[St. Lawrence's Market] Paganelli’s
I was craving for risotto one day and was too lazy to make it at home. After reading some reviews, I decided to go to Paganelli’s for the award winning risotto.
Paganelli’s is just steps away from St. Lawrence Market on Front street.
We arrived early on a Saturday evening. The restaurant was still quite vacant.
There is a semi-private section for group dining. The area was equipped with a counter to do some simple food preps.
The kitchen is semi-open concept. You can kind of see what’s going on in the kitchen through this cute “hut” looking thing.
The bread was complimentary. Little round flatbread, called “piadina” was served in addition to regular bread. Charles and I both preferred the piadina. It tasted like a denser version of Indian Naan bread, but was still fluffy.
We started with a Margherita pizza with tomato sauce, basil, and mozzarella. Paganelli’s serves thin crust pizza, just the way I like it. I found the Margherita lacking basil flavour. I also wished buffalo mozzarella was used instead of regular mozzarella.
We ordered the risotto con Fagiano e Tartufo. This risotto was the winner of the Golden Spoon as the best risotto in Canada in 2001. Charles pointed out that it was 11 years ago and the restaurant has not won any awards since…
The risotto was basically a pheasant ragout with black truffles. It was very tasty! The ragout was very rich in flavour and the aroma of the truffle was amazing. The arborio was cooked to prefect al dente and each tiny piece of rice absorbed the flavour of the ragout. The risotto was also filled with little pieces of meat.
After our pizza and risotto, Charles complained that he was not full yet, so we ordered the Tagliatelle alla Bolognese con Piselli. The pasta used housemade egg fettuccine in a traditional Bolognese sauce with fresh green peas. I love fresh pasta but the egg fettuccine was unfortunately sub-par. The texture was strangely “spongy,” not smooth like the ones we’ve had in Florence… The Bologneses sauce was tasty but it was nothing spectacular.
By the end of the meal, we noticed that the risotto alla Forma con Tartufo e Noci was a super popular dish at Paganelli’s. This truffle and walnut risotto was cooked in the kitchen, and then prepared again at tableside, in a Parmigiano-Reggiano wheel with some alcohol (I think) and open flame! It was pretty cool to watch and I wish I could try that!
Our dinner at Paganelli’s was satisfying. The pizza and pasta we tried were good but nothing exceptional. The risotto was the highlight of our meal. It tasted fantastic and I would go back for more.