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Looking for Grade A Risotto

Pincus Sep 2, 2011 08:06 AM

I've had risottos in town. But I'm not sure I've ever had the true version of the dish, as the places I had them at were "gastropubs". So I'm looking for the gold standard in Toronto, so I can understand what the real deal should look and taste like.

I would prefer the most basic version around, because too many additions make it, well, risotto and whatever. I think the pure dish is just a bit of butter and parmesan mixed in at the end? That would be my ideal taste test.

  1. p
    Pincus Sep 22, 2011 08:09 AM

    So far I've tried Quattro Ragazze (just because they are close and I'm busy these days). Creamy, rice grains were soft on the outside with a bit of chew in the middle, not at all soupy. Next step: some of the higher end places mentioned in this thread. Thanks folks!

    1. r
      rachishere Sep 21, 2011 01:34 PM

      I have tried two of the risottos at Caffino Ristorante on King West near Dufferin and they were both great. One was a steak risotto (called Umbria I think) and one was a seafood riosotto. I can't say either of them were "plain" but they made me much more of a risotto lover!

      1185 King St W, Toronto, ON M6K3C5, CA

      1. l
        LTL Sep 8, 2011 01:58 PM

        Like others above, I do enjoy the side risotto at Bymark but I love my risotto and a side just won't do ;) I love the porcini mushroom risotto at Quattro 4 Ragazze. There have been some complaints on this board about the service, but I have never experienced any problems.

        66 Wellington St. W, Toronto, ON M5K 1J3, CA

        1. a
          akhorasanee Sep 5, 2011 02:35 PM

          Corner House's risotto is one of my favourites in Toronto!

          Corner House
          501 Davenport Avenue, Toronto, ON M3R 4R6, CA

          1. w
            Wino In Training Sep 4, 2011 08:27 PM

            I miss the risotto at Thuet (in its original, high-end form). It was fantastic.

            1. m
              ms. cornbread Sep 4, 2011 06:49 PM

              The Gabardine makes a nightly risotto, always vegetarian. On my recent trip, the risotto had patty pan squash and heirloom tomatoes, it was quite nice.

              1. Googs Sep 4, 2011 07:06 AM

                There was a time when Romagna Mia was synonymous with great risotto. Now in its reincarnation as Paganelli's I don't know. Any takers?


                Romagna Mia
                106 Front Street East, Toronto, ON M5A 1E1, CA

                Paganelli's Risotteria-Enoteca
                106 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5E 1E4, CA

                3 Replies
                1. re: Googs
                  dogseatfree Sep 4, 2011 07:24 AM

                  Any great risottos in places that aren't so fancy? I don't really want to go out for the whole dining experience, I just want to eat some great risotto (that Isn't cooked at home by me).

                  1. re: dogseatfree
                    Googs Sep 4, 2011 10:16 AM

                    Fusilli is an unassuming little trat on Queen near River. I didn't mention it because the Risotto alla Pescatora is only available on occasion as a special. When I say a great risotto is more a feeling than a taste, this version is an ethereal experience.

                    531 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M5A1V1, CA

                    1. re: dogseatfree
                      piccola Sep 4, 2011 05:45 PM

                      Sidecar makes good risotto, as I recall.

                  2. elvisahmed Sep 3, 2011 10:20 PM

                    Though I have never tried it myself I recall reading Mistura having a great Risotto with beets. Maybe someone else can chime in who has tried it.

                    265 Davenport Rd, Toronto, ON M5R1J9, CA

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: elvisahmed
                      erly Sep 5, 2011 07:13 AM

                      I have ordered the Beet Risotto at Mistura, and it is excellent.
                      I prefer a Mushroom Risotto, but dislike the mushy versions in most T.O. Restaurants.
                      al dente Rice and not wet.
                      Do recommend it.

                      265 Davenport Rd, Toronto, ON M5R1J9, CA

                      1. re: erly
                        Googs Sep 5, 2011 08:10 AM

                        IMHO risotto should be both al dente and wet. If it arrives less than moist, it's either sat too long before serving or been prepared by someone who didn't want their skills tested.

                        1. re: Googs
                          erly Sep 5, 2011 11:17 AM

                          Googs, didn't mean to offend you
                          Possibly we are saying the same thing differently.
                          Creamy, silky, but never watery wet.

