There is nothing better in the world than the perfect pasta dish. I don’t know if it is my great-great-grandfather’s Italian blood running in my veins, or childhood memories of pasta Saturdays at home. Still, as soon as I put pasta in my mouth, I forget about all the problems in the world and only concentrate on the texture and flavours of that beautifully cooked dish.
This is why I was excited to be going to an Italian restaurant on a Friday night after a day of shopping at Square One in Mississauga. The chosen restaurant was Jamie’s Italian since it was inside the mall and I could rest my weary feet while eating some gluten and enjoying a glass of wine.
Jamie’s Italian was founded in 2008 in Oxford, England. Now, the restaurant has more than 60 different locations in 19 countries.
This wasn’t my first time in a Jamie’s Italian restaurant – I had previously been to the one in Yorkdale and another one in Brazil – so I had some high expectations since my other experiences were great.
As I stepped into the restaurant, I thought, “OK, this is my place.”
The restaurant was dark, but the right amount of darkness, in my opinion. The place wasn’t packed (maybe everyone was too busy shopping), and the food on the tables was looking fabulous. It was noisy, but not too loud at a point where it was hard to talk. And the smell … Oh god, what a delightful smell (maybe because I was extremely hungry after five hours of walking with no food in my stomach)!
When I go to restaurants, I usually don’t order appetizers to ensure I have enough space for dessert. However, when I saw they had beef carpaccio ($13.95), I had to order it. I also ordered some housemade focaccia with sun-dried tomato and olive tapenade for $5.25.
The focaccia was fantastic, although I would have liked a little more rosemary on it. The carpaccio itself was a bit tasteless – I wish there was more cheese on top of it and more balsamic and olive oil. When I put lemon on it, it got much tastier, but I still wouldn’t order this again.
After my boyfriend and I devoured this, it was time for the mains.
We ended up ordering the Spaghetti Carbonara ($19.95) and The Parma Artisan Pizza ($21.95) and split both.
The pasta was fantastic. It tasted fresh and housemade (as promised), and it was cooked for the perfect amount of time to make it al dente. The sauce was a little heavy, but it tasted like heaven. The combination and ratio of smoky pancetta, egg yolk and parmesan cheese were terrific, and I am happy I ordered this.
The pizza was also well-prepared. The crust was extremely thin (which I enjoy), and the toppings were fresh and light, which was an excellent contrast to the pasta. The only downside was the crust was a little burnt on some parts of the pizza, which I enjoy, but most people probably wouldn’t.
I have a small stomach, so I couldn’t even finish my half of the pizza – I ended up packing it to go and ate it cold later at night, which was awesome.
Because of that, I was too full for dessert.
The service was great. Nick, the server, was conversational and made us laugh a couple of times, but also made us comfortable and did not hesitate to give us suggestions when we asked for them.
It was a great night (even though after a 9 oz glass of wine, I ended up buying too many things at the mall afterward). The food was good, the atmosphere was friendly and cozy, and the service was awesome.
I wouldn’t drive for an hour to go to this restaurant (which I would do for some Italian restaurants in the Toronto area), but I would recommend it after a day of shopping, or if you live close to it.
I give it four out of five forks.
Address: Square One Shopping Centre – 100 City Centre Dr., 454 Square One Dr., Unit #2, Mississauga, Ont., L5B 2C9
Hours: Monday to Saturday, from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; | Sunday, from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Reservations: Reservations are recommended.
Wheelchair Access: Yes.
Price: Two appetizers, two mains, and a 9 oz glass of wine + tax + tip (20 per cent) = $100
Dress code: There is no dress code and the restaurant is relaxed and informal.