salad - this seemed to be the one item they brought that was not on regular menu - it was a mix of mostly cabbage, crispy prosciutto, and a bit of spring mix salad. It had a very light dressing, with maybe some lemon. It was my least favourite item - it didn't seem to have anything about it to make it stand out.

                                  Fresh Burrata Cheese with Roasted Grapes and Toasted Bread - probably in my top five of the items we tried on the menu - a unique, warm, soft and cheesy dish - the roasted grapes add a nice sweetness.

                                  Wild Portuguese Squid with Sepia Arancini and Arugula Sauce - This was my favourite dish, the best squid I have ever got my teeth on! The arancini is a fried ball of goodness - I looked up sepia and apparently it is cuttlefish, but to me this tasted like a fried ball with risotto and something that was a very vibrant green that gave it a fresh flavour. The texture of the squid was not chewy or rubbery. The Arugula Sauce added a nice touch, and made for a really nice presentation.

                                  Roasted Sweet Potato Agnollotti with Smoked Scamorza and Parsley – my second favourite dish – delicious! Fresh made pasta with a thick, soup-like, sweet potato filling with a hint of smoked flavour from the scamorza. Texture was perfect. The sweet potato filling melts in your mouth.

                                  Norwegian Ocean Trout with Sauteed Rapini and Smoked Cauliflower Puree and Espelette Pepper – my third favourite dish. My 2nd favourite fish dish ever at a restaurant! The trout got a nice sear on one side and had an amazing flavour. The smoked cauliflower puree was smooth and creamy – a nice dipping sauce for the trout. The Sauteed Rapini was done to perfection, still a bit firm.

                                  Veal Schnitzel with Sauerkraut, Spicy Potatoes and Cucumber Salad – This was another of my top five dishes that we sampled. The breading on the veal was crispy and nicely seasoned. The veal was very tender. The potatoes were okay – nothing special. The sauerkraut was good, and the cucumber salad reminded me of the one my mother makes – creamy with thin slices of cucumbers.

                                  Salted Caramel Pudding with Chocolate Meringues – Amazing! – A sweet and salty blend, with chewy meringues. They served it in small shot glasses, I wish I had asked them to supersize it!

                                  Our meal here was great and the service was exceptional – the servers were friendly, knowledgeable, and down to earth. It was great that the chef was in-house and serving the food along with his staff.

                                  1. Not sure what the buzz is about. Been to Campognolo twice (last time was very recent) and Enoteca only once, but never again.

                                    Campagnolo was great when they first opened, but seems to have gone downhill since. Their newest menu is unimaginative and borderline tasteless. Spaghetti with Crab- crab was chewy and why have white on white? The braised beef croquette: Braised beef had no flavor whatsoever. Everything else was too salty. One gem in the pack is the Pineapple/Coconut/Marshmellows ice cream.

                                    Enoteca was a total disaster when we went there last year. The chef wasn't there and it really showed. Still shaking our heads about that experience.

                                    For a city that has over 1million Italians, Toronto needs better Italian restaurants.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: MichelinHound

                                      I don't believe the white on white thing would bother many. I know Joe Beef has them lined up for their decadent spaghetti and lobster trademark dish.