Scopa Italian Roots
The light glowing from behind the immense bar at Scopa Italian Roots could act like a beacon for passersby, luring them in with the promise of expertly crafted cocktails. The rich wooden furnishings and warm brick walls exuding warmth and welcome once you step through the door. The scents of oregano, freshly-grated parmesan, and grilled meats heavy on the air, awakening the tastebuds. Like we said, it could draw people in – in fact, it can and does (who could resist?). But that doesn’t mean those passersby are going to get to eat, imbibe and enjoy Scopa’s offerings; reservations here are still de rigeur, years after it threw open its casually elegant front doors.
And it’s not hard to see why. Antonia Lofaso – the kitchen mastermind at Scopa Italian Roots and a veteran of Top Chef – has crafted a crowd-pleasing menu. There’s the hot arancini, served and studded with everything from meat sauce to mozzarella. Crisp calamari, coloured deep black from the squid ink. Whole Branzino seasoned lightly with a whisper of lemon, basil and fennel fronds. A whole host of homemade pasta dishes, including rigatoni and vodka sauce and pasta shells stuffed with duck sausage, ricotta and mozzarella. And plenty of meat dishes, like the 24oz. T-bone or veal Milanese.
Many of the plates are small, with a share-and-share-alike mentality encouraged, although there’s plenty to structure a more singular meal around as well. But you’ll certainly want to go in on a bottle of wine with your fellow diners, as the list is, while well-curated and extensive, also expensive. Regardless, it’s the cocktails that prove to be the perennial favourites at Scopa Italian Roots. Try a West Side (vodka, orgeat, mint, cucumber, lime and angostura bitters) or their house Negroni as an accompaniment to your fine Italian fare. Or choose one of the handful of draft or bottled beers and prepare for a good time.