I actually hardly ever go to Italian restaurants. Probably because I am Italian and eat Italian food at home a lot. But after seeing Il Toro Pasta & Espresso Bar has a 4.7 rating on Zomato and nothing but raving reviews I had to check it out! This little gem is located on 321 North East Rd which happens to be like 2 mins from my house and I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to discover 😛
The decor in Il Toro reminds me a lot of many Melbourne Italian restaurants I have visited on Lygon Street which are decked out with Soccer and Car racing memorabilia and the whole red, black and white theme. I’m not a huge fan to be honest and it looks a little old fashioned.
Il Toro is owned by father daughter team Jim and Caitlin Talladira, with Jim having over 30 years experience as a chef. Jim’s grandfather owned the first Italian restaurant in South Australia in the 1950s which is pretty cool! I really enjoyed reading Il Toro’s story on their menu and thought this was a nice little touch. There were quite a few appetiser options on the menu including Arancini and Baked Polenta which I was very close to ordering. For some reason I really wanted to try the Salt & Pepper White Bait, purely and simply because I never have before. Bad decision. Not because of the way it was cooked or anything bad on Jim’s behalf, they are just really fishy and leave a bad aftertaste. If you like white bait I’m sure you’d love this though 😛
My cousin ordered the Prosciutto pizza which had basil pesto, bocconcini, prosciutto, wild rocket and olive oil. This was a 12″ pizza for only $15.90 so very good value for money! The base was nice and crispy and cooked well and each ingredient complimented each other nicely. It would have benefitted from some fresh tomato though just to freshen it up a little and the base was quite oily. But nonetheless an enjoyable pizza.
Since I’ve heard their pasta is amazing, I thought the ultimate test of this would be to try their Gnocchi. I ordered the Gnocchi E Tartufo Nero which was hand cut potato gnocchi with pan fried mushrooms, black truffles, onions and cream sauce. Boy was I amazed! Literally the best Gnocchi I’ve ever had and I’m not even exaggerating. My mum makes some bloody good Gnocchi & I’m telling you this was even better. SO light and melt in your mouth without it being too soft. The sauce was delicious and flavoursome and I enjoyed every mouthful. The portion size was also perfect and for $14.90 what an absolute STEAL. I was pretty stoked!
I should also note that Jim is a one man show in the kitchen which amazes me! He makes everything himself and fresh to order so the waiting time was a little longer than usual. But this didn’t bother me too much especially as I could smell my food as it was being cooked, adding to the excitement. It would also explain why Il Toro only accept bookings. Jim is my hero, for real 😛
I am super impressed by Il Toro Pasta & Espresso Bar and I can’t wait to return with my whole family! I definitely want to try the Gnocchi Ragu next time. There are also other options on the menu such as Risotto, Chicken Parmigiana and Polenta but I would definitely say Pasta is their speciality! This is such a little gem of a restaurant and a must try for delicious and affordable Pasta.
Until next time x