Fav Spots in Mississauga: Piatto Bistro
Many moons ago, I wrote for a foodservice trade publication and learned, over the course of my tenure there, that opening -- and sustaining -- a restaurant is incredibly difficult. In fact, a startling number of first-time restaurateurs (and even seasoned ones) close their establishment's doors shortly after opening.
So it's no surprise that some of the best restaurants are the ones that have stood the test of time and weathered economic storms and upheavals in food and restaurant culture. A long-standing upscale Sauga gem that's been loyally serving diners since 1989 is Piatto Bistro, a picturesque fine dining resto on the ground floor of an old-style house-turned-spa at the corner of Dundas and Mississauga Road.
The food and service are special. If they weren't -- or if they were merely adequate -- I would not pick Piatto as one of my Fav Spots insauga. The menu, which contains some mainstays that pre-date the arrival of new-ish (he joined the Piatto team late last year) Argentina-born Italian chef Abramo Tonelli, features classic European-inspired dishes that feature hearty red meats, rich pastas, seafood and mushrooms.
Lots and lots of mushrooms.
In fact, the resto proudly displays framed pictures of mushrooms and features them in many of its signature dishes, including the Risotto Al Funghi ($19.50), the linguine ($17.75) and the Veal Scaloppine Al Funghi ($23.75). Piatto has also the BEST Insalata Caprese (which used to be an occasional blackboard special - $12.75) with mozzarella di bufala that has a slightly bendy semi-rind and super soft center. It tastes really, really good with lots of olive oil. And you know what else tastes good with olive oil? Complimentary corn bread!
Speaking of mushrooms, they even have a special mushroom week (this year's ran from May 14-24)! They also offer seasonal prix fixe tasting menus that feature local and seasonal ingredients -- perfect for the less affluent/curious costumer or Sauga food tourist.
But food aside, there's something special about the service. Something uniquely warm about it.
I don't remember how old I was when I first ate there, but I was likely under 10. I probably had spaghetti and meatballs and didn't eat the meatballs. I was most certainly with my parents and grandparents (because what sane parents take picky-eating children to a nice resto just 'cuz?) and it was most likely a function -- a birthday, most likely.
All the staff there, from co-owners Tom and Sandro (Sandro has since retired) to fun and charismatic waiters Jason and Alex, have always been incredibly warm, funny and welcoming. They ask about your job and family as they walk you through the extensive wine selection. They tell you look beautiful (even if you really don't) and shower you with adorable compliments (even if your outfit isn't really that great and your hair has seen better days).
Alex, a waiter who's been there for years, even came to my grandmother's funeral in 2009.
Over the years, as my palate evolved and I came to crave the (now long gone, sadly) gnocchi gorgonzola (RIP), I looked forward to every work Christmas party and family birthday that took place there. I remember turning 19 and being pumped to order a chocolate martini at a ~*fancy*~ restaurant. I also remember drinking two occasion-inappropriate Long Island iced teas at the 2011 Christmas party and regretting pairing them with my beloved gnocchi (though both were excellent on their own, so no complaints).
I remember taking a very old friend (as in someone I've been friends with for awhile, not someone who is literally old) there to celebrate her upcoming nuptials last spring and watching, with incredible happiness that she was enjoying "my" special occasion hot spot, her marvel over the exceptional variety of vino.
I also remember going there with two friends before Christmas last year, feeling far richer than I was (and am) because I was enjoying a gorgeous meal with friends with no parents or grandparents in tow.
I had a seafood croquette, an incredible blackboard special with an expertly whipped and creamy potato garnish.
I did not have aLong Islandiced tea. I also don't drink chocolate martinis anymore.
And while I miss the gnocchi gorgonzola every time I glance down at the simple one-page beige paper menu, I'm still excited for everything else the hard working kitchen has to offer.
And really - the wine selection is something to behold!
To check out Piatto for yourself, visit them or their website: http://www.piatto.ca/index.html