Friday, April 11, 2014

Il Cavallino: A Good Formula

 Il Cavallino
All photos by: Melissa Arditti

It’s been too long of a winter so, at the first real sign of Spring, it was time to head out to a restaurant here in Windsor. Il Cavallino, run by General Manager, Frank Gobbato, is a great little bistro located at 9420 Tecumseh Road East, inside the well-known Formula 1 Collision Centre.

The waiting area at Il Cavallino is fitted with sleek, modern furniture that was a comfortable to sit in as it was pleasant to look at. Photo by Melissa Arditti.

Stepping inside we were greeted by the day-time chef, Suzette. She was very bubbly with a huge smile on her face and ready to answer any questions we had about the menu. It was also nice that she told us in detail about the specials of the day. That is the start of good service.

We  also briefly met the Marketing Manager, Cristina Melnik, who was excited to have us in for lunch.

The decor is very modern, with sleek industrial-metallic and red accents. You could also have your choice to sit at a regular dining table, or get a bit higher with bistro tables and, surprisingly, very comfortable swivel chairs.

The restaurant is small but cozy, relying on ambient light from the windows during the daylight hours. Also, the kitchen has a classic diner feel and the chefs are always visible, so you can actually see what is being made and even smell the delicious aromas.

A modern decor with sleek industrial-metallic and red accents. Photo by Melissa Arditti

As well, there is a fair bit of car nostalgia, so while your meal is being prepared, you can take a stroll around and see some of the displays, including an adorably cute Jetta.

Diners at Il Cavallino can look at the Jetta on display. Photo by Melissa Arditti

Now onto our meals.

We both started out with a tall glass of fresh orange juice, while perusing the large and assorted menu.

Delicious O.J and Il Cavallino's plentiful menu. Photo by Melissa Arditti

I decided to go with a chicken Caesar wrap and a side of non-dairy broccoli soup. Huh? Non-dairy? Did I hear that correctly? I was kind of taken aback when I was told this.

The non-dairy broccoli soup was a surprise to find on the menu at Il Cavillino. Photo by Melissa Arditti

I will start off by saying that I have never had broccoli soup without dairy or cream. It hasn't been on a menu from any restaurant that I've gone to before, and I've been to plenty. So this was a new experience entirely and I knew I’d either love it or regret ordering soup.

Hurray. I was very pleased with the consistency and flavour. I found out that it was so simple to make by pureeing broccoli, adding chicken stock, onions, garlic, and fresh herbs. So goodbye heavy cream soups, hello deliciously light broccoli soup.

Next, my chicken Caesar wrap.

The restaurant offered a perfect chicken Caesar and even had the option of a whole wheat wrap.
Photo by Melissa Arditti.

The tortilla was fabulous and probably one of the best I've had in a long time. It wasn't overly starchy and another bonus is that I could substitute for whole-grain. This is one option that I was truly happy to see, as many other restaurants still haven’t caught on to offering customers the option of white vs whole wheat/whole grain. I realize it does come at a cost but I wish more places offered it.

The grilled chicken was cooked well and was very moist. There was enough of it to really satisfy my hunger. The romaine lettuce was crisp, not wilted, and the Caesar dressing was well balanced, so the tortilla wasn't drowning in a sea of sauce. On the side, you can expect an array of fresh, vibrant fruit which really brightened up the dish.

Bill had one of the specials, spaghetti marinara with garlic bread. The portion-size was great and the noodles were cooked well. The marinara sauce was mild in flavour, not overpowering, and the garlic bread really added a nice touch.

Healthy portions were on the menu at Il Cavallino, and entrees were accompanied
by a melange of fresh fruit.  Photo by Melissa Arditti.

One feature that Il Cavallino is known for is their use of fresh, organically-grown produce that is directly from their on-site garden. If you are searching the city for places that are organic-friendly, this should definitely be your next stop.

Once we were done our main course, Suzette came around with cannoli’s that were purchased on Erie Street; oh my.

Any room left for dessert? Photo by Melissa Arditti

They were absolutely phenomenal. Il Cavallino takes the time to pick out the freshest and most delicious varieties of baked goods on a regular basis.

Another cool thing is if you have an electric vehicle, you can plug your car in, grab a bite to eat, and be on your way. I have not seen this very often, so it’s a great addition for customers who do not use gasoline-based vehicles.

Parking for electric vehicles. Photo by Melissa Arditti
Overall, the combination of service, great food and decor is certainly the right formula to keep customers coming back for more.

Visit their website and like them on Facebook