It had been a few years since my last visit. Previously, this family-run restaurant was known as Sandro Pizzeria. After renovations due to a fire in early 2009, the restaurant was reopened as Rea’s Italian Cucina. It is still under the same ownership and has the same menu as before the fire. The reason I chose this restaurant recently for celebrating my friend’s birthday is because on their website, they stated they were children-friendly and my friend was bringing her little one.
We started off sharing an order of the Calamari Adriatica ($12). This was prepared differently than the typical breaded and fried preparation. It was sautéed in a tomato and lemon sauce. This was easily the most tender calamari I’ve ever had. I was so surprised it was not chewy at all. The tangy tomato and lemon sauce was delicious. We tried to sop up every last drop with the complimentary crusty bread they provided.
For an entree, my friend S ordered the Fettuccini Salmone ($17), which consisted of fettuccini tossed with smoked salmon and capers in a cream sauce. We each had a taste of this dish and agreed that this was the favourite of the evening. The salmon was flaky, moist and perfectly prepared. I was impressed that it was not overcooked at all. The sauce was creamy, rich and did not taste fishy. The pasta was perfectly al dente. My friend M and I liked this dish so much that we kept on trying to steal bites off her plate.
My friend M ordered the Fussile Ferraro ($16). This dish consisted of fussile with sautéed spicy crumbled sausage and onions in a rosé sauce. Again, this dish was tasty and well-balanced. The pasta was perfectly cooked and the rosé sauce was flavourful and had a nice spicy kick to it.
I decided to try a pizza instead as I had heard good things about Rea’s pizzas. I ordered a 10″ of the Dom Special ($16), which was topped with spicy pancetta ham, mushrooms, and shrimp. This pizza was closer to a Roman-style pizza than a Neapolitan-style pizza as the crust was thicker, crisper, and chewier. My personal preference is for more of a Neapolitan-style pizza, which has a much thinner crust like the ones that Without Papers Pizza serves. For the style of pizza that this is, it was pretty tasty.
For dessert, we shared an order of the Tiramisu ($7). This was easily one of the best versions of tiramisu that I’ve had. It was creamy and decadent with strong flavours of coffee.
Overall, I enjoyed our experience at Rea’s. I thought the calamari and the pasta dishes were the standouts. I’ll definitely be back for their pasta dishes. The service was friendly and attentive. And it’s a bonus that they are children-friendly. I know I will for sure be back, especially when I’m looking for a place that is foodie-worthy and yet at the same time children-friendly.
Rea’s Italian Cucina
431 41 Ave NE