ANGOLETTO (141 Spadina, at Richmond West, 416-598-1772) Complete meals for $11, including all taxes, tip and a pop. Average main $8. Open Monday to Saturday 11 am to 6 pm. Licensed. Access: barrier-free. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Any metropolis worth its road salt will have its share of places like Angoletto. They're not trendy or charming or culinarily exceptional, but they serve edible, affordable food for lunch- breakers.
On the day we were there, the local career-academy crowd was feeling at home with Angoletto's cafeteria-like format. You stare at choices markered on white boards, line up at the counter, and the big spoons dig into the steamer trays.
What the friendly counter staff are spooning is mainly pasta, accompanied by greens.
The rigatoni saporite is a pretty standard plate of pasta in tomato sauce with Italian sausage. The pasta's very much all done, eh, rather than al dente, but the sausage has some spicy life to it and the tomato sauce is good not great, but good, and that goes a long way at Angoletto.
Let's play a game. I'll say "lasagna," and you say the first thing that pops into your head. If you said "Brady Bunch," then you're going to like this hamburger layer cake. It's oily and mushy and contains little cheese, but it's still good in a mangiacake sort of way. Once again, the sauce is your friend.
In the case of the penne with artichokes in rosé sauce, the sauce is more like a boring co-worker. The addition of cream just makes it bland. It's also lacking on the artichoke front.
Equally unexciting is the grilled vegetable sandwich. A brief revisitation to the charbroiler for the vegetables would improve things.
The salads that are included with the large servings of pasta feature fresh greens and ho-hum dressing.
Angoletto will never be a dining destination, but there are still a lot of people in the Giant Thimble district who won't worry about that. They have more to think about than lunch.