Tasty Tomato is a small, nondescript Italian restaurant located on Stony Plain Rd. An early birthday celebration was in order for AL, and having been a few times before, this was her restaurant of choice.
For a restaurant that's been open for more than 22 years, it's surprising that I've never heard of it. In fact, it's almost as old as I am.
We made plans to come on a Tuesday night around 6:45 and the restaurant was packed. Surprising, but Christmas is always a busy time of year. We were quoted a 30-45 minute wait for a table of four which was pretty accurate. We didn't have a plan B so we decided to stick it out. We thought we should've planned ahead to make a reservation but apparently they don't take them for parties less than six.
When we were finally seated, service was prompt and very friendly. Aside from daily specials listed out by our server, the menu is divided into salads, appetizers, pastas, and entrees. Simple, no-fuss Italian fare.
Before our meal, we were given a complimentary basket of soft and fluffy foccacia, with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to dip. After waiting 40 minutes for a table, most of us were starving so we polished off the basket pretty quickly. A second basket was offered and we polished that off in record time as well.
What can I say? We like our free carbs.
AL, the birthday girl, went for her usual: pappardelle alfredo ($17.95), wide homemade noodles with alfredo cream sauce. It looked decadent and creamy. It's one of her favourite dishes for a reason.
SC went for the linguine Monte Carlo ($18.95), linguine pasta with chicken breast, fresh mushrooms, and sundried tomatoes in a white wine rosé sauce. SC chose this one because it had more going on with it than just pasta and sauce. She's normally a hard person to please when it comes to food but she really enjoyed her dish.
KN's pick was the linguine alle vongole ($17.95), linguine sautéed with baby clams. You also have a choice between their original tomato sauce or a garlic white wine sauce which is what she chose. KN thought the dish was very flavourful, not overly heavy or oily. For the portion size, she thought it was good value for money as you get more than enough for leftovers the next day. If you're not a big eater, I did notice at the bottom of the menu that half portions are available; just subtract $2.00 from the original menu price.
Continuing with the linguine theme, my choice for the evening was linguine portafino ($18.95). Linguine and tiger shrimps sautéed with fresh garlic, hot peppers, and extra virgin olive oil. The pasta came out nice and hot and was cooked perfectly al dente. You'll have to mix this one around a bit since the sauce tends to collect at the bottom of the plate. I'm not usually a big pasta fan but I would gladly order this again. You really can't go wrong with copious amounts of garlic.
Tasty Tomato is a good example of not judging a book by its cover. If you're looking for a cozy restaurant serving up homemade, simple Italian, Tasty Tomato is a solid family spot that's indeed tasty.