SCACCIA ITALIAN RESTAURANT (55 Bloor West, at Bay, 416-963-9864) Complete meals in the dining room for $25 per person, including all taxes, tip and a glass of wine. Average main $12. Open Monday to Wednesday 11:30 am to 8 pm, Thursday to Friday, 11:30 am to 9 pm, Saturday 11:30 am to 8 pm, Sunday noon to 6 pm. Licensed. Access: barrier free. Rating: N Rating: N
Scaccia offers a choice between self-serve meals consumed beside an escalator in the Manulife Centre and a pricier full-service menu in the adjacent dining room. Sadly, the rose-coloured walls, brocade upholstery and faux gilt accents don't help.
Perhaps it's the ambient noise of shoppers and muzak, the escalator reflected in one of the many mirrors or the lack of natural light. It could be the food court fare, so mediocre it's depressing to think of underpaid mall workers spending their hard-earned lunch money here.
There are hot and cold panini , four risottos, six pizzas and a number of pastas. The eponymous scaccia are a type of Sicilian sandwich of pizza crust folded over chicken, sausage, mixed vegetables or spinach and veal. I choose the Europa pizza ($12.75) for its strange toppings of sweet capicollo, spinach, mozzarella and sour cream. Though quite oily, it might be passable if left in the oven a little longer. I have to complain, primarily because I think the cook should be forced to sample his own undercooked dough, just once, to understand the problem gastrointestinally.
A meatball sandwich ($8.95) is no better. Erroneously billed as a panino, it offers lukewarm balls of ground beef in tomato sauce stuffed into a cold submarine roll. Additional toppings are a buck extra, so with hot peppers and mushrooms it's a $10.95 disappointment. Though it comes with a mixed salad, we feel ripped off.
Taking a scaccia ($4.75) home with me, I find it's devoid of flavour but at least cooked through, and I'm able to warm it. Chopped veal morsels are lost in too much spinach, and a sprinkling of cheddar is mostly undetectable.
The experience of dining in at Scaccia doesn't justify forking over $4 to $5 more per person.