Ever heard of Summerlicious? Winterlicious? They are literally Toronto foodie’s favourite events, where 200+ restaurants showcase three course prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus ranging from $20s to $50s. It is definitely a great way to check out new restaurants, especially the fancier ones that you don’t want to commit to too much for one meal when you’re unsure of how it would turn out.
Now, that, is all in Toronto.? Booooo.
Fortunately, in Ottawa, they have Presdelicious?! Essentially the same idea with the restaurants along Preston St and only in summer time. We thoroughly scanned through all the prix-fixe menus online. A few of them appealed to us and our opening choice was Il Primo.
First things first, they have a parking lot in the back of the restaurant, so don’t waste time driving around the nearby neighbourhood to look for parking like my boyfriend. Ah well, we had a nice little digestive walk back to our car after our meal.
The restaurant had an old school, cozy feel. They have indoor, booth, and outdoor patio seating.
Here is the presdelicious menu.
There was bread to dip in balsamic vinegar and oil. You could smell the freshness of the bread, as if it just came out of the bread maker. The infused oil had a herby taste and you could see many herbs settled at the bottom of the bottle.
The mussels were plump and juicy, quite easy to pull off. In the centre of it all was some sort of ultra-delicious creamy pesto sauce, which I wiped clean with the bread.
Shrimp scampi was very tender. The acid from the lemon juice brightened the savoury garlicky kick. Apparently, the cooked garlic cloves were really good too (I tried a bit, my boyfriend ate them all).
My gnocchi quattro formaggio was a bigger serving than I had expected. The plate was full of chewy toothsome gnocchi in super creamy sauce and Parmesan cheese, with some grilled tomato slices and shrimp on top. The shrimps here were slightly overcooked.
My boyfriend’s chicken parmigiana was moist and covered in cheese. The linguine was al dente and I really liked the chunky tomato sauce on it. We switched our mains half way through because I liked his pomodoro noodles and he liked my gnocchi more.
I picked tiramisu for dessert. The chopped hazelnuts added an interesting texture. I am not a huge fan of the actual hazelnuts. The whole thing tasted better than it looked though. Unlike typical dried or soggy lady fingers, the moist and soft cake was lightly soaked in rich coffee flavour. The smooth thick mascarpone was not overly sweet either. If not for the crunchy hazelnuts, this may have been the best tiramisu I have ever had?.
The creme brulee was delectable – creamy smooth custardy centre with a coat of faint bitter caramelized sugar on top. Half the fun was in breaking that layer of sugar coating. One tiny detail that I didn’t love was that the very centre of the sugar coat tasted a bit overburnt or charred.
All in all, this was an amazing value for presdelicious – portion, taste and service wise. The servings were bigger than I anticipated. Everything was perfectly seasoned, although I found myself chugging a couple glasses of water after I got home. Perhaps it was a tad bit heavy on salt, for me. But then again, my boyfriend said my salt tolerance is lower than most people. So it may just be perfect for you. Our server was a super pleasant and funny guy from Louisiana. He was also very zen and calm.
I think we will be coming back for random meals outside of presdelicious.
371 Preston St.
Note: we weren’t able to make the time this year to visit another presdelicious restaurant☹. Next year goal!