RESTAURANT REVIEW: Capocaccia Trattoria | Midtown – Summerhill
Capocaccia Trattoria at 1366 Yonge St. is a beautiful example of a family business done right. It began as a little sandwich joint and the roots of that are still evident in the entrance half of the restaurant. Couple that with their passion for quality product and the success they’ve enjoyed is a given. Their popularity grew so rapidly back in 2004, that expansion within their first year was inevitable. This expansion while evident, works seamlessly and elegantly without losing the homey ambiance.
The restaurant offers a few different seating options which make each visit refreshing. The bistro style entrance with small tables nestled in tightly creates a vibrant and friendly atmosphere, while the elegant marble bar offers more casual seating. Following the wrap around bar you will find a decidedly graceful and stylish room with more spacious booths and an eclectic collection of tables. The floor to ceiling windows and resplendent lighting make for a sumptuous dining experience, yet the comfortable casual nature keeps any sign of snobbery at bay. The tightly packed covered patio is comfortable and surprisingly private given its relatively busy corner location. Although the tables are close and the patio narrow, service only suffers to a minor degree as a result of the difficulty for the server to reach you with ease.
The servers without exception are attentive, knowledgeable and in this reviewers opinion genuine, oftentimes creating an even more fun atmosphere than the one which began. It should be noted however that during busy weekend evenings there is an inclination to rushing which suggests they are sometimes potentially understaffed.
Although typically busy at most times of service due to its great popularity, (reservations HIGHLY recommended) lunchtime is slightly less frenetic and loud. Evening dining while still fun and more importantly still delicious, is less relaxed than daytime.
The menu offers the expected traditional Italian classics along with some very pleasant surprises. The antipasto runs the gamut from eggplant parmigiana and fried calamari (both heaven sent) to fresh fig with niagara prosciutto and a panzanella worth ordering again and again. The antipasto menu offers a sufficiently broad variety satisfying anything you may be craving.
After having sampled every single salad on the menu, I can say with all honesty that they most certainly know what they are doing in the dressing department, never over dressed, which can kill delicate leaves and yet with just enough to elevate their creatively and artfully chosen ingredients, allowing the locally procured produce to be the main attraction. Some personal favourites are the Bisteca di Manzo which is a NY striploin with arugula and Reggiano cheese and the Funghi Trifolati, a truly sublime offering of oyster mushrooms, bread crumbs, asiago and arugula. I have been known to order both and call it a day. The Barbabietole (golden beets arugula goat cheese and pine nuts) also comes highly recommended. While there is a noticeable fondness for arugula on the menu there are also plenty of other options if that’s not your thing.
The focaccia which is made in house every morning is served three ways, as well as arriving with the assortment of complimentary breads. An array of cured Italian meats and cheeses prove the owners hold firmly to their roots of serving up some of the best presented Italian classics in the city.
There is a choice of 10 of each from the pasta or pizza menus with the pasta including a risotto as well as a gnocchi. The pizzas are served up thin crust with toppings both traditional and unusual. All are delicious, and without exception highly recommended. My personal favourite is their Bianca which features mushrooms and truffle oil. This one leaves me speechless EVERY.SINGLE.TIME.
The pastas are solid, but not up to level of excellence they prove time and again with the rest of the menu. This hit and miss on the pastas directly coincides with the exceptionally busy times causing me to believe that the kitchen is overloaded rather than an actual lack of skill in this area. Further the pasta portions are perhaps slightly larger than truly necessary, which depending on your desires may be just the thing, or in my case a step too far.
The wine menu does not disappoint. It offers a decent selection of reasonably priced by the glass and a largish choice of by the bottle, many quite reasonable, up to and including the insanely expensive should you feel so inclined. Overall the menu for both food and booze is just the right size with enough to keep people coming back but not so large as to be overwhelming.
Capocacchia took off in 2004 with a bang and is still going strong. It remains an iconic, not-to- be-missed spot. A perfect balance of class and sass.
The overall average rating was: 3.25
This is how they ranked:
Atmosphere – 4.25
Service – 3.75
Food source –3.5 (seasonally)
Taste – 4
Cost – 2.75
Vibe: The place you’re quite likely going to see someone famous… sitting beside the guy who’s
here for lunch every day… who may or may not also be famous… and where you will ALWAYS
be treated as though you are famous.
Stacia Carlton is a culinary school graduate and food writer with a passion for all types of Mediterranean food done right. You can find her weekly at www.bestillandeat.com