Celli’s Osteria

Celli's Osteria

Great food is served best with great company. I had the pleasure of enjoying both during my recent visit to Celli’s Osteria in Burlington.

There is something to be said when you put 6 food bloggers together at a dinner table.Food is talked about, food is eaten, the next time to get together and eat and talk about food is decided and planned.  Oh and food is photographed. Your plate, the plate across the table, the plate beside you. Nothing is left uncaptured.

What brought us all together?  Well a combination of things.  Four of us initially met up at the Taste of Burlington launch, a  event showcasing the restaurants participating in its upcoming culinary season. A discussion about which restaurants we may try followed and from it sprang a potential Food Bloggers of Canada mini reunion.  A restaurant was picked, a date was decided and a call to other Toronto area food bloggers went out.

Celli’s Osteria was my first choice when deciding where we should all gather.  During the launch party I had a great conversation with  their staff  how they felt about food bloggers coming to their restaurant, taking photos, talking to the chef and reviewing their food.  I asked that question to most of the restaurants there that night and much like Celli’s they made it clear that we were entirely welcomed and in fact encouraged us to pay them a visit.  It was heartening to see a group of food industry veterans appreciating and validating what we do as food writers.

Finding a date and time that would work for all four of us was surprisingly simple.  Who knew we were so accomandating and flexible? So on a clear, warm Monday evening we all came together to enjoy some great Italian food and outstanding company.

Celli’s Osteria prides itself on serving rustic Italian food with a modern twist while keeping true to using locally sourced ingredients.  Their main menu offers up classics dishes from calamari and mushroom risotto to more adventurous plates of braised rabbit and roasted sea bass.  But given the context that brought us all out I stuck to the Prix Fixe Taste of Burlington Menu.

Fried Fiore di Latte Cheese

Translated crudely into milk’s flower, this appetizer was a simple breaded cow’s milk cheese, deep fried and served with marinara, basil and giant parmesan shavings.  While the marinara was not as  chunky as advertised it was probably one of my favorite aspects to this dish. I lean towards more cream or rose sauces since tomato based sauces have a very hard time pleasing my taste buds.  The majority I try are usually sweet and overly seasoned while I prefer a more robust and deep flavour.  This sauce was just where my palate wanted it.  Not too powerful, just enough to bring out the basil but sutble enough that the creamy flavour of the cow’s milk is still in evidence.  And may I add that each petal of cheese was perfectly crisp.

Fried Fiore de Latte Cheese from The Tasty Gardener

Other appetizer options included a shaved fennel and citrus salad with sunflower seeds and crispy prosciutto or this classic, incredibly fresh looking red and yellow tomato bruschetta.
Bruschetta

Veal Scallopini al limone

On most occasions when I dine out at a new restaurant I like to pick main dishes with ingredients that I don’t eat or cook regularily.  Veal is one thing I rarely consume yet each time I always wonder why I don’t since it’s  so enjoyable.  The veal in this dish was fork tender, melt in your mouth delicious.  The “al limone” had me to believe it would be done in a lemon sauce however all I could taste was the carmalized onion reduction.  It was very delicious and worked well with the veal but a slight disappointment when you are expecting more tartness.  It was served with fingerling potatoes and exquisitely cooked asparagus.  While it seems minor how a chef cooks out of season vegetables really showcases their knowledge of  ingredients.

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Since there were six of us that evening and five were ordering from the fixed menu it was almost a sure bet that each entree would be ordered.  The other options included this simple pasta dish tossed with summer vegetables, parmasan, basil, garlic and oil. I love the generous shavings of cheese.

Spaghetti aglio olio

And a roasted rainbow trout with almonds, capers, asparagus and fingerling potatoes.

Roasted Rainbow Trout Flourless Walnut and Chocolate Cake

Served with a tangy whipped ricotta and sweet chunks of walnut praline, this dessert ruled with the majority.  Similar to a moist, light brownie this cake didn’t knock you down on the chocolate factor and was a perfect end to a delish meal.  I almost wanted to order just the walnut praline they were so amazing.

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Those who decided to go with the second option were treated to Celli’s signature tiramisu with blueberry compote.

Tiramisu with blueberry compote

Let me also mention that like all good Italian restaurants bread and olive oil for dipping were offered the minute everyone had sat down and was replenished without any hestitation from the staff when asked.  To set themselves apart from other restaurants the olive oil had big chunks of roasted garlic and sprigs of rosemary in the bowl that we were all fighting over to get a taste.

With each course being moderately sized and the time between courses reasonable I finished my meal neither famished or stuffed, just perfectly sated. Being a Monday night the restaurant was fairly empty and we pretty much had the staff  to ourselves (which meant my water glass was always full, a bonus). Though serving 6 slightly critical and incredibly boisterous food bloggers can never be an easy task.   As I said in the beginning the food was as great as the company and since we are all in agreement that we want to spend more evenings dining together like that it’s also fair to say we would all come back to Celli’s Osteria again in the future.

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Comments

  1. As great as the food was, the company was even better! Looking forward to making this a regular thing!
  2. Looks like you enjoyed a lovely meal. I always ask if I can take photographs - never use a flash and then do with whatever I want on my website. To be honest, I don't write about local restaurants. I do reviews when I travel, but there are enough people locally that do the restaurant reviews, and I don't eat out enough to make it a part of my website work... so it is really a mute point for me - however, I also would never post anything negative about a local eatery. That is just me. Others get paid to do that. If I go to eat, it is for pleasure. If I want to share my joy - I will... but, I don't feel good about sharing my disappointments and that isn't what my site is for... unless, I am eating at a Michelin Star restaurant on our travels and planned to write about it - of course I will be candid. Sounds like you have a lot of fun like-minded friends to go out with and try new restaurants with. This would be a blast and I would love to do that and write about it, but just don't have that happening here now... :) V
  3. It was way too much fun. Your pics turned out great.
  4. Gorgeous shots Heather! Great food. Great fun. Great company. You can't ask for more than that. XO

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