Corso 32 is infamous in town as they seem to win annually in Avenue Magazine’s for best restaurant/best Italian. Their awards are proudly displayed when you first walk in yet I’ve never been! What’s wrong with me right? Well, I had to knock this off my list of places to try and what better way to do that than to celebrate a special occasion.
We arrived at 7:30pm on a Monday night and the place was surprisingly not too packed. Possibly because the weather was crappy (first snowfall of the year) but most likely because Monday’s are a slow night. We made reservations a month or so in advance but when I checked online earlier that day, there were quite a few spots that popped up. If you’re looking for a two spot, you can likely get a last minute reservation.
The interior is modern and slick with exposed brick but still creates a cozy, intimate atmosphere. There’s only room for 32 people (hence the name) but the dim, candle lit tables sets the mood. You know what was surprising? Seeing two kids in the restaurant. Lucky bastards!
The menu is small but I like how they focus and ensure that what they do have on the menu is of quality. There were a few similar items that spill over from Bar Bricco (fennel salad and speck ring a bell) so we ordered accordingly. The service is excellent with the waitresses continuously coming to pour water and ask how each dish tasted. Well balanced without being too attentive.
Cauliflower, fontina and whey. It seems everyone orders the arancini to start and we were no different. Four succulent, crispy, gooey balls of goodness. These are excellent and a perfect way to start your meal. A half order was perfect for us as the arancini was quite rich and heavy.
Beet casunziei ($24.00)
Butter, poppy seeds and parmigiano reggiano. I’ve never had beet stuffed pasta before but wow, this was really, really good. The beet had a blended, mashed potato consistency to it and the casunziei (ravioli) was perfectly al dente. The bite to the pasta was unlike anything I’ve tasted when it comes to Italian food in Edmonton. This is why you come to Corso.
Guinea fowl tortellini ($26.00)
This was their one and only special of the night. Guinea fowl cooked in its own juices, rosemary and sage. There were 18 of these delicate, hand crafted tortellini’s for us to share. The tortellini had a much different texture than the casunziei, more denser and a chewier bite. I don’t think any of us have had guinea fowl before (the waitress described it as a mix between chicken and duck) but it was nicely flavoured. Our only gripe was that we wished there was more to go around!
Chinook salmon ‘mandorla’ ($32.00)
Burnt butter, almonds, pink lady apple, radicchio, black kale and balsamico. The salmon was perfectly cooked with a nice, crispy skin and flavours were on point. The almonds (think they were blanched) were amazing paired with the salmon. Never would have thought of that combo being that good. The julienned apples and radicchio added some fresh sweetness to the dish. Overall, pretty good but again, wish there was more salmon to share.
Chocolate torta ($11.00)
The menu description doesn’t say much: salty hazelnuts. The chocolate torta was velvety smooth with a perfect richness to it that was balanced out by roasted hazelnuts and a sprinkling of sea salt. An interesting mix of sweet and salty will tantalize your taste buds. Roasting the nuts is pure genius.
Overall, we enjoyed our first outing to Corso 32. You can tell the attention to detail and care that is put into every dish. However, it’s one of those places that you don’t really go to on a regular basis. For special occasions, definitely. The panna cotta has my name written all over it for next time!
10345 Jasper Avenue