Having not visited this all-time favourite since Christmas, my all-time favourite Saturday night date and I did the stroll down Yonge Street last night to this gem - camouflouged by the large Future Furniture sign over the front window - just five doors north (hence the name) of Gio's (the nose).
We arrived for a late dinner (after 9:30) and were greeted by the fun, hip, chatty bustling crowd we've come to expect at Five Doors.
The menu is arranged by course - although the diner is not, of course, obliged to follow any particular order or sense. The servings may be ordered in a small individual serving, or a larger, more meal-sized platter. My recommendation is to order a number of the appetizers, pastas and mains in the small size and share amongst table partners.
We started with the polenta (which was softer, fluffier and more flavourful than my fave date, myself or my Nonna - sorry Nonna - could ever dream to achieve) which was topped with a soft, creamy goat cheese spread, covered in a pesto so fresh I suspect the basil was growing in the kitchen.
Five doors is very successful in mixing non-conventional (but very complementary) flavours -- the goat cheese, figs and arugula wrapped in prosciutto is divine -- and producing magic. Our mussels were steamed in a black bean sauce (wonderful for dipping their rich bread slices in).
We indulged in the homemade gnocchi for our pasta dish -- again, light, fluffy and perfect (why, oh why does my own gnocchi never take on this texture??) -- in a tangy gorgonzola sauce - which was, incidentally, wonderful for dipping the risotto (in an asparagus sauce) we had ordered as our other pasta.
Our last course was a seafood stew which more closely resembled a soup -- tasty, but not the highlight of the meal - and really only the icing on the cake for two already very satisfied diners.
Dinner with a bottle of wine ran $80 - very reasonable for a delicious meal in a fun restaurant - and did I mention that our server was great?
My cousins will be visiting from Italy this summer, and I will be sure to take them to Five Doors North. I can't imagine a better way for visitors to enjoy the city's dining adventures than over a couple bottles of wine and a great meal in such a lively restaurant.
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