It's our last day off before we head back to work and the routine of life in 2012! So today after doing a little (and I mean a little) shopping, we decided that East Side Mario's was a good lunch/dinner options. We didn't know that on Mondays kids eat free if one parent buys a dinner entree. This was a nice surprise and great if you have a couple of kids dining with you.
In her opinion:
We started with the Sizziling Calamari Al Diavolo. Calamari with garlic, onions, sweet and hot peppers in a tomato broth. This is one of my personal favourites. Love the tenderness of the calamari and the spiciness of the sauce.
I ordered the Baked Penne Bolognese. This is penne pasta tossed with beef bolognese and alfredo sauce, tossed in tomatoes and cheese blend and oven-baked. This is served with the usual all you can eat soup or salad. I had the Italian Minestrone Soup. One of my favourites. Overall, I wasn't in love with this pasta...it was my first and last time ordering it from the menu.
My little guy ate for free after I reminded the waitress that it was Monday and she nicely had her manager remove his meal from the bill. We ordered the Cheesy Penne Alfredo but asked for linguine instead of penne. He ate part of his pasta and lots of the free home loaf (one of his favourites).
For dessert he was presented with the kid's trio of ice cream. One of my favourites...a banana cherry ice cream.
Overall, I like East Side Mario's. It's one of are standby go to places when we have no ideas about where to go. Dining there Mondays makes a lot of sense if you have kids.
In his opinion:
Well, what to do on a bitter cold day when your Christmas vacation is coming to an end and thoughts of going back to work the next day are flashing in your mind? But of course, go shoe shopping with the wife...and at the Mall? Yay, how exciting(not really!)
Good thing is that while ping ponging from shoe store to shoe store, I do get a whiff of food...East Side Mario's...mmmmm.
Although not quite Via Vennezia or Campo Fiori quality (more like the equivalent of the Mandarin for Italian food) it does hit the spot sometimes. And it did!
I followed the over exaggerated Italian/American props to a nice little booth table and sat down looking at the statue of liberty holding a huge tomato. WOW, I almost felt like I was in Manhattan's Mulberry Street, almost...oh yeah ...on to the food.
For appetizer: Started with the best thing on the menu (in my opinion), the Sizzling Calamari Al Diavolo (pictured above). Rings of tender spicy Calamari with garlic, onions, sweet and hot peppers in a spicy tomato broth. You can never go wrong with this appetizer, a must have!
For entree: I was trying really hard to stay away from my usual ESM predictable main course (Linguine Chicken Tetrazinni- my favourite pasta dish), so I find myself on the sandwich/panini section and how can you go wrong with a panini...
I had the Roasted Chicken & Provolone Panini-spit roasted chicken, provolone cheese, roasted garlic aioli, roasted red peppers, fresh Basil and spinach served on a grilled Ciabatta bread (pressed panini style).
The fries tasted like crispy cardboard but the sandwich was actually very good, bread nice and crispy and chicken tasted really good complimented by the basil and spinach. Oh forgot to mention the yummy bread rolls (always good) and yes...bread/carbs overload. Well it is still Christmas season right?
To Finish off my sons meal comes with the very famous 3 little ice cream cones( banana cherry ice flavour) so, trio of miniature ice creams + a kid that doesn't like ice cream cones + 3 of us = No need for desert. Great!
We usually go to the East Side Mario's on Gateway Drive (yes, it's open again) but this Mall location was good for the day! I give it 2 1/2 olives out of 5.