When you think Italian cuisine, commonly pizza, pasta and red wine are the first things to come to mind. Through the years, I’ve come to recognize that Italy, while a relatively small country, is broken down into very specific regions and those regions each carry their own traditions and culinary expertise. Most of the restaurants we see here draw inspiration from various regions to create a diverse menu.
Ufficio on Dundas, just west of Ossington, is an Italian pescatarian restaurant. I find that fish and seafood can be challenging to do well, without losing the flavour and texture. Ufficio is achieving and elevating both. This had been one of my bucket list restaurants in the city after hearing on numerous occasions how great the meal and experience was. I finally squeezed it in on a Sunday evening before the dinner rush, so I really had the chance to absorb the space and enjoy the food (and a couple cocktails).
The tuna crudo was a killer way to start the meal. Delicate, thinly sliced tuna, poached in olive oil; a traditional preparation technique that is rare to find these days. It was light and buttery, exactly how a crudo should be.
If you have a love for fresh, creamy buratta cheese, you must order. Paired with carrot puree, sunflower & pumpkin seeds and wildflower honey, it’s a beautiful balance of salty, creamy and sweetness.
The pulpo alla griglia is phenomenal. I am very selective with the way octopus tastes, as it can be challenging to perfect. Ufficio braises and grills theirs to absolute perfection. It comes atop, in my opinion, the best squid ink risotto. Another ingredient that can be finicky to work with, I’ve had several squid ink mishaps, this one was without a doubt, a win.
What’s an Italian restaurant without a pasta dish or two? They offer a daily special and a spaghetti gambini with a light pomodoro sauce and prawns. They offer a substitution for gluten-free spaghetti or penne (and they use one of my favourite brands, Garofalo). The pasta is cooked al dente. It’s such a simple dish, but it’s another knockout for my guest and I.
If you fancy some greens, look no further than the brussels sprouts. Trust me! They’re roasted with chiles, almonds and parm on top.
For those with a sweet tooth, or not, I encourage you to try the chocolate raspberry mousse. It’s the perfect way to round-out this meal. And this is coming from someone who doesn’t love dessert!
Ufficio is located at 1214 Dundas St. W.