Bar Bricco is an intimate space seemingly tailor-made for sharing small plates. The soft “day of” ricotta cheese comes with two servings per plate, lightly drizzled with Capezzana olive oil. The creaminess and delicate flavour of the ricotta pairs perfectly with the crisp fettunta bread, which is heavily scented with garlic and sprinkled with rosemary.
The egg yolk raviolo needs no introduction – it’s fast becoming one of Bar Bricco’s signature dishes, and deservedly so. It’s a showstopper, the egg yolk softly oozing out the moment you cut it. The filling is intensely creamy and the soft ricotta combines perfectly with the liquid yolk. Sprinkled with sage leaves and a generous amount of brown butter and Parmigiano cheese, the only problem with the raviolo is that you’ll want more.
For those who can’t decide between the salumi offerings, the tasting plate offers five different meats. The deep red, smoky bresaola contrasts perfectly with the relatively mild flavour of the mortadella. The salame emilia adds a kick, courtesy of the black peppercorns, while the porchetta offers a herbal hint of fennel. The crisp bread and grissini provide the perfect base – that is, if you haven’t already used your grissini to soak up every last bit of the raviolo filling. –Adrianna Szenthe
10347 Jasper Ave., 780-424-5588, barbricco.com
Tzin, which has been a fixture on 104th Street for the better part of a decade, is a small space that serves small plates, but they are big on flavour.
Dishes like the Basque piperade – like a quiche, with potatoes, mushrooms and stewed peppers – pair wonderfully with selections from the extensive wine list. Thick-cut bacon, served with maple balsamic apple compote, will have dining partners quibbling over who gets the last piece. The shrimp pinchos aren’t drenched in piri piri sauce, but have just enough heat to let you know it’s there. And it would be a disservice to leave any of the harissa tomato sauce that comes with the lamb merguez meatballs on the dish when it goes back to the kitchen. –Glenn Cook
10115 104 St., 780-428-8946, tzin.ca
Three Boars is the bomb. Sure, it’s an outdated compliment, but it’s used with the same hipster irony that’s prevalent with much of the clientele. Plus, there’s the fact that some of the best small plates served at Three Boars are “bombs.”
The pork and chicken liver bomb is a prime example. Nothing physically blows up in your face while cutting in to the fried, crusted sphere to reveal the liver and shredded pork shoulder inside. The explosion comes from the layered flavour of the dish. And, much like the restaurant itself, the rest of Three Boars’ dishes pack the same punch – stuffing a lot into a tiny space with delicious consequences. –Cory Haller
8424 109 St., 780-757-2600, threeboars.ca