Name: Castelli Cucina
Address: 337 James St N, Hamilton, ON L8L 1H3
Phones: (289) 389-3065
Hours: Sunday-Monday Closed, Tuesday-Thursday 12PM-3PM & 5PM-9PM, Friday-Saturday 12PM-3PM & 5PM-10.30PM.
Reservations: Yes via TOCK reservation system.
Price Range: $$-$$$
What I tried: Burrata, Calamari Fritti, Polpo Arrosto, Fichi Pizza, Quattro Formaggi Tartufo Pizza, Corona di Tartufi Pasta, and a Bombolone.
The service here was amazing. From the time we entered the restaurant to exiting, it felt like I was having dinner at someone's home. I was hugged a few times and was really welcomed to the restaurant. I was quite taken aback by the fantastic service and would definitely come back again just for the warm hospitality.
The little name card on the table indicating that our table was reserved was also very personalized and was a cute bonus.
Making a reservation online was not an issue however we needed to get in touch with the restaurant to change our head count and it seemed very difficult to speak to someone. Their phone lines were not working the best it looked like that day.
The Burrata was delicious. It was an appetizer but could be an entire meal as the portion was large. Fresh mozarella cheese, heirloom tomato, olive oil on a beautiful focaccia bread. The flavour profile was balanced well with the salt and sweet.
The calamari was fried really well, and the seasoning on it was wonderful. Classic calamari dish done really great.
The Polpo Arrosto was a grilled octopus dish that sat on a bed of fava beans and brocollini. The octopus itself was tender and grilled really well. Very flavorful dish and a generous portion.
The Fichi pizza had Fig, brie, proscuitto, rosemary, olive oil on the softest crust known to man kind. They have a custom made wood fire burning out on display were all the pizzas are made. This oven makes a huge difference on how pizza tastes.
My Quarttro Fromaggi pizza was out of this world. I only managed to have two slices as it was very heavy and I was already full from everything else. It consists of Mascarpone, for di latte, reggiano, rabiola, and black truffle. It was creamy, soft and very decadent.
The Corona di Tartufi was... might I say, life changing. I have had a lot of pasta in my life and mind you, not in Italy but this was the best pasta dish I have had. This homemade crown shaped pasta was cooked to absolute al dente perfection and stuffed with black truffle ricotta. It was cooked in truffle butter, and then a generous portion of black truffles was shaved on it. The truffle flavours were amazing as it was not overpowering like when most establishments use truffle oils which smell and taste artificial. The flavours in this dish were balanced, flavourful and delicious. Yes, it is on the pricey side going for $30 a plate, however the black truffles were a generous portion and if you are looking to indulge, this is the dish to get.
The Bombolone is a donut like pastry stuffed with either ricotta filling or nutella. I opted for the ricotta filling with chocolate chips and did not regret my decision. It was heavenly. The ricotta filling was light and not too sweet. Bits of cannoli shell was also on the dessert and added a crunch to the dish. The bombolone itself was fantastic, as it was soft and fresh with the flavour of dough.
If you have never been to Italy, I suggest going to Castellis to experience a local version of Italy. It will remind you of being at someone's house for dinner with the service, decor and food to match.
The wooden tables and table settings were reminiscent of small hole in the wall type restaurants in Europe. It is cozy, romantic and very inviting.
The main attraction for me personally was the pizza oven in the corner with the chef making pizzas to order. The room smelled like delicious pizza and dough.
This place sure does get busy almost every time they are open but you really do not feel rushed or the chaos as it is a comfortable environment.