“Isn’t that where the cool kids are going?” Marcelle asked me when I told her that my husband and I were going to Scarpetta for dinner with friends for a little pre-holiday celebrating.
I am a lot of things but cool is an adjective that does not come to mind to describe me. Or, for that matter, my husband. But when friends invited us to join them for dinner at one of Toronto’s newer hot spots, I jumped at the chance to wear heels and lipstick. One can only live in yoga pants and sweatshirts for so long.
The newly opened Thompson Hotel in Toronto houses the first international outpost of “chefelbrity” Scott Conant’s Scarpetta. It’s easily accessible via public transit but if riding the Rocket is not for you, cabbies galore troll the streets eager for your business.
To enter Scarpetta one must first weave their way through the hotel lobby. The lobby bar provides all sorts of delicious eye candy for those who love to people watch. It’s been awhile since I have eaten anywhere there’s a scene (unless you count three-year-olds tantruming over spilled chocolate milk) and was instantly schooled by the sartorialists as to what is fashionable now. Thank-you to my skinny jeans and black blazer for pulling through once again.
Two massive doors create a soundproof barrier from the thirty-somethings looking to hook-up and those looking for an intimate dining experience. The dark wood and soft lighting make for a chic but cozy setting. I love that the banquets include large round tables and they are spread out so you actually have to make an effort to eavesdrop on the conversation at the next table. I doubt that there are any highchairs available here and furthermore I hope not to see one on my adult-only dinner night out.
The friendly server reviewed the menu and made mention of the daily specials. Hearing that the pastas are what the chef is known for, we opted for a three-course meal. But after a series of shared appetizers (not even crumbs were left behind) and our first course of pasta, all four of us decided to forgo the mains and do another round of pasta. My favourites included the homemade spaghetti and the agnolotti da plin (meat, fonduta and parmigiano). I never would have thought the spaghetti would live up to, let alone supersede its reputation. The agnolotti was perfection – little explosions of yumminess.
A fabulous food blog that dishes yummy recipes and excellent restaurant reviews has inspired me to take note of washrooms. A good friend and bar owner once told me that you can judge a lot about a restaurant on the cleanliness of their toilet facilities. Scarpetta’s ladies washroom is spacious and impeccably clean. There are many stalls to choose from so the likelihood of having to wait in line is slim – which is a good thing after consuming a couple bottles of wine (not by myself!) and a signature cocktail. The wall-mounted sconces provide just enough light to re-apply lipstick but not too much to scare the hell out you after a few drinks, leading you to wonder a: why has no one told me that I actually look like this? And b: is Botox really that bad for me?
But perhaps my favourite thing about the restrooms is that they are on the main floor! And anyone who frequents restaurants in large cities knows that washrooms are usually accessible only after successfully completing The Gauntlet of Death (also known as The Incredibly Dimly Lit, Very Narrow, Steep Staircase to the hollows of the building).
In case that it is not clear, I am no restaurant critic or foodie reviewer but simply offering a suggestion for a date with your partner or an all-nighter with your girlfriends. If you are looking for reviews on this restaurant I would suggest looking here or here.
A few months ago, I posted a stat about how divorce rates increase with each subsequent child. A night out or a weekend away may seem like a hassle to arrange and not worth the cost but I am guessing that it’s less than a divorce. Winterlicious is coming up so take advantage of the great restaurant deals!
Prefer to have date night in? Check out Scott Conant’s recipes on-line here.