It’s not hard to find Italian food here in Mississauga, or just about anywhere in the world, however finding truly great, authentic Italian food is a lot harder.

Thankfully, we’re here to do the hard work for you, and that’s why today’s restaurant spotlight is Scaddabush Italian Kitchen & Bar. The downtown restaurant specialises in Italian dishes and hearty atmosphere: “We’re inspired by Italian passion and generosity. We like tables crowded with friends and family. Style without attitude. And of course, excellent cuisine.”

Scaddabush is located at 209 Rathburn Road, right by Jack Astor’s and Cineplex in the city centre. The building is recognisable from Rathburn Road by its bold red lettering, which almost evokes The Flintstones. Right by the side of the building you’ll spot a spacious and relaxed patio. This outdoor eating area boasts a dozen (or so) tables, including a long table for parties and family dining. The patio is completed by canopies, beautiful flower arrangements, and subtle hanging lights.

Within the restaurant the mood lighting continues, and you’ll find a rustic theme, with wooden tables, brick walls, exposed pipes and vents, and the same hanging lights. It creates a relaxed but refined atmosphere; it could be casual or gourmet, depending on your purpose. As is surely the design principle, Scaddabush Italian Bar & Kitchen certainly evokes family dining in a European setting.

Now, we move on to the more important things: the food. Scaddabush may be an Italian restaurant but it also believes in freshness and modernity. “In true Italian fashion, we rely on fresh ingredients. Anything that we can make from scratch, we do. Our hand-stretched mozzarella is made-to-order everyday between 5pm-11pm. We also make our own pasta, focaccia bread, ½ lb signature meatballs, sauces and desserts – each and every day.” On top of the daily-made foods and ingredients, Scaddabush also adds a dash of the 21st century to classic dishes through unique spices, varied sides, and newer cooking methods.

Scaddabush’s menu is significant; much more-so than comparative restaurants. So to run down every item on the menu would be a mighty boring read, so I will pick a few items from sections of the menu and tell you about those. Know that the menu is pretty huge however, so if you head to the Italian Kitchen & Bar you’ll find lots of surprises.

Scaddabush is a popular lunch destination, particularly for businessmen and those who work in Square One Mall, therefore it’s hardly a surprise that the lunch menu is great! Calamari Fritti is flour-dusted calamari with salsa and aioli, and chilli Parmesan, for $14.25. Straight-Up Meatball is Scaddabush’s house-made meatballs, in the signature Sunday sauce, poor-man’s Parmesan, and fresh basil. You can also order the meatballs stuffed for an extra little something. A special shout-out to the Charity Bread appetiser however, which is delicious house-made bread, of which all the proceeds go to charity. Those are just a couple of lunch options, but Scaddabush also offers pizza’s, pasta, fresh mozzarella, soups, salads, sandwiches and more, as part of the menu.

Moving onto the dinner menu, you’ll find the same staples of pizza, pasta, appetizers and more. The signature dishes however, include Chicken Parmesan – panko crusted, fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce, Scaddabush spice, and Parmesan alfredo spaghetti – which makes for a nice twist on the classic dish, Crusted Snapper – Pan-seared potato Parmesan crusted, crispy rosemary potatoes, seasonal vegetables – a unique fish dish that you won’t find anywhere else, and Chicken and Bacon Penne Al Forno – Double smoked bacon, roasted chicken, mozzarella, roasted peppers, sweet peas, Arrabiatta cream sauce, fresh basil. The dinner menu options are all between $20-$30, however the Chicken and Bacon Penne Al Forno is only $17.

Of course, no dining experience would be complete without the dessert menu! Scaddabush offers a number of desserts, including speciality coffees, cognacs, ports and Grappa. As for the actual desserts though, you can order the Zeppole – deep fried dough, dusted with sugar, served with hazelnut sauce – Apple Ravioli – Sweet pastry, caramel apple filling, icing sugar, and caramel sauce – Tiramisu – Lady fingers, sweet marsala, espresso, mascarpone cream, cocoa – or Chocolate Toffee Jar Cake – Chocolate ganache, homemade sponge toffee, vanilla whipped cream, candied walnuts, and sea salt. Those are some amazing desserts and I personally have to recommend the Zeppole, if you’re like me and enjoy fried dough!

While the main menu’s are extensive and refined, Scaddabush also has a much more stripped-down and palatable kids menu, so everyone can find something they’ll enjoy!

Scaddabush is fine Italian food in a relaxed and casual setting, a place where families and friends can come to chat and laugh over some great cuisine. It’s the food you know and love but with new ingredients and unique variations. Located right in the heart of Mississauga, Scaddabush is a perfect option if you’re out on the town. How about heading over to the Cineplex and catching a flick, then finishing the night at Scaddabush? Sounds good to me.