My wife and I enjoyed a late afternoon meal today at L'Espresso. This is the second time that we have visited and the first time that I have done a review.
Greeting: we arrived about 3:45pm and were seated promptly. The restaurant was about 50% full and was alive and bustling.
Waitress: the young lady arrived shortly after we were seated with a big smile, menus and an offer of beverages. She continued to provide very good service throughout the meal. (see note below on the "hand off").
Food and Beverage: Both my wife and I selected a cappuccino and along with these we received a glass of ice water, which was appreciated. I ordered the "Crab Stuffed Ravioli" with asparagus and mushrooms done in a creamy tomato sauce infused with truffle oil. The sauce was very good and overall flavour chemistry was great however the ravioli was only lukewarm. A minor issue but took away from the enjoyment of the dish. The portion size was small, but sufficient for lunch however no bread was provided and this dish would have benefitted from its inclusion. My wife ordered the "Frittata with Goats Cheese" which included sides of roasted herb potatoes and arugula salad along with toasted slices of garlic french stick. I tried a small portion of the Frittata and found the taste pleasant, my wife was very happy with her selection. The goats cheese on the Frittata was particularly pleasing for her.
Presentation: No garnish on the Ravioli at all, the Frittata with all its side dishes did not require this. Overall fine but needs more attention to detail.
Value: at $16.50 and $14.00 respectively our food was not over priced but neither did it represent good value. Considering the restaurants location at Bloor and St. George the prices were acceptable.
Counter Service/Cashier: Staffed by a young woman who was very pleasant but who at times seemed to be struggling with keeping things organized. We received everything that we requested but it all came together slowly in a little bit of a hap hazard manner.
The Hand off: because of our arrival time we were in the restaurant during a staff change. Our waitress continued to provide service until about 4:30, asked if we wanted dessert, promised to come back and get our order and then vanished. The new staff arrived, although it took a moment to recognize what was happening, our new waitress cleared our table and seemed to think that we were done and had paid. We had planned on taking our dessert to go and so after a few minutes we went to the counter ordered our dessert and paid for both lunch and dessert. No major problem but again a little disorganized.
Cleanliness and Condition: Overall the restaurant is in good condition but is showing signs of wear and tear. My chair had a broken back stay (vertical support), we were given dated (dingy looking) mismatched water glasses and the use of Via Rail embossed espresso spoons all contributed to a sense that the restaurant may be struggling. Nothing really significant that is screaming at you but several small things.
We will probably go again at some point as the experience was fine. It is the location close to Innis and University Colleges which makes it a convenient place for us to enjoy a light meal.
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