Saturday, January 23, 2016

Levetto on College

Have you ever yearned for a hearty bowl of pasta or a slice of pizza yet splurging at a restaurant and spending three hours there just doesn't cut it because it's a Tuesday night and you have an 8 o'clock meeting tomorrow morning that you still gotta prepare for? Yeah, I know you have. The thing is there's a time and place for fancy Italian but even I'm not up for that all the time (surprise, surprise). After a long day at work all I crave sometimes is delicious food quickly. If you ever find yourself feeling this way then I suggest you give Levetto a try.

 Levetto (Twitter: @levettoresto, Facebook: Levetto) is a “fast casual” pizza and pasta joint with good price points and generous portions. There are currently five Levetto locations in Ontario - one in Vaughan, one in Waterloo, one in Baden, and two in Toronto (Liberty Village and College Street). A sixth location is in the works in Chinatown at 392 Spadina Ave.

You walk in, you order at the counter, you pay, you take a seat, and food will be served to you when it's ready. That's all there is to it at Levetto.  And, of course, you can also get your food to go. Visit their website and you'll see that some locations takes orders online for pick up and others even do delivery. For my Levetto experience I checked out their College St. location.

If you want to fancy it up a bit Levetto does alcoholic drinks as well. They have bottled beer for $5, imported beer for $6, wine by the glass for $6-$8.5 and wines by the bottle for $30-$39. Such good prices especially with the wine. This is another reason why Levetto is so appealing.

The menu at the chain restaurant is divided into salads, pastas, pizzas and desserts. I decided to skip the salads and go straight for the carbs. It's winter and I need 'em carbs!

Classic Roman pastas are made fresh daily from Levetto's imported Italian extruders. The pastas are cooked to order resulting in noodles that are springy, slightly chewy and delicious. The three pastas I had were cooked to a perfect al dente.

Slow-braised beef ragu, grana padano, chive
I'm a red sauce kinda gal so this pasta was right up my alley. I thought the pasta would've been a bit more interesting if it had some element of heat or spice in the ragu. It was still very good overall.

Smoked bacon, cracked black pepper, egg, scallion, grana padano
I typically like my carbonaras more thick and creamy with a silky coating, whereas this one was much lighter and less rich. Again, personal preference. The flavour was spot-on though and the smoked bacon was money.

TRECCE ($8.5)
Garlic infused olive oil, chili flake, sundried tomato, goat’s cheese, arugula

This was my favourite pasta out of the three. I was honestly taken back because I almost always prefer pastas with sauce (specifically tomato sauce) but this one completely stole the show. The concentrated flavour of the sundried tomatoes, tangy creaminess of the goat cheese, and the heat from the chili flakes was really fantastic together.

My favourite pasta, the Trecce, only cost $8.50. It was a heaping portion, too!

Levetto's pizzas are available in three sizes: small ($6.50-$8.50), medium ($12-$16) and large ($24-31). The pies are Romano-style, which are typically rectangular instead of round and can stand up to a multitude of bold and heavy toppings (this is the same ‘walking’ pizza that true Romans grab when roaming the streets). I was informed by Executive Chef Shahir Massoud that their dough is close to 90% water, resulting in a light, puffy and crispy crust. I tried four pizzas:

SMOKED PROSCIUTTO ($8 | $15 | $29)
Speck, sweet medjool date sauce, fresh arugula, Fior di Latte, toasted almond
A play on sweet and savoury with smoked prosciutto and sweet medjool date sauce. I can see the appeal in this but I personally thought the date sauce was a bit too sweet. I did, however, enjoy the toasted almonds a lot.

FUNGHI ($7.5 | $14 | $27)
Portobello, oyster & cremini mushrooms with mascarpone, roasted garlic crema
Generous amounts of mixed mushrooms on top of a roasted garlic mascarpone, this pizza was rich and very tasty. My favourite pizza of the night.

SALSICCIA ($7.5 | $14 | $27)
Italian sausage, shaved fennel, roasted red pepper, chili flake, black olive, Fior di Latte, fennel fronds
Salsiccia is a spicy sausage so if you like heat then this is the pizza for you. Very well-balanced toppings.

MARGHERITA ($6.5 | $12 | $24)
Fior di Latte, crushed tomato sauce, fresh basil
Good margherita with all the essential ingredients. I do wish it had more cheese.

Make sure you save room for dessert. I was pleasantly surprised at how scrumptious the desserts were at Levetto. I tried two out of the three desserts on the menu (minus the tiramisu):

Seasonal compote, crumbled amaretti cookie, cinnamon
I usually don't order panna cotta because a lot of places either make them too stiff (too much gelatin) or not stiff enough (which results in a puddle). This one had the perfect "jiggle".

Coconut icing, toasted pistachio
This cake had a lovely texture - it's a little more dense and crumbly than most other cakes but it was still very moist. The coconut icing was sweet but not too sweet, just right, and the toasted pistachio was excellent.

*This meal was complimentary. The opinions and views expressed on this post are my own*

Levetto Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato