Review: Briscola Trattoria, Toronto

Little Italy has been hiding a little secret from me. A neighborhood known for its underwhelming restaurant offerings welcomes Briscola Trattoria, a funky space with flawless menu between Markham and Palmerston which promises to revolutionize how Toronto understands authentically refined Italian cuisine.

I met Stella and Nicki at the restaurant after work, a follow up to our feast at La Societe. I arrived about an hour before our reservation which gave me ample time to take pictures of the restaurants stunning interior. I also took the time to chat with Briscola’s attentive staff and take notes on the menu.

Once Nicki and Stella arrived we dove right into the menu. Please note that the restaurant sells its bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Such a delight! I poured a thick molasses like nectar of balsamic onto a side plate dotted with extra virgin olive oil droplets. A true testament to any French or Italian restaurant is their bread offering. A bread that really gets you excited goes to show that the chef really cares about the overall dining experience. Briscola’s walnut and fig bread is a beautiful artisan offering which was quickly snapped up and dipped into our velvety balsamic concoction.

The three of us unanimously agreed that every single dish we enjoyed was flawless (and you can see from what we ordered below that we tried over half the menu!) Typically even really great restaurants have a few weak dishes that allow me to suggest some form of improvement. I can without a doubt exclaim that Briscola’s menu is divine! I enjoyed every cocktail, every noodle…to the very last orange zest scented deep fried olive. Both Nicki and Stella commented that they wanted to enjoy their next birthday’s at the restaurants intimate white leather seating. “You know a restaurant has done something right when you want to come back again for more to celebrate your birthday with friends and family.”

My favorite dishes were (all of them), but really, it is so hard! If I was told I could really only order four dishes on my next visit I would order the fresh figs, pizza, bolognese and bread pudding. Closing my eyes right now as I type this to you I am overwhelmed with a great sense of satisfaction as I relive the idea of such a sequel.

I want to finish with a warning. I do not suggest ordering as much as we did in one sitting as it may cause you to explode. Just as we had finished our pasta course we all commented that we wished our desserts were coming out next (but had two mains to tackle, such a hurdle). Either invite a few more friends to enjoy your feast or simply break your dinner up into separate visits. While we were all groaning in our seats after our entrees were removed from the table I commented that they should have a slide out the front door so people could just roll themselves to their cars. A wheel barrel would also be of great assistance. We ordered  two desserts and Nicki especially chirped in that she had never felt this full in her life. I exclaimed, “we are professionals here, we have to pull through, get serious and polish off this meal with a sweet finish!” And we did just that.

We ordered:

Briscola Belini

peach nectar, lemon juice, peach schnapps, prosecco


fresh mint, rum, lemon juice, simple syrup

Prosecco Sangria

brandy, prosecco, vino roso, triple sec

Pieropan Soave Classico


oven scorched tomatoes and 15 year old balsamic vinegar

Proscuitto di Parma

stuffed figs and candied spiced almonds

Ricotta stuffed zucchini flowers

hickory smoked tomato jam

Tartufo Funghi Pizza

woodland mushrooms, truffled fonduta, shards of parmigiano, white truffle oil


basil pesto, oven cured tomatoes and black pepper mascarpone cream


bison bolognese with buffalo milk ricotta

Braised Beef Short Ribs

farro risotto, vegetables, and a cipollini agro dolce

Zuppa di Pesce fra Diavolo

a bounty of clams, mussels, shrimps, scallops and calamari in a spicy tomato broth with braised fennel

Salted Caramel Tart

cocoa nib brittle, chocolate espresso ganache

Panettone Bread Pudding

dates, pistachio and vanilla gelato

#208 restaurant reviewed in Ontario since moving to Toronto in 2010. 

Briscola Trattoria on Urbanspoon

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