We look at restaurants pretty regularly on here and often you know what to expect; fine dining in an upscale, formal restaurant that will cost a pretty penny but provide exemplary cuisine. Rogues restaurant is something a little different.
Rogues is located near Erin Mills, at 1900 Dundas Street West, and from the outside you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a quaint little Italian bistro. Rogues is actually an Italian/Mediterranean restaurant that prides itself on providing amazing food in a more relaxed environment than many of its contemporaries.
As you can see in the picture above, Rogues is a much brighter and casual space than most high-class restaurants. Now we’re not saying there is anything wrong with getting dressed up and heading to a fancy restaurant, but every now and again it’s nice to get the same quality of food without the formalities.
“While we’ve made great efforts to create an environment that’s elegant, we’ve also taken care not to make it too pretentious or stuffy. We want you to feel at home here.” That excerpt is from Rogue’s official website and the statement rings true; upon entering Rogue’s you’ll be greeted by professional staff and seated at a pristine table but the atmosphere is jovial and friendly. This is in part thanks to the kitchen.
Here we have another aspect of Rogues that sets it apart from most other restaurants: a live open kitