Pleasant Outdoor Dining at Vaticano

You can spot Vaticano Restaurant in Toronto’s Yorkville area from far away – it’s the restaurant with a huge picture of the chef and owner!  The restaurant, which is a participant in the city’s annual Summerlicious and Winterlicious festivals also boasts an excellent “regular” menu.  At a recent visit, I tried their parpadelle Vaticano, a vegetarian pasta dish made with broad parpadelle noodles, marsala sauce and mushrooms.  The dish comes in both appetizer and main course sizes.  The main course portion, which was what I ordered, was not too big, a good size for someone who would like to have a dessert.  There are too many restaurants these days which like to serve large sizes – not very good if you are trying to maintain a certain shape.  Some restaurants try to add too much to pasta – meat, a variety of vegetables as well as the sauce.  With just mushrooms and a light sauce to taste, the pasta did not feel heavy.

I have to admit that I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Vaticano is familiar to me, but I hadn’t gone in a very long time.   The last time I was at the restaurant was well over a year ago.  It was also the first time I had outdoor seating, a much better option, I think.  The interior of the restaurant can be quite dark – to the point that one could trip if not careful enough.  The ambience of being outside, yet inside, since the restaurant is tucked away makes a meal very enjoyable.  It’s relative calm is also very different from many of the other patios in Yorkville, which are on street level.  One thing which they could have improved on was to inform people about things on the menu which have been sold out.  For dessert, my fiance had ordered chocolate soy “ice cream” while I had strawberry sorbet.  While my sorbet arrived, his dessert did not.  After five minutes, we flagged down a server to ask about his dessert.  It turned out that it was not available.  If a dessert is not available, it would be best to advise the diner soon after the order is placed.  Otherwise, the evening was quite pleasant.

Vaticano is located on the lower level of 25 Bellair Street in Toronto.  Its phone number is 416-924-4967.