[Entertainment District] Nota Bene
Located at Queen Street West, Nota Bene is the perfect location for a relaxing meal after strolling along funky Queen West, or a refreshing cocktail and a light dinner before a heading over to the Opera house. It was named Canada’s top new restaurants by numerous magazines, including Toronto Life and Air Canada’s Enroute Magazine.
I took my mom to Nota Bene for lunch before we watched the Nutcracker. We arrived shortly after it opened and enjoyed the quiet dining room all by ourselves… for about 5 minutes, then the lunch-time crowd started pouring in.
Perfectly pressed white table linens, high ceilings, beautiful hardwood floors and walls, the dining room was spacious, brightly lit, and yet filled with warmth.
We started our lunch with some bread. I was not very pleased that our waiter served this bread in spite of my allergies I noted in the reservation… I’d expect a restaurant with such high profile to be more careful and cautious about their diners’ dietary restrictions…
My mom ordered the grilled Mediterranean sea bass with green beans and herb vinaigrette. The sea bass was grilled perfectly – moist, tender, and flaky. Sadly, it was slightly under seasoned and tasted a little bland, not to mention that the fillet was so thin. The green bean were quite sweet and crisp, and went well with the tangy vinaigrette.
I ordered the Cavatelli pasta with truffle-scented mushroom bolognese for myself. The cavatelli pasta was divine, even though it did not have the best presentation. The Cavatelli was a dense pasta and it had a nice soft texture. The truffle-scented mushroom Bolognese was to die for. The Bolognese was so fragrant, creamy, but not heavy. The sauce also contained tons of mushrooms, which I really enjoyed. Both my mom and I though this pasta was amazing.
I actually really wanted to have Jennier’s stilton brisket beef burger, voted #4 by Toronto Life as “Toronto’s 25 best burgers ranked in order of heart-stopping, messy magnificence.” Unfortunately, the supplies delivery got delayed that day because of the snowstorm on the previous day and the burger was off the menu.
We also ordered the sauteed rapini with garlic and chili to share, but forgot to snap a picture before we devoured the tiny plate. The rapini was cooked well but nothing too extraordinary about it.
The delicious and aromatic cavatelli made this lunch memorable. However, the portion size for the sea bass and rapini was insufficient and disproportional when you consider the price tag. I’d say it is almost not worth it… Maybe we just ordered the wrong things this time. Anyhow, I still see lots of menu items with huge potentials, such as the Digby Scallops and Nova Scotia Lobster Salad. I’d definitely go back just so that I can try the famous brisket burger or have another plate of the cavatelli pasta.