                          1. re: erly
                            Googs Sep 5, 2011 12:04 PM

                            Oh no offense taken, but I do appreciate the courtesy. Yes, it seems we do agree. It should be moist enough that it could only be served as a main course and not plated as a side.

                            I think the real key to getting great risotto in a restaurant is the patience of the person ordering. It can't be rushed and the timing isn't always predictable.

                    2. p
                      Pincus Sep 3, 2011 02:29 PM

                      Thanks for all the suggestions, I will dust off my tuxedo and try some of them out.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Pincus
                        justpete Sep 3, 2011 05:34 PM

                        Splendido has great risotto as does Bymark. Not certain if they have them as a main, but great sides. Entoteca Sociale may have a risotto dish as well.

                        88 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1G5, CA

                        66 Wellington St. W, Toronto, ON M5K 1J3, CA

                      2. e
                        evansl Sep 3, 2011 06:12 AM

                        Via Allegro wild mushroom risotto is the best by far. Not as al dente as in Italty, but no place in Toronto serves it as crunchy as the Italians like it.

                        Via Allegro
                        1750 The Queensway, Toronto, ON M9C5H5, CA

                        1. prima Sep 2, 2011 09:24 AM

                          Best risotto I've had in TO was the meyer lemon risotto served as part of Lobsterlicious at Scaramouche 2 years ago.

                          The beet risotto at Mistura is also supposed to be amazing, and is on my wishlist.

                          For a plainer, top quality risotto, I'd head to a place such as Il Posto Nuovo. Risotto Milanese is the classic, fairly plain but still delicious risotto, made with butter, broth, saffron and parmigiano, iirc.

                          265 Davenport Rd, Toronto, ON M5R1J9, CA

                          1 Benvenuto Place, Toronto, ON M4V 2L1, CA

                          Il Posto
                          148 Yorkville Ave, Toronto, ON M5R1C2, CA

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: prima
                            downtownfoodie Sep 2, 2011 06:31 PM

                            the porcini risotto i had at One a couple of years ago was the best i've had in toronto. proper "goopy" consistency, al dente rice. just the right amount of parm to finish

                          2. Googs Sep 2, 2011 09:17 AM

                            It should look almost like a well made rice pudding (think wet, not like other rice dishes) and have the tender toothsome quality of same. It shouldn't taste like any one component, but rather the harmony of carnaroli, butter, onion, garlic, chicken stock, parmesan, and parsley. It's more a feeling than a taste I find. I also find adding just the right amount of parsley to be key to elevating the flavours of all ingredients.

                            Where when out? I leave that to others.

                            1. j
                              JennaBean Sep 2, 2011 08:36 AM

                              Believe it or not, Pangaea has one of the best mushroom risotto's I've ever had. It is about $30 as a main but you can get it at as a smaller plate for about $20 I do believe.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: JennaBean
                                justpete Sep 2, 2011 03:51 PM

                                Don't believe it. Last time I was at Pangea, it was a disaster of epic proportions. #restaurantfail

                                1. re: justpete
                                  evansl Sep 3, 2011 06:14 AM

                                  Agree. Pangea is to be avoided.

                                  1. re: justpete
                                    JennaBean Sep 4, 2011 11:01 AM

                                    i will have to go for lunch this week as i haven't been since winter.

                                    1. re: JennaBean
                                      JennaBean Sep 17, 2011 04:09 PM

                                      Went last night. Had the small size, just as good as the last time. Maybe a bit smaller than I remember it.

                                      1. re: JennaBean
                                        justpete Sep 17, 2011 05:07 PM

                                        Astonishing. Maybe I'll have to re-visit. This restaurant was run like a swiss-chalet last time I was there.

                                        1. re: justpete
                                          JennaBean Sep 18, 2011 03:20 PM

                                          it was only a 1/3 full and i tend to stick to the same items a salad and the risotto so I can't comment on much of anything else.

                                          1. re: JennaBean
                                            Kassi22 Sep 22, 2011 09:32 AM

                                            I'm with Jenna on this. Ive had this Risotto as well and its awesome. Pretty much the best thing on their menu imo.

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