Somehow, despite the fact that it’s around the corner from our place, we’d never tried Carisma. The name doesn’t immediately suggest “Italian restaurant”, nor does the store front, so we’ve walked past it dozens of times and just never gone in. Friday night, unsure where to go, we just took a flyer and decided to give it a shot. And a good shot it was.
However it looks outside, it certainly feels like an Italian restaurant inside…rich decor, friendly staff, regulars speaking Italian — only Italian — with the manager. As is often the case for us we avoided the menu and ordered all specials: I had the burrata with a glass of Falanghina, while Nellie had a small plate of fettuccine in white truffle and olive oil sauce paired with a glass of Gavi. For her main Nellie had the black angus steak, while I had a Mediterranean sea bass — unusual for me, but I wasn’t feeling hungry enough to get into any of the big secondis on the menu. We both asked for wine pairings; Nellie was given an Aglianico with her steak, which seemed a bit weird and didn’t go terribly well, while I was given a Malivoire Pinot Noir, which went extremely well with the grilled fish. I was also excited that he went local with my recommendation…I didn’t expect that.
For dessert we split a lemon & lavender crème brûlée. Nellie had a glass of Oban with hers, while I had an espresso — no doubt the reason I managed to stay awake for more of our Midnight Madness screening a few hours later than she did.
Anyway, a good find, a happy find in our own neighbourhood. We’ll definitely be back, possibly in greater numbers to occupy that huge corner banquette.
Photo by Eli Christman, used under Creative Commons license