That is, until recently. A slew of trendy restaurants have opened in the Aura building, making it the newest gathering ground for 9-5ers and foodies. As of February 2014, the newest kid on the block is Scaddabush – a 6500 square foot trattoria that serves zesty Italian fare with fresh ingredients.
Entering the restaurant, Scaddabush achieves a rustic ambiance with long harvest tables, candelabras, and industrial light bulbs for decor. The portions are hefty and filling, with more than enough to go around the table. In true Italian tradition, Scaddabush incorporates fresh ingredients into the menu: pasta and mozzarella cheese are made fresh in house daily. Executive Chef Steve Silvestro Chef strives to create a “kitchen table” experience that encourages patrons to split dishes.
“It’s all about sharing and generosity,” our waiter tells us, setting down a giant plate of bruschetta.
At Scaddabush, the family-style dining arrangement and quirky decor promotes kinship. Family and friends are thrown together at long communal tables, crowded with conversation, wine, and hearty foods. But for a more intimate experience, sit on bar stools at elevated tables while enjoying an elaborate cocktail (or two).
To kick off the feast, sample a series of “sociables” to warm up your tongue, starting with the Calarami Fritti ($11) – crisp pieces of fried squid dusted with seasoned flour and drizzled in lemon juice. These won’t last long, so dig into the Buratta cheese ($12) – a fresh mozzarella infused with honey and truffle oil, served on a crispy baguette.
Made with angus beef, each eight ounce meatball is stuffed with ricotta cheese, parsley, and for some renditions, pepperoni. Then the meatballs are marinated in garlic, mushrooms, and olive oil, and simmered in the Chef’s special “Sunday sauce.” The chefs prepare two signature meatballs every day, so check the Specials Board. This is one of the rare times when you can exclaim “I really love your balls” in public without retribution.
Pasta is made fresh on site and the choices are plentiful. The Pesto Pollo ($14) delights – fresh fettuccine mixed with sautéed chicken, baby spinach, semi sun-dried tomatoes in a basil pesto cream sauce.
The pizza has a tangy tomato sauce with an array of meat and vegetarian ingredients that satisfy rumbling bellies. Of course, fresh mozzarella is featured in most dishes and will excite foodies.
The Zucca pasta ($14) gets a standing ovation for blending sweet and savoury flavours. Sprinkled with grated Grana Padano cheese, each ravioli is stuffed with roasted butternut squash and fried sage. The pasta is served in a light hazelnut butter cream sauce that leaves patrons swooning.
If we could change one thing:
Traditionally, Italians ended dinner with fruit rather than sweets. It’s only been recently that tiramisu – translating as “pick me up” – has been Americanized and has dominated the dessert menu. Scaddabush follows suit with a hefty tiramisu cake ($7) that’s creamy and cleanses the palate; but the strong coffee flavour overpowers. Adding a fruit tray to the menu would befit the sharing experience of Scaddabush and give a nod to Old World Italian cuisine.
Scaddabush achieves “country modern” with its gorgeous space, and offers an extensive menu of Italian cuisine with zippy flavours. It’s an ideal pick for a post-work dinner or to celebrate a special occasion. A word of warning: the dishes are heavy, so bring a voracious appetite.
Scaddabush Italian Bar & Kitchen
382 Yonge Street Unit #7 (Corner of Yonge & Gerrard)
Sunday to Wednesday: 11:00am to 1:00am
Thursday to Saturday: 11:00am to 2:00am
The writer was a guest of the restaurant. They did not review or approve this article.