It was a rainy evening, it was a kidless evening. Ms. Waffle and I were out on a date and we were going to make the most of it.
Ms. Waffle was craving Italian, so we ended up making our way towards Bistro Vitalia, on rue Principale in Aylmer. Opened less than a year ago, Bistro Vitalia replaced the much beloved Bistro Ambrosia, which was quite a popular Italian eatery. It surprised many when Ambrosia shut its doors for good, 10 years after opening.
When we got there around 8 PM, the place was packed. Not a single seat was available on the main floor. We were a bit worried, but wisely, they decided to open the upper deck as more people came in behind us.
We settled at a table by the railing to admire the spectacle below. Soon enough, half the tables in the upper section were occupied.
The place is neat. Lots of natural light coming in from the two garage doors, the place feels like it has been repainted and refreshed recently. Lots of art on the walls, but otherwise the decor is classic.
Upon perusing the menu, Ms. Waffle immediately spotted the Calamari Fritti ($12). She pretended to look at the Bruschetta al peperone y chèvre, but there was no sense in trying to pretend that we weren’t going to end up ordering the calamari.
Our waiter ran upstairs and I ordered the squid. We weren’t quite ready to order our main, but seeing how busy it was, I figured it would be wise to get some munchies in the machine. We turned our attention to the main dishes, skipping the Insalata and ignoring the Carni: we were here for Pasta!
Ms. Waffle looked at the Valentina (Gnocchi and sausages) first, but settled on the Cielo. I hesitated between the Piscatori and the Fettucine Alfredo, decided to mull it over a little more and started to look at the wine selection.
Our waiter came back with our calamari in record time. It was impressive, considering how busy it was. I quickly ordered a bottle of white hoping to get it before we polished off the hors d’oeuvres!
The calamari were of a dark golden hue. Nice large rings, no bodies. They were meaty yet tender, the breading was quite crispy. Very nicely done. The squid was served with a lemon aïoli, flavourful but a tad thin, and some fresh roquette. The portion was reasonable, but I’m pretty sure we would have both indulged a few more!
For her main, Ms. Waffle settled on the Cielo ($18), a spaghetti dish, with prosciutto, roasted red peppers, spinach, garlic olive oil and goat cheese. A big cloud of creamy goat cheese.
Still, it was a very balanced dish. The crispy prosciutto was offering a great texture contrast. Too often, cured meats in pasta dishes end up being too soft, ruining the effect.
I went with the Piscatori ($24) on the recommendation of our waiter. It looked quite appetizing. A seafood linguini in a fairly light garlic and white wine sauce, with a touch of cream. It had scallops, shrimp and clams and cherry tomatoes.
It was delicious. The cherry tomatoes brought some acidity to balance the dish. The clams were cooked perfectly, and so were the scallops, nice and tender. The shrimp weren’t bad either. They were big, and just a tad on the overdone side, almost right on the money. Nothing to stop me from recommending the dish. I thought it was a little low on the seafood, though. If 7 clams were plentiful, there was only 3 scallops and 3 shrimp. I would say 1 or 2 more of each would be perfect. To compensate, and to help finish the delicious sauce, I asked for some bread to dip and enjoy some more.
In both cases, the pasta were really the star of the dish. House made, fresh pasta, cooked al dente, providing a great chew while being a great vehicle for the different sauces. It makes all the difference in the world if you enjoy good pasta. On that front, Vitalia certainly delivered.