Last Friday evening in Regina we dined at a small trattoria on Scarth Street mall, just south of Cornwall Centre. We dined alone as the bustling Friday night after work crowds raced past its doors and jammed themselves into Beer Boys pub a few doors down. I am sure the fare at Beer Boys is great, but I am so happy we chose instead to dine at the trattoria.
The trattoria used to be an East Indian restaurant that was fairly decent and we were sorry when it closed down a couple of years ago. Interestingly the new Italian trattoria features large Bollywood posters in its windows. Hmmmm.....maybe something unusual going on inside its doors.
The restaurant is run by a Sikh family who lived in Italy for over 15 years and picked up some rather decent Italian cooking skills. Listening to the server describe some of the menu items in perfect Italian with an overlay of accent from her home country of India was a musical experience, very beautiful. The servers and the manager were so polite and attentive it was quite a treat. Perhaps because we were the only customers at the time we received better service than usual, but I suspect that is not the case.
The pastas are home made, as are the delicious breads with soft insides and just the right amount of crusty chewiness on the outside. My pasta was perfectly al dente, the sauce on my chicken limone was light but with sufficient slices of fresh lemon that I could add a touch more citrusy sourness if I wanted to. It was a treat to have broccoli and carrots perfectly cooked. In restaurants I sometimes find it is a guessing game as to which of the two common choices of cooked vegetables I am about to receive: tooth breakingly undercooked or mush?
My husband's gnocci was delicious as well, home made, baked slightly in a spicy tomato sauce after a prettily plated tomato and bocconcini salad. The house white wine, while not the best quality, washed down our meals very nicely. An introduction to a decent wine importer (and we do know one of those in the area) is all the place needs to improve its menu.
The ethnicity of the proprietors was in evidence despite the authenticity of most of the food. Buried in my very Italian noodles were little pods of hot red peppers, my husband's gnocci had an under flavour of coriander much stronger than expected. The background music emanating from the kitchen was definitely anchored by sitars and Indian language lyrics. We paid our bill to the owner who sported his turban proudly and told us of a second trattoria he owns in the city, over on Hamilton Street.
Hopefully the restaurant is far busier at noon hour than it was on this particular Friday evening as the food and service were excellent. If it suffers from anything at all perhaps that would be a case of terminal cuteness, (unless it is simply that I have been too long removed from decent restaurants with proper service and decor appropriate to the country of the food's origin), but it is a warm and welcoming cuteness that doesn't cross the line into cutesy.
Yes, I would go there again. I would enjoy a visit to the second restaurant as well to see what else is served by this fascinating family.