When my friend first told me her birthday dinner was being held at Carisma (@Carisma_73KingE), my initial reaction was something along the lines of “what?! where is this place…?!” This dinner was pretty interesting in the sense that our party of 12 (mainly consisted of foodies) did not have a single person that had ever heard of Carisma. So I guess my friend successfully accomplished her goal in getting a group of foodies in trying a restaurant that no one has been to – or heard of. So the evening arrived, the restaurant isn’t difficult to spot – but it’s definitely a place you’ll most likely pass by but forget all about it. Carisma is located on King St. E, steps away from King Edward Hotel. The restaurant itself is dimly lit with a plush furnishing. Its quite a romantic spot.
Originally, I wasn’t planning on taking pictures. I purposely left my DSLR at home but soon realized that this fine dining Italian restaurant was really a hidden gem so I took out my good old iPhone and started snapping away at what I could!
The restaurant was incredibly packed on a Saturday evening. Service was great. Our server was funny and personable – he frequently checked up on our party – refilled our wine and waters. Everything was served at a moderate paced. When our entrees arrived – the pastas were served a couple minutes before others that had ordered other mains. I assumed it was rather hard to serve all 12 people in one go. So its understandable.
Bread to Start
- The bread just came out of the oven because it still had that toasty – crispy layer. The inside was very soft and doughy. In terms of the taste, it had a good hint of garlic but nothing overly strong.
- Definitely had our party complementing and asking for seconds!
- Our only complaint was that it was a tad oily.
Carpaccio di Polpo ($16.00)
- Thinly Sliced Octopus, Cherry Tomato Scallions, Frisee Salad
Tuna Tartare ($22.00)
- Finely Chopped Tuna, Avocado, Pineapple, Savory Tuile Chips
- It’s no secret I love Tartare. If it’s on the menu – I gotta have it! Carisma’s version of tuna tartare is magnificent. The fish is fresh with a nice tang and flavour from the avocado. The tuile chips were the perfect pairing for the tartare
Capesante con Funghi ($16.00)
- Pan-Seared Scallops, Wild Mushrooms, Wilted Baby Spinach, Saron Lemon White Wine
- These perfectly seared scallops were unapologetically juicy and delicious. Nicely complimented with the wild mushrooms.
Spaghettini ai gamberi ($24.00)
- Spaghettini with Black Tiger Shrimp, Pink Peppercorn in a Brandy Tomato Cream
- The spaghettini was prepared with care – lightly coated in their brandy tomato cream sauce
- The pasta was good in texture, density and thinness
- Four large delicious shrimps were gently plated on top of the spaghetiini
Ravioli all’Astice ($30.00)
- Lobster Ravioli, Leeks, Pink Peppercorn, Pernod Tomato Cream
Our table seated about 12 people. A lot more entrees were ordered then what is shown in my post. Some of the other pictures were too dark so I didn’t bother posting. All in all, Carisma offers solid Italian food. Simple is good and Carisma demonstrates simplicity in every dish presented. From the mutual consensus among the group, Carisma was an unexpectedly great dinner. They also offer an extensive – pricey wine list – but totally worth checking out.