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Looking for Grade A Risotto

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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.

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  1. 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

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

      1. re: justpete

        Agree. Pangea is to be avoided.

        1. re: justpete

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

          1. re: JennaBean

            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

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

              1. re: justpete

                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

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

      2. 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. 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.

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          Mistura
          265 Davenport Rd, Toronto, ON M5R1J9, CA

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

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

          1 Reply
          1. re: prima

            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. 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.

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

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

              1 Reply
              1. re: Pincus

                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.

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

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

              2. 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.

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                Mistura
                265 Davenport Rd, Toronto, ON M5R1J9, CA

                4 Replies
                1. re: elvisahmed

                  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.

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                  Mistura
                  265 Davenport Rd, Toronto, ON M5R1J9, CA

                  1. re: erly

                    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

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

                      1. re: erly

                        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. 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?

                  http://www.paganellis.com/risotti

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                  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

                    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

                      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.

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                      Fusilli
                      531 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M5A1V1, CA

                      1. re: dogseatfree

                        Sidecar makes good risotto, as I recall.

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

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

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

                          1. 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.

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

                            1. 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!

                              -----
                              Caffino
                              1185 King St W, Toronto, ON M6K3C5, CA

                              1. 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!