There’s no question as to why Italian food is so highly revered. With all the pizza, pasta, seafood and sauces, what’s not to love? Perhaps, the widespread love for these dishes is why they can be found on almost any menu – Italian or not. While it’s hard to go wrong when it comes to Italian food (even when pizza’s bad, it’s still pretty good), authentic pasta restaurants are simply a cut above the rest. So, how do you tell the difference between the best Italian restaurants in Ottawa and your average Joe’s? Here are a few key ‘ingredients’ that go into the making of a truly great pasta restaurant:
It can be said that a great dough is ‘la fondazione’ (the foundation) to a great dish, especially when it comes to pasta and pizza. This is one of the first ways to detect if you are dining at one of the best Italian restaurants in Ottawa; a true pasta restaurant uses only fresh, homemade and hand tossed dough.
Another fundamental part of almost any Italian dish is undoubtedly the sauce. At a pasta restaurant, you’ll usually find a selection of sauces, the usual suspects include: tomato based, cream based and oil based sauces. Different sauces actually have different functions, i.e. thicker sauces are best when paired with ridged pastas, while oil based sauces are great paired with whole pastas, such as spaghetti. Whatever sauce you decide to indulge in, if you’re eating in one of the best Italian restaurants in Ottawa, you can be sure that it’s homemade – leave the cans and jars for jam!
Made to order
An ‘al memento’ cooking philosophy, means dishes are only created when you order them. No heating trays. Nothing frozen. Simply put: fresh food, freshly made.
If the dough is hand tossed and the sauce is homemade, naturally the next step would be to finish off a dish with only fresh and seasonal ingredients. Fresh ingredients are easily identified by their crisp appearance and taste. They’re also a good indication of whether you are dining an authentic pasta restaurant or not.
Next time you’re going for Italian food, embrace the essence of Italian cooking: homemade, handmade, fresh, seasonal and ‘al memento’. Spotting the best Italian restaurants in Ottawa is easy if you keep these things in mind. And of course, don’t forget the best pairing with a great dinner is great company!