Last night I went to Massimo Capra's restaurant (in Toronto), Mistura. This was my second visit to this restaurant and, as was my experience on the first visit, I had a wonderful meal.
I mainly note this because of the fact that I am normally fairly dubious about celebrity chefs like Capra. Capra writes in the Globe (not too time consuming) and also appears regularly on Restaurant Makeover where he is an affable mentor to a any number of struggling cooks. There is nothing in his television presence to give a clear picture of what a dab hand Capra is at creating meals that flavourful yet delicate and a space that is interesting without being domineering.
This is a good night out experience -- don't plan to go there for your budget meal. The food is interesting without being freakish. The atmosphere is light enough to feel comfortable, yet tranquil enough to allow for conversation. There is no sense of being rushed -- which is a good thing when the food deserves to be lingered over (which is normally hard for someone like me who generally wolfs their food). The service was pleasant, helpful and informative -- when we asked what gave the duck its flavour the waiter explained and even brought out a bottle of the exotic preserved fruit from Cremona that was used to flavour the skin. Everyone on the staff (including Massimo who was sitting at the bar tasting some new terrines) seemed to be enthusiastic about the food and about seeing the customers arrive to enjoy the food.