Just when you thought Queen West couldn’t get any better, a piece of Italy appears. Piola, an Italian eatery started where else but Italy has opened its first Canadian location about a month ago at 1165 Bathurst St. just East of Dufferin. I first discovered this European wonder a few years ago in Hallandale, Florida. The buzzing, welcoming ambiance can be felt while indulging in pizzas topped with egg, tuna, shrimp, along with many others and an array of pasta dishes and salads.
There is now reason to celebrate the 29th of every month. On this day, Piola offers-get ready for it…All You Can Eat Gnocchi! Whenever I tell someone about this, they are in complete awe. Jonty and I had been planning our “Gnocchi day” since we heard about it’s opening.
Foolishly we did not make a reservation and entered a packed, booming restaurant. Luckily shortly after we arrived two spots opened up at the bar where we were able to begin our gnocchi journey. Every few minutes wait staff bring over a huge bowl of the carby goodness and load it onto your plate. The flavors vary each time, while the same kinds also stop by for seconds, thirds, fourths…Since Jonty and I do not eat Pork, we steered clear of the ham and mushroom gnocchi and the pork bolognese.
A perfect start, and my favourite was the pesto gnocchi. If Jonty could be covered in Pesto, I would probably love him a little bit more…just joking-but I do love a good pesto! After polishing this off, we were greeted with a spicy tomato sauce. I am quite a wuss when it comes to spicy foods, and this was very hot! I was brave and ate some of it, but gave my leftovers to Jonty.
Next was tomato and bocconcini which was simple but the bocconcini gave it extra creaminess and texture.
An odd combination for pasta was the spicy tuna gnocchi. I got excited at the sound of it and thought it would be some sort of tuna tar tar like I’m used to in Sushi, but it was actually canned tuna. This was quite interesting and not my first choice. At this point, we were getting pretty stuffed, as gnocchi is very thick and filling. Just when I was craving something creamy, the four cheese gnocchi appeared. It was a white, creamy, rich sauce which pleasantly greeted my taste buds.
Lastly for us was the simple tomato basil gnocchi. Strings of basil combined with the sweet tomato sauce was a nice ending to such a rich, filling meal. I think I was so full that I couldn’t even reach for my camera!
PS-If you check out the post from Florida this past December you will see other dishes from Piola.