Only sampled the Zucca menu so far, it was EXCELLENT. Probably the best value of the lot.
Four courses, $60, plus wines as you wish and taxes.
First course - The mousse like rapini-cheese that came with the berkshire red wine sausage - my favourite dish of the whole dinner.
Secondi - Noodles with wild mushroom sauce - tasted rather salty, and the "noodles" (their term, not mine) were tough. I could not eat them - but I have never been able to eat Zucca's house made pastas. I know that the Kiwi chef at Zucca is passionate about authenticity, however I've eaten a lot of home made pasta in Italy and it's never been as heavy and tough as it is at Zucca.
Perhaps I'm a pasta neophite and am missing something - but tough heavy pasta that costs a lot and ends up being thrown out because the customer can't chew it sounds wrong to me.
Third course - Semolina crusted pickerel on braised lentils with roasted fennel (YUM!) - very good indeed. I recommend this dish - but by now you would be pretty full if you are going with the Italian Seasons menu, so you might not finish it - it's generous!
Pudding - wonderful cornmeal puff with blueberries and whipped cream.
I think the Italian Festival Menu is tremendous value, and Zucca is, in my opinion, the best Italian restuarant in Toronto for food and wine.
They have one domineering waiter who gets on everyone's nerves......"your" evening is all about "him" and he will demand that you pay attention to him rather than your dinner companions.
This is a resturant doing terrific Italian food in an authentic way, (pasta excepted) but it is neither owned or operated or staffed by Italians, so that natural Italian "hospitality factor" will never be there. The kind of warm, unpretensious greeting you get at places on St. Clair West. like Di Gianni.
But the chef keeps me a constant customer.