Posts Tagged ‘village’

Villa is a restaurant in our hood that we visit from time to time. They have a good solid contemporary Italian menu with great thin crust pizzas, some wonderful salads and a decent wine list. We were looking for lunch on a Sunday with a patio that was out of the intense sunlight. The temperatures were still broaching 30°C with a reasonable amount of humidity, but at least outside there was a nice breeze.

This restaurant has an interesting history; for years and years there were two restaurants at this location side by side owned by the same people, one was Zsa Zsa (this is where Villa opened in 2004) and the other was Fiasco Trattoria (this was our Friday night place). Sometime prior to 2004, the owner sold off the two locations and the ZsaZsa side opened Ill Fornelo, an Italian wood oven pizza restaurant chain in Toronto. The restaurant failed rather quickly, apparently we Bloor West people don’t prefer chain restaurants and the manager purchased the restaurant and re opened under his own label called Villa. They serve very similar food to Ill Fornelo, but it is not a chain! Go figure!

They did an overhaul of the restaurant when it turned into Ill Fornello, but didn’t change much when it morphed into Villa. It has a nice clean contemporary design, with the kitchen exposed in the centre with the lovely pizza oven. The photos decorating the walls are of Italy and provide a nice personal touch. The staff is friendly, although could use a bit of training. We were there for a late lunch on a Sunday and it wasn’t busy.

I ordered the Grilled Shrimp and Calamari ($14.95) made with grilled calamari and tiger shrimp, black olives, capers, spinach, tomato salsa. I love this dish. It has just the right amount of the tomato salsa to eat with the succulent grilled shrimp and calamari. They leave the tails on the shrimp and I know for presentation it is preferred, but now I have to dig into my saucey dish and pull the tails off with my hands. The calamari is perfectly grilled, tender and not chewy at all.

3 large calamari tubes and 3 good sized shrimps makes a very filling meal

JT ordered the pulled pork eggs benedict ($14.95), which was a plate of 2 poached eggs, braised pork, barbeque sauce, caramelized onions, toasted English muffin with hollandaise sauce. He said it was good but wasn’t bowled over by it. The pulled pork was tender and tasty and not too sweet with the barbeque sauce. Sorry, no photo.

One of my pet peeves is when one person finishes their meal before the other and the server removes the spent plates. I find this so rude to the diner who is still eating (that would be me); it makes me feel like I should hurry up and finish (and he cleared the table of the bread and bread plates as well). So for this fact, the service is getting a low score this time. We have had better service on occasion but not this time. Our adult libations also took quite some time to arrive, but then again, perhaps they had to send a courier to Italy to get what we ordered!

Overall rating of Villa (in my opinion): Decor 3.5/5, service 2.5/5, food 3.5/5, Value 3.5/5, Noise: 5/5 (1 being very noisy, and 5 being very quiet). We paid for our meal in full.

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The Atlas Mountains

We hired a driver to take us to the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. He was here promptly at 10 in the morning. A lovely gentleman who spoke almost perfect English. The one thing that keeps coming through with each encounter we have is how truly beautiful the Moroccan people are; so friendly and giving. I know in a past post I had some uncomplimentary things to say about the people in the Souks, but for the most part, the people whom we’ve actually met and had some type of relationship with are really and truly wonderful.
Our driver, Amin (I think) was chatty and had some interesting facts about Morocco on our 45 minute trip into the mountains. He fixed us up with a walking guide, Hassan once we were there. Hassan is a Berber and grew up in the village Amin brought us to. He speaks 5 languages, one of which is English, thank goodness! He is well connected in his village, knows everyone, which was nice. He spoke of the Berber traditions with pride and eloquence. I must say that the common trait of Moroccan people is that they are soft and by that I mean to pay them only the highest compliment; they have the kindest eyes and they have extreme gratitude for everything (for example, Hassan thanked us for letting him be our guide). The Berbers were not pushy, or arrogant, but humble and understanding.
A view of the mountains as we began our hike.

Hassan is the guy in the red pants on the left (we have better photos from our good camera, but you’ll have to wait until I can download them to the Mac at home!)

Hassan had made arrangements for us to have tea in a traditional Berber home. It was lovely. They have walnut trees all over these parts and we were served freshly picked walnuts. The never blatantly ask for anything in return for the tea, but it would be appreciated.

The coming days are for celebrating and the extra money will help buy the kids new clothes and toys. It is a very festive time.
View of the mountains from our lunch place.


For lunch I had the Kefta which are Moroccan meatballs; so flavorful and delicious, they are served in an incredible tomato and onion confit!
Driving into the Medina: crazy traffic!


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