Epic Night at Campagnolo

I love that my friends know me so well. When I arrived in Toronto and checked into Toronto Pearson International Airport on foursquare, a local friend, who knew I was coming to town, left a resto check-in and recommendation for me! Love it!

Turns out Campagnolo was featured in latest issue of Air Canada's magazine, En Route, as one of the “10 best new restaurants” in Canada! My Dad read it on the plane wanted to check it out! With two recos, we had to go!

From the street, I could see that Campagnolo was packed. This was definitely a hot spot! We of course sat at the bar, and were joyfully greeted by Colin, the charismatic bartender who took care of us all night.

Collin talked us into ordering the burrata with roasted grapes. When it arrived, I whipped out my iPhone and started taking pictures before we dug in. Shocker, I know! There was a gentlemen sitting at the chef’s table – a bar space for four that overlooked the open kitchen. He turned around and asked, as we were within earshot, what I was doing. He came over and I explained to him that I was a foodie and that I loved taking pictures of food! Turns out he was Chef/Owner Craig Harding’s Stepdad! We talked shop and then he said he’d send Chef Craig over to say hi.

Ok, back to the food… This was the first time I’d had roasted grapes. Delicious!!! Such a great pairing with crusty bread and fresh burrata. Heavenly.

Chef Craig came over and we gushed about the burrata, talked some more shop and got his recos on the menu. Such a thrill to talk with a chef and see the passion exude from within. He was delightful!

Campagnolo touts itself as “good honest home cooked food,” and that’s just what it was. Ok, maybe from a home with a personal gourmet chef! This was complemented by love and warmth that radiated from the walls. Such a special place.

My Dad ordered the naturally raised flatiron with pork belly hash and smoked gorgonzola butter. Every bite was just as good as the dish's title. Wow. Each bite was unbelievably tender and nestled in a blanket of silky smooth gorgonzola butter. I secretly wanted to take this away from my Dad and eat both entrees, but, I'm a giving daughter ;)

Chef Craig’s Step Dad and Mom stopped by our stools on their way out and we learned how Chef Craig couldn't even point water when he was younger! Craig, you’ve come a long way!!!

I am a sucker for homemade pasta, so when I saw pappardelle with rabbit and BC chanterelles on the menu, I just had to have it! It was exquisite! I've come to enjoy authentic Italian pasta dishes more than the Americanized versions. Homemade pasta and a concentration on just a few ingredients sends it soaring!

A lone Argentinian man, George, sat at the bar next to us and joined in our on conversation with Colin. He shared his prosciutto with us and then when he found out my Dad and I just celebrated our birthdays, he insisted on buying us birthday drinks! If you insist ;)

At this point, we were having such a good time with our new friend George, Colin the bartender and other waitstaff who circled the bar area to pick up drinks. So much fun!

I ordered Mary’s Tears, a spin on a Bloody Mary from Campagnolo’s eclecticly unique cocktail menu. This cocktail showed up clear and was made with and tomato water. This clear tomato water, which Colin gave me a sample of first, was unbelievable. Campagnolo infused water with tomato, olive oil and spices. Tasted like you were drinking a freshly roasted tomato… but the liquid was clear! I am craving one now.

Round two of birthday drinks? Ummmm... ok! This time I lasted the Limone, which was equally as fabulous!

Chef Craig delivered a complimentary dessert and coffee to wrap up our night. Wow. What an epic evening!

Watch A Night at Campagnolo.

Campagnolo. Toronto, Canada.

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