Food for Thought: A taste of home

One of my fondest memories growing up was always coming home after school and wondering what was going to be for dinner. The smells that remind you of home, the flavours that you enjoy and the feeling of a meal prepared with you in mind. Ladies and gents, comfort food is one of those delights in life that we'll never tire of. Here in London, as Fanshawe students (many of us who are living away from home for the first time), we may have a hard time finding that experience. With more restaurants crammed in than any other city in Canada, London, Ontario provides ample opportunities for a culinary night out.

Part of my program required me to get over-the-summer employment as a paid apprentice under a red seal chef. The choices were limitless. Some of my classmates left the city, while others left the province. Having a wedding right around the corner, I didn't want to up and leave for the three required months, so I looked here in London for a placement. In my time experiencing the culinary delights this city has to offer, there has only been one time where I've been out and felt like I was at home eating with my family instead of sitting in a restaurant. That one place was Bertoldi's Trattoria on Richmond Street. And it just so happened that I was lucky enough to get my apprenticeship there, it couldn't have worked out better. I am happy to say they opted to keep me on as a regular employee after my three months was up, so it is with great pleasure that this week, we review one of my favourite restaurants, Bertoldi's.

First off, Bertoldi's is an Italian restaurant in its truest sense. The minute you enter the doors, you're greeted with a friendly, warm smile, and you can take in the atmosphere of the low-lit, wooden decor with tables arranged throughout. One thing that will catch your eye is that there is a pizza station that juts out into the dining room. I always enjoyed this feature as it allowed you to get a bit of a sneak peek at one of the members of the culinary team in action. All the pizzas and desserts are made and plated in this area.

Once you're seated, the menu offers a wide selection. One of Bertoldi's most endearing qualities is that the chef (Chef John Fisher) always works with fresh ingredients and, whenever possible, makes everything from scratch inhouse, which is always refreshing to see.

Chef Fisher also comes up with a different feature pizza, pasta, entree and appetizer every week, which adds a new, changing element to the menu.

We both settled in and ordered our appetizer, traditional bruchetta. For our mains, I fell back to one of my favourite Bertoldi's stand-bys, chicken marsala, and Jessica had the basil pesto pasta. The portion sizes at Bertoldi's are huge (just like your mom would make for you), and you definitely don't leave feeling hungry. We were so full, in fact, that we opted out of getting any dessert. However, for the purposes of this article, my favourite item on the dessert menu is most definitely the chocolate budino tartlet. It's a rich chocolate mousse inside a crumbly chocolate tart, topped with a light sprinkling of sea salt and olive oil. I would recommend this dessert to anyone who loves chocolate and isn't ashamed to admit it.

Some may say I'm biased because I do work in the kitchen there, but I should point out that one of the main reasons I wanted to work there was because I loved the food so much. There aren't many places in London that give you that type of experience, and now I can say I'm proud to be a part of it.

With a menu that's always evolving, an atmosphere that is always warm and inviting and staff that never go without a smile, Bertoldi's is definitely a place to go if you've never been. For the average student here at Fanshawe, it might be a good idea to save your pennies and make it a special night out, as the average dinner will run you roughly $25 to 30 (including appetizer, entree and dessert). This will be slightly more if you opt to get any alcohol during or after the meal.

From Jess and I both, ciao a tutti!

Food: 5/5
Staff: 5/5
Affordability: 3/5
Atmosphere: 4/5
Total: 17/20

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