Photogenic floor tiles, marble tables, beautiful décor, attentive service, and impeccable food – I think I died and went to foodie heaven! Although technically a fine dining Italian pescatarian restaurant, if you are a carnivore, you will not miss the meat at Ufficio.
Taking up shop in the Little Portugal neighbourhood of Toronto since January of this year, this place had been on my list for a while. But I was initially most interested in going for brunch (all you other bloggers and Instagrammers understand the struggle for good lighting 😉 ). After stalking their website for a bit, I made a reso for the Sunday in March when brunch was supposed to begin. But I got a call from one of the owners a few days later, who was kind enough to inform me that their brunch service was going to be delayed for another few weeks, and at the same time, she personally invited me in for an early dinner on a Saturday instead (FYI, Ufficio’s brunch is now officially available on Sundays).
On arrival, we were impressed by the light and airy, contemporary design of the space. We were greeted by the well put together Jen Coburn (part owner), and an immaculate marble table in the front window was waiting for us.
The manager, Jonathan, then came over and gave us the most comprehensive explanation of every single dish on the menu with the perfect Italian pronunciation (extra points!). My fiancé and I were more than happy to let Jonathan guide us with our selections, as we are not picky eaters, and when I go to a restaurant for a feature, I prefer to let the people at the restaurant showcase their favourite items.
We started with the conserva di tonno (tuna crudo, $14). The overall presentation and accents of colour from the radish, shaved celery, tuna, and tuna roe made this dish almost too pretty to eat!
The poached tuna had a wonderful, meaty consistency and we especially loved the crème fraiche and the thinly shaved fingerling potato chips that were gently positioned on top. The roe did not have a fishy flavour, but were instead like little pieces of grainy mustard popping in our mouths.
The Ontario burrata ($16) came next with a serving of rosemary & garlic focaccia ($2/$3).
I pierced through the outer skin to allow the creamy chunks on the inside ooze out.
If there is such a thing as burrata porn, then this dish exemplified it! The cheese couldn’t have been any fresher. When mixed with the candied pistachio (pi-sta-kio, thanks Jonathan!) and sea salt sprinkled on top, and eaten on top of the grilled focaccia, it was a totally balanced bite. I’m drooling as I write this review!
For pasta, we opted for the porcini agnolotti ($21).
This was such a decadent dish. It was literally served in a pool of olive oil and shaved parmigiano-reggiano goodness with a hint of truffle. When we bit into the al dente agnolotti, the flavourful filling came rushing out. So devine!
Alex decided on the polpo alla griglia (grilled octopus, $27) for his main, and it was going to be the trota scotato (seared Ontario trout, $24) for me. As for sides, we selected the cavolfiore arrosto (roasted cauliflower, $10).
I normally don’t eat octopus (I find the tentacles gross), but I thought I would give it a try, for research purposes ;). I’m probably not the best judge of octopus because I was hung up on the consistency, which threw me off. However, Alex really liked this dish and quickly devoured the whole thing.
The skin on the outside of the trout was seared to perfection and the fish, itself, was flaky and delish. I loved the lentils, grilled scallions, and crème fraiche served with the trout as well.
The roasted cauliflower was my least favourite dish. It wasn’t bad; I just thought it was too fussy, as there were so many different textures and flavours (including nuts and grapes), which I thought were unnecessary. As for drinks, we stuck with the sparkling water and decided to pass on the alcohol. So, we unfortunately did not get to sample anything from their cocktail menu, which I’ve heard great things about – we’ll have to save that for the next time.
I can’t tell you how much Alex and I truly enjoyed our meal and were impressed by Ufficio. Anyone who appreciates good ambience, excellent service, and amazing food with an emphasis on fresh ingredients and responsibly harvested seafood should definitely give this place a try!