Cafe + Bar + Pasta Winter Menu Review

We went for the pasta, naturally. After having not eaten the whole day in anticipation of the tasting, we couldn’t wait to get our grubby paws on some housemade pasta prepped with only the freshest of ingredients. We were at Cafe + Bar + Pasta (1588 Dundas Street W), of course, and we were in for a quick-as-can-be tasting. (Perfect for the on-the-go young professional reviewer!) 

The Dundas West restaurant is small. (Intimate would likely be the term used by a veteran real estate agent.) But it’s been set up in a way that still merits specialized dining experiences. Think communal table near the open kitchen, and a downstairs private room. 

Cafe + Bar + Pasta’s interior is in line with Toronto aesthetic, and yet it stands out from the pack thanks to white-painted brick as opposed to simply exposed, with darling bandana napkins, and a vibrant cherry red whoosh of colour adorning the back main dining room wall. 

The cocktail list is a bit creative. We sipped the tequila + habanero concoction quickly, hoping to get heated up from the frigid winds outside. We slurped the parsnip soup with pleasing aplomb – one of the best creamy cups we’ve had in a while. We opted for the homemade meatballs in lieu of the Caesar shot… meat beats greens any day of the week. (Sorry vegans!) And the two tartars, orata (sea bream) and ostrich, completed our tour of appetizers, prepping us for the pastas… 

We were treated to four types of pasta at Cafe + Bar + Pasta’s winter menu tasting. The Bucatini Amatriciana was simplistic but delicious. The Rigatoni with shredded duck leg confit, chanterelles, and five-spice corn creme was divine. The Tagliatelle Carbonara sans cream was an interesting and still creamy take on the classic dish. The one misstep? The braised short rib, truffle paste, and “burnt” orange Ravioli. While we applaud the creativity, we were missing a balanced flavour profile. (We’re thinking some shallots or scallions might help fix the dish.) 

Desserts were served, but we barely remember them. The Rigatoni stayed in our minds all night long. And Cafe + Bar + Pasta will stay on our tongues for weeks to come…