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Monday 22 April 2013

Massimo’s Cucina Italiana, Edmonton, AB – inviting Italian menu and amazing tiramisu

Massimo’s been open for a little while – by none other than the Spinellis, the same Italian family that introduced Edmonton to the delicacies and tasty things that defines Italian with their city wide Italian Markets. Located right by their newer south Edmonton Italian Market location, Massimo is named after the youngest of three generations of Spinellis, we went for a dinner with simplistic and hip décor, friendly service, and traditional favorites on the menu.
There’s a fair selection for wine, but we went with some pomello Pellegrino instead (think Chinese grapefruit that’s not sour) as we were driving, and our friendly waiter brought out some fresh hot flatbread and sliced bread while we mulled over the menu. The aged balsamic vinegar and olive oil was nice, but the flatbread stole the show.

Crispy on the outside, a hint of olive oil and salt, tender interior with just a hint of smokiness… simple and delicious!! We made the flatbread disappear like magic and our waiter got us another freshly baked batch with a chuckle (its his fav too). If they make their thin crust pizzas with a simular flatbread base… it is a must head back to try!!

We shared the Parma ham with Fior di latte and crisp focaccia. The focaccia turned out to be more of the flatbread (no complaints here!) paired with some thinly sliced ham that had a nice sweetness that paired well with slices of Fior di latte (translation: fresh cow’s milk mozzerella) dusted with a touch of white pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. And if you’re thinking – “this is so simple and delicious, I can totally make this at home!” – this is encouraged by the staff as you can just mosey over to the Italian Market and pick up whatever ingredients for whatever Italian culinary creation you dream of creating (or recreating!)... the only thing that kept me from running over next door to pick some up was the next course on the table lol!

My boyfriend gave the gnocchi with prawns and pesto a whirl. The gnocchi was probably the closest to homemade gnocchi I’ve had in a while – it was just shy of the ethereal cloudlike texture we love as it was made with a slight al dente give to it. It was tossed in a slightly spicy tomato based pesto – a nice change to the usual basil-garlic- nuts-olive oil renditions. The pesto was subtle and could have used a deeper depth of flavor as once you bit into the succulent savory crisp prawns, the prawns unfortunately completely eclipsed the gnocchi that then tasted bland in comparison.

We were completely charmed (we’re easily amused ok?) by this cute parmasean cheese container.. shaped to look like, well, a wheel of parm! Turns out you can pick this up from the original Italian Market location, and not the one next door (as the original location is larger and can carry more stock). And for parm lovers – the bowl is left at your table, so you can load up with real, pungent parm to your hearts desire. (and chili flakes too lol!)

I had the special as my entrée: Lamb chops in olive oil, jus with garlic vegetables and mashed potatoes. The lamb was mildly gamey, but cooked to an tender melt in your mouth rare.

Using baby lamb, or a bigger hit in the fresh rosemary/fresh herbs department would have helped knock the gaminess and this dish out of the park. Mashed potatos were creamy, gently seasoned and not overwhipped (yah!), and veges nicely redolent in garlic and tender crisp.

And for dessert, we were pretty full, but had to make room for the Tiramisu. And what an amazing tiramisu it was! A creamy super indulgent lightly sweetened mascarpone cream cheese layer nearly an inch thick crowns a layer of crumbled espresso soaked lady fingers with just a hint of liquor resting on top of another layer of mascarpone cream cheese amazingness. Its dusted lightly with dark cocoa powder and plated with a little chocolate stick and raspberry? coulis decorative swirls. The tiramisu is super rich and an indulgent end to our meal… we had to sit and digest for a while in a food coma before we could roll out the door lol!

Warm welcoming staff, simple yet well made Italian fare and amazing tiramisu any discerning Italian nonna (grandma) would approve of makes Massimo a go to for authentic Italian!

Massimo’s Cucina Italiana
Address 5012-104A St. Edmonton, AB T6H0K5
Phone (780) 439-4869
Hours Lunch 11:30am-2pm, Dinner 5:30pm-9pm Closed Sundays and Mondays
Massimo's Cucina Italiana on Urbanspoon

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Ernie Iceman said...

Did the food actually have flavour? Too often I find in Alberta the food is extremely bland, boarding on cardboard. Have yet to taste a single pasta dish in the city that made me want to try a second bite. said...

From only trying one pasta, I don't think its fair to label all the pastas they make at Massimo's. The sauce was flavorful - it was subtle but not in your face spicy/salty/herby... but the super flavorful prawns stole the show

Have you given Scilican Pasta Kitchen, Nello's, Picollino's, Oliveto Trattoria, or Violino's a try? They all have varying sizes (though all typically large since it is Italian pasta here), and are executed well. Ragazzi's good for their baked pastas, soprano bread and thin crust pizzas, though thier reg pastas didn't impress.

Oher than the restaurants above that we've tried so far, you may just have to whip up your own scratch sauces and pastas at home.. its nice when you dont' have to make it yourself though!

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