I eat out a lot, but it’s mostly by accident

Hunger can strike me anywhere at a moment’s notice.  It’s at these times that I usually find great places to eat.  If you read my blog regularly (and I hope you do, or plan to in the future!) you’ll know that I was out on a doughnut reconnaissance mission a few weeks ago.  I was in Parkdale with my fresh box of Glory Hole doughnuts when hunger set in.  I suppose I could’ve eaten one of the doughnuts, but they  were scheduled for a photo shoot in my kitchen that afternoon and I wanted all the flavours to be accounted for.

As the streetcar made its way along Queen St West, it passed a slick, brightly coloured  restaurant called Piola.  I hoped off at the next stop, and headed over to check out the menu.  The menu looked great, but the daily prix-fixe menu is what caught my eye – $15.00 for a three course lunch.

The interior decor of Piola is very euro-hip, with vibrant and welcoming feel to it.  Piola is a world-wide franchise that was started in 1986 in Treviso.  It not only serves great food but regularly hosts cultural and artistic events in all it’s locations around the world.

A place where all the staff members from the hostess to the chef and cooks welcome you with a genuine feeling of hospitality, I would’ve been so disappointed if their food was sub-par, but it wasn’t.  The $15.00 lunch menu has some standard first course choices like caesar, but we opted for the caprese salad.  I mean, how could you pass up  bocconcini with the fresh tomatoes at the height of the summer and olive oil?  My lunch partner had the gnocchi with just enough sauce that you were over-filled by the dish .  Pizza crust was wonderful, crisp but not too thin or soggy and the gelato limone  for desert to cleanse the palette and refresh you.  Everything was just right and just enough.

On Monday they have mixers with reduced bar prices and value oriented pitchers of alcoholic beverages.  Although they have locations world-wide they have a significant presence in south and central America.  This is also reflected in their bar menu which has several caipirinha selections – caipirinha is the national drink of Brazil made with cachaca.  If you’re fan of mojitos, caipirinha is similar.

Get on the 501 Queen St. W car and take the scenic ride across through Parkdale, there’s some great cooking happening and the crowds will be descending on this revitalized community soon.  Get there before everyone else does, you’ll love it.

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