Urban renewal fascinates me so I was keen to check out and see what Esca Gourmet Pizza & Bar had done with the old LCBO across from City Hall in Cornwall Ontario.
I brought a powerful lawyer with me just in case. I jest, lawyers like to eat too and my learned companion offered some keen insights and contrasted my selections.
Esca is not a space if you’re looking for dark shadows and nooks to hide away for a private tete a tete. It’s spacious and open. It’s a place to been seen from it’s lovely patio, or the open bar restaurant eating area.
The colours are pleasing, seating comfortable, including for those of us that are above average in size, and the staff attentive.
Esca is not a big box frozen food cookie cutter joint. The menu is focused on fresh foods, especially the ingredients on the pizzas.
I enjoyed the Tapas like offerings which hover around the $5.00 mark which begs for a variety of tasting.
First up was a lovely beef Bresaola. All of the offerings came with some yummy fig jam to complement the salt or spice. My only issues with the tapas were the rice crackers and that they used the same olives no matter which plate you offered, and that the menu didn’t offer a description of what each item was or some description which can lead to lengthy questions of the wait staff.
We tried the Brie offering as well. I think that if you’re going to keep the portions small then the cheese should arrive sliced into more slices to fill the tray as the two portions on our board left space which begged to be filled.
Esca offers an interesting array of salads ($10.50 – $13.50) Their dinner menu has more offerings than their lunch menu.
The prices are not for the budget conscious though. You are paying for the real estate. There’s always a balance though between price and value. Paying a premium isn’t a bad thing if feel you’re getting value.
We focused on the pizza as it’s Esca’s calling card, but they do offer pasta, steak, burgers, and other entrees at night.
The beer prices are quite friendly and I added a Beau’s Lug Tread to my meal ($5.75). The wine prices seemed a smidge on the heavy side.
I ordered the LYSSIE pizza which was a large enough pie. Some people like thick dough, some like thin. Clearly Esca is going to be competition for the Schnitzel’s pizza crowd.
The LYSSIE promised Goat Cheese, Portobello mushrooms, broccoli confetti, soppressata (spicy pork), and tomato.
The two reasons I chose this selection is that I love spice and I love mushrooms, especially muskier dark offerings like a portobello.
My pie was lovely, but as you can see in the picture was a little less mushroom centric than one would hope for a key ingredient selection. Both of us enjoyed both pies.
My companion’s pizza offered lots of yummy Prosciutto with smatterings of Arugula to balance the flavour.
Our bill for our lunch which included two pizzas, 3 tapas, and two beverages came out to about $75 before gratuity.
Here are ratings for Esca Gourmet Pizza & Bar Ontario
Zing & Wow 4.0
Overall 4.0 Red Hats Out of Five
Esca Gourmet Pizza & Bar is at 317 Pitt Street in beautiful downtown Cornwall Ontario.
You can also reach them at 613 935 5333
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