gracecheung604 | write on time: Anchovies and so much more at Autostrada

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Anchovies and so much more at Autostrada

When COVID-19 restrictions started lifting in late August, Autostrada was one of the first places I ventured out to try. They have two locations; Main and West Pender, both are taking reservations to observe social distancing guidelines. It was my first time at the Main St. location and I wanted to try everything!
Anchovy Toast
We started off with a few antipasti. The first one to arrive was the Anchovy on Focaccia ($12) with a few slices of pickled veg and a scattering of fresh herbs. I have always felt that anchovies are underrated as a food, but they really elevated this dish here. Meaty, salty and plentiful, the anchovies sit atop a bed of warm and crunchy focaccia, making for very satisfying starter.
If prosciutto is on the menu, chances are I will order it and this time was no different. This appetizer arrived with Cuor di Burrata ($32). Super creamy and buttery in texture, the cheese is served with just a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. There are some fresh herbs and nuts (I think they were hazelnuts?) but burrata stole the show.
Be sure to get some extra Focaccia ($7) to truly enjoy this. 
Trust me, you'll need this for the next dish!
Our final appetizer was the Polpette al Sugo ($15) made from a blend of ground beef and pork with a pomodoro sauce and some pecorino shavings. The meatballs are juicy and savory, with a nice tanginess from the sauce and a hint of saltiness from the cheese. That focaccia comes in handy here too!  
Now, I can't go to an Italian restaurant without sampling some of their pastas and they have quite a large variety here. I went for the Tagliatelle Bolognese ($23), for some traditional comfort food. The sauce tasted like it was cooked for days and had a creaminess I don't usually find in bolognese sauce. The pasta was cooked perfectly and had a nice al dente texture. The parm shavings completed the dish. Sometimes, I ask for a bit of chili flakes but I didn't see the need for it here.  
The second pasta we shared was their Ripiena ($24) which was their daily stuffed pasta. I'm not usually a fan of stuffed pastas (like ravioli or tortellini) but when the server described it, we couldn't resist it. The special was cappelletti stuffed with halibut in a spot prawn broth. It was fresh, light, seasonal and fantastic. I find that in most restaurants, if the chef makes an effort to create daily specials, it's usually worth a try. 
And yes, we actually got dessert too! As with prosciutto, if there is a lemon/lime dessert on the menu, we're getting it. This Pizzelle Limone ($7) is so pretty and delicious that it needs three photos to do it justice. The snowflake pattern is so pretty and the dusting of icing sugar made it look heavenly. Psst, I found some of these cookies at London Drugs or you can buy a pizzelle maker at Bed, Bath and Beyond for ~$60. 
Sandwiched between the three cookies are swirls of lemon crema. Light and flavourful, this was a good way to end this meal. But wait, there's more! 

Hidden in the middle was a generous serving of blueberry filling. This was a nice surprise! All in all, I'd say this was a great meal and I'll definitely be back to try our more pastas. 
They have a risotto with braised short rib that I need to try and also the garganelli with lamb ragu. Oh, and they have tiramisu too! And if you are dining alone, be sure to grab a seat at their cozy bar. 

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