Sunday, 20 January 2013


Rustica, located at Upper Level, Trincity Mall, is a modern Italian restaurant, serving classic pasta dishes, paninis, salads, along with brick-oven pizzas. The restaurant is run by the proprietors of J.Malones; they share a kitchen, and a drinks menu.
One of my favourite elements of this restaurant is its calm ambiance. It is a lovely place to get away from the clamorous environment that is Trinicity Mall. The restaurant never seems to be crowded which allows for quicker service. However, they seem to be a bit understaffed, and the servers (or anyone at all) is often absent from the dining area of the restaurant. This may be inconvenient to some if they require additional service during the meal, but the servers do return mostly in a timely manner. However, this is not the norm, as I have visited this restaurant repeatedly and received good service. It may be a one time thing or it may signal that the service is worsening.

Steak at Rustica. Yes, it's as huge as it looks.

Being a repeat customer, I have tried a number of their appetizers and entrees. Some meals have been very good, others fair. Here's a brief account of some of the meals I have tried:

  • Appetizer: Meatball Sliders - Most definitely my favourite appetizer of choice. Three open faced meatball sandwiches, each with two meatballs each, served on foccacia, topped with marinara and cheese. It's very filling, best to be shared among three. 
  • Appetizer: Fried Calamari with Dipping Sauce - The sauce is delicious, compliments the calamari well and makes you want to keep eating. 
  • Appetizer: Chicken Tenders with Artichokes - I adore the fried artichokes, probably moreso than the chicken itself. The tenders and artichokes are lightly battered and very crispy.
  • Soup: Minestrone - The minestrone is light and refreshing but can be very filling as well. It could even be eaten as a main with a side salad.
  • Main Course: Sausage Baked Penne - Fantastic! Cheesy penne with sausage and chicken baked to form a nice crust on top. 
  • Pizza: Shrimp Alfredo - Pizza crust, sauce, ingredients are delicious... would like a bit more shrimp on the pizza though. Serves two.
  • Main Course: Chicken Piccata - Tangy lemon and caper sauce over grilled chicken breast and fettuccine. I love lemon/lime flavours and the tangyness of it, but it may be more of an acquired taste.
  • Dessert: Apple Crumble with Vanilla Ice Cream - One of my favourite desserts, I must admit. The apple crumble is served hot with the vanilla ice cream on top. A wonderful combination. It's pretty big though, so it's best to be shared since you wouldn't want to take away leftovers with melted ice cream on it.
The menu includes numerous vegetarian and pescatarian options such as the minestrone, three cheese lasagna, veggie pizza, eggplant parmesan, to name a few. I am unable to confirm any vegan or gluten-free options.

Shrimp Alfredo Pizza at Rustica

Most recent experience at Rustica:
Upon arriving, we were warmly greeted by the hostess, immediately seated and given menus. The server shortly returned to take our orders. However, the server seemed new and not very knowledgeable of the menu items including what was out of stock or unavailable. Once those issues were cleared, she took out order and headed to the kitchen. Unfortunately, she took quite a while to bring our drinks (all we asked for was water). After waiting a short while more, the appetizers came to our table. We did not receive any plates for our appetizers but then the server returned a minute after with the main course! At the same time! While we tried to eat the appetizer, our food was becoming chilled, so we were unable to finish our appetizers before starting the main course.
As always, the food was delicious. We ordered the seafood pasta (with shrimp and lobster in a cream sauce), the steak served over fettuccine Alfredo, and the Jerk Chicken Alfredo. Although the steak was cooked perfectly as requested (medium) it lacked a bit of seasoning. Just a tad more salt would've gone a long way, but our table did not have shakers. The Jerk Chicken pasta was more on the spicy side (moreso than the first time I tried it), but still very good, especially if you like spicy. The seafood pasta was good but did not contain a lot of shrimp and (imitation) lobster. We did not order dessert at this particular visit so we were ready for the bill shortly after.
The server had disappeared for a short while so we had to wait before asking for the bill. However, when she returned, the payment procedure was prompt. One brilliant thing about this restaurant is its prices. They are unbeatable.

Overall Experience: The overall experience was fair, though previously, the experience was much better.
Would you return?: I most definitely will return in the event that I am in the area, and craving some Italian. The food is most often very good, and though the service lacked a bit during my last experience, I may still give it another try, as the service has always been good before.

This is not intended as an official review; it's my personal opinion.


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  2. Only foodie I've had there is their veggie pizza. 1st 2 times I went it was great, the last time I went it was a little less great. So there is some inconsistency. But as you said, I love the ambience. I also love that we can order things form J Malones while in Rustica

    1. It's sad that most restaurants in Trinidad are like that. Very rarely do you find consistently good food/service.


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