What’s on the menu at Amano, a sit-down Italian restaurant in the newly renovated Union Station

What’s on the menu at Amano, a sit-down Italian restaurant in the newly renovated Union Station

Name: Amano
Contact: Union Station, 65 Front St. W., 647-350-0092, eatamano.com, @eat.amano
Neighbourhood: Financial District
Owners: Yannick Bigourdan (Carbon Bar, Union Chicken), Michael Angeloni, Adam Teolis (Union Chicken) and Dan Kennedy
Chefs: Michael Angeloni (Union Chicken) and Alec Algu (Omaw)

The food

“This is the restaurant I’ve wanted to open since I was kid making pasta in my nonna’s basement,” says Angeloni while reminiscing about how he used to hang pasta from the clothes drying rack. As a second generation Canadian, who happens to be half Italian, Angeloni’s a non-conformist when it comes to Italian food, so while the dishes are Italian, many of the ingredients (like black sesame, jalapeño, rice vinegar and tahini) are not.

The menu is divided into three parts: antipasti, pasta and salads. Instead of listing the different noodles by their Italian names, the Amano menu gets playful. Rigatoni, for example, are “fat tubes,” while lasagna is listed as “the brick.” “I love it when people order a plate of fat tubes—I laugh every time,” says Teolis, who thought this would make the menu more accessible. “This way, people wont be embarrassed when they can’t pronounce campanelle or agnolotti.”

These pear-and-pancetta arancini have a molten smoked provolone centre. They’re topped with a drizzle of burnt honey and some rosemary. $8.

 

Snapper crudo and cider-pickled mussels in a yogurt-dill sauce. $9.

 

This take on the classic prosciutto-melon combo adds chili, mint and olive oil to slices of compressed and pickled cantaloupe. $9.

 

For this Italian take on goma-ae (a Japanese cooked spinach salad) Angeloni tops chilled rapini with a tahini-anchovy sauce and a sprinkle of black sesame seeds. $6.

 

Black Trumpets: cuttlefish-ink campanelle with Dungeness crab, pancetta and mustard seed. $22.

 

Fat Tubes: rigatoni, topped with a Bolognese sauce made from pork, beef and pancetta, with white wine, a touch of tomato sauce (Angeloni’s nonna’s recipe) and some milk. “The milk gives it a caramelized, nutty flavour,” says Angeloni. $17.

 

Pope Hats: These tortelloni are filled with mascarpone and topped with slow-roasted lamb shoulder. $21.

 

Pillows: butternut squash-stuffed agnolotti topped with amaretti crumbs and fried sage. $16.

 

An agnolotti-making Angeloni.

 

The drinks

The wine list starts in Sicily and works its way north, finishing with a Piedmont bottle made from Barbera grapes. The Italian-dominated card is rounded out with a few Canadian options done in Italian styles (think Nebbiolos and Ripassos made with Ontario-grown grapes). Cocktails are of the classic kind, with a focus on Canadian spirits, like Ungava gin.
 

The space

The 2,600-square-foot room is entirely open concept. From the pasta makers folding pope hats in the window, to the kitchen surrounded by a clutch of seats looking in on the action, nothing is tucked away. “We have zero storage—what you see here are the ingredients we’re using,” says Angeloni pointing towards an antique bakers’ rack currently being used to store onions and squash. The dining room can seat 56 guests, but there’s also a cafe for quick takeaway. Although this is the first full-service restaurant to open in Union Station, there’s a big emphasis on grab-and-go options, which include sandwiches, canned house sauces and ready-to-eat lasagna.

The takeaway counter.
Commuters pause to watch the pasta-makers.

 

Left to right: Bigourdan, Angeloni and Teolis.