After enjoying numerous meals at Bertoldi’s Trattoria on Richmond Street, in London, Ontario, we were pretty excited when we found out restaurateur extraordinaire, Bob DiFruscia was opening another Italian eatery on Colonel Talbot Road in the Talbot Village plaza. We waited a couple weeks for the Dolcetto Risto team to get the opening week jitters out and paid our first visit last Friday evening. We took our chances, since we were planning on an early dinner (6:00ish) and didn’t make reservations. If we were about 15 minutes later, we were probably looking at a 30 minute or more wait for a table. The house was rocking!
Dolcetto Risto’s classy Italian bistro influenced decor is clean and modern, with neutral colours, high beamed ceilings and thick hardwood dining tables and chairs. The restaurant has a very spacious and airy feeling, with lots of natural light from the many floor to ceiling windows that open out to the outdoor patio (can’t wait until the summer!). Dolcetto features an open kitchen layout so you can watch the cook staff hopping around and tending to the various grills and the enormous pizza oven.
As mentioned, by 6:30pm, the restaurant was packed, and there was another 15 – 20 people waiting at the bar next to the entryway to be seated. So the restaurant is very loud, energetic and lively – which I actually prefer. We dine out with our 5 year old quite often, so its always nice to not have to hush any squeals or laughter with all the ambient noise. The service was brisk but friendly and attentive. Everyone really seemed to be enjoying their dining experience on this evening. Speaking of which – let’s talk about the food!
If you enjoy the food at Bertoldi’s, you will definitely like Dolcetto. The menu features classic Italian pasta dishes, meat and seafood selections like lamb shanks, steak and salmon, along with some intriguing thin crust pizza creations. We decided to start out with the house-made veal and ricotta meatballs and the fig, prosciutto and melon salad. The meatballs were melt-in-your-mouth and very tasty. And the salad was crisp and fresh and featured a mint and honey dressing that really complimented the taste of the figs and contrasted nicely with the salty prosciutto. Great start!
Ordering pizza on an initial visit to an Italian restaurant is always a good way to test their metal, and with the creative ingredients featured on the Dolcetto menu, we decided to order two of their delectable sounding pies. We went with the Capricciosa (tomato, mozzarella, mushrooms, artichokes, green olives and prosciutto) and the Orlando (mozzarella, gorgonzola, potatoes, house-made sausage and fresh rosemary). Both pizzas were delicious, with a thin crunchy, bubbly crust. We finished off our meal with a fresh and creamy cannoli that was not too sweet, but very satisfying. All dishes are moderately priced for the quality of the food. We will definitely be back, especially when the enormous patio is open for dining when the warm weather hits.
And from a branding standpoint, like Bertoldi’s, I really like the look and feel of the Dolcetto Risto brand. From their very clean and simple logo, to the branding elements on their menu (featured on their website) and in their establishment, Dolcetto has carved out their niche in the upscale casual segment and have set the stage for a very successful run in the London restaurant scene. For now, back to the cage.