- The Entree
- The Side/Drinks
- The Atmosphere
Now, whenever someone asks a fellow Torontonian what some great Italian places to chow down at are, most would probably give you a restaurant somewhere in the downtown core. But as every Torontonian knows, actually getting there almost anytime of day is a hassle. And if you’re like me, living off in some random suburb in Toronto, you’re not always in the mood to trek down. So then what are some options for those of us unlucky/lazy few who still want a good Italian meal outside of downtown? My girlfriend and I went to go explore that option and came across a restaurant located in Markham, called Fraticelli’s.
We walked in and I’ll be honest I wasn’t expecting much in terms of decor, but was quite pleasantly surprised. Instead of going for the common rustic or family run look a lot of Italian places go for, (which for the record I also like), Fraticelli’s went for a more modern bar and grill look you would find at a place like Joey’s.
10 Vogell Road,
Richmond Hill, ON
After being promptly seated at our table, we began to browse through the offerings and after a couple minutes of deep thought influenced heavily by our hunger, we came to our conclusion. Now for all those who know me, they know that I am currently obssessed with the Food Network and recently started watching (the food truck show), and every time one of the teams make deep fried rice balls I salivate, so when I saw deep fried risotto balls on the menu, I jumped at the chance. As an entree I ended up ordering the Chicken Garganelli, and my girlfriend went with a Caesar Salad and added some wood grilled chicken breast with it.
As soon as the food came to us, I snatched up a risotto ball and tried it first. The risotto balls were actually called Crab Arancini. Within these deep fried gooey and wonderful rissotto balls were bits of crab and mozarella. While I wished the crab flavour was slightly stronger, it was still very satisfying. The texture was amazing because the exterior was nice and crunchy and the middle was soft and had the wonderful texture of risotto. Two dips accompanied the Crab Arancini- one of which was a tomato pepperonato, and the other was a garlic basil aioli. Of the two, my favourite was the Tomato pepperonato as it had a distinct spiced tomato taste.
After devouring the Crab Arancini, we starting nomnoming away at our entrees. The chicken garganeli was fantastic. Maybe my expectations for the dish were low, but as soon as I started eating it, I absolutely loved it. There were great flavours from the red pepper tomato sauce and the arugula that was cooked with the dish adding a nice peppery bite. As well, the extra texture that the porcini mushrooms added gave the entree a nice chew. The chicken as well was cooked well and quite moist inside. My only gripe with the dish would have been that I wished the pasta was cooked slightly more al dente, however I understand this could be a personal preference.
Everyone who knows me knows that I’m usually not happy with eating just my own food, so I peeked over at my girlfriends salad and remembering all the “eat your vegetables” lessons my mother has taught me, I quickly stabbed away at her salad to see what it was like. While it was nothing special in terms of taste- it tasted like your average caesar salad- I appreciated the fact that the salad was not over dressed and was nice and crisp when it came to us. The chicken that was added to it was a bit of a mixed bag and while some slices were well cooked, others were a little dry. Overall, we both definitely preferred my Chicken Garganelli.
We were quite surprised to find a relatively decent Italian restaurant outside of downtown, and if you’re ever in the neighbourhood up North in Markham and in the mood for Italian, be sure to stop by Fraticellis.
The Damage: $60