Malena 120

Malena, the new Avenue and Davenport darling, that took over the space of the Pink Pearl is a good addition to the the strip known for it's abundance of cheap flowers shops.  David Minicucci one of the owners is also co-owns it's neighbor, L'Unita, has menus inspired by Southern Italy and Greece with a focus on les fruits de mer (seafood).  Dimmed candlelight make this restaurant intimate and elegant without a pretentious air which is reflected in it's clientele it serves.  The customers are not the hipster urban types you see out on the town but more of a refined group of sophisticates .

We arrive at 8pm and the service gives us enough attention so we do not feel like they are intruding on a long awaited catchup with my girlfriend Deanne.  We sip processo while waiting for our three dinner options to arrive including two seafood appetizers and one house made pasta dish which will believed would satisfy our appetites.
We start with oysters on the half shell listed on the menu as Rodney's finest and choice is based on availability so the selection of the evening are ones from the East cost.  They came accompanied by lemon wedge, a shallot vingrette, and a house made hot sauce which had kick but didn't pack a huge punch.
We then ordered the fritto misto plate which came with an array of deep fried tiny shrimps, calamari, haddock and crispy gigante beans (a bean dish originating in Greece, translated as giant beans).  The gigantes were really unique as they popped inside your mouth and they were a yummy flavour. 

Finally we tried the gnudi that was served with rabbit on a bed of sauteed greens in a creamy sauce topped with slivers of deep fried onions.  This was an interesting combo as the rabbit made the dish sweet while the gnudi was tender and savory and the slivers of onions had a good crunch for texture.  I would definitely have to come back and try another of their house made pasta dishes.   The portions here are not huge but it was enough to fill our bellies and appetites. 

However after looking at the menu for dessert, we couldn't resist trying the greek honey ‘loukoumades’ which bring me back to my travels in Greece.  They were crispy fried doughnuts that were perfect puffs of air, slathered in greek honey, served with pistachios & cinnamon crema dipping sauce.  They were dollops of heaven. 
All in all, it was a lovely catch up dinner as we realized we were the only patrons left when we looked around. But out came another dessert with a candle as we casually told the waiter earlier in the evening it was a birthday catch up which was truly a nice touch.  It was a nice scope of rich dark chocolate gelato with preserved cherries, which was similar to a decadent black forest cake.  
What a good way to continue my birthday week of dinners and decadence!
*** Stars
120 Avenue Road (South of Davenport)
416 964 0606 
Malena on Urbanspoon

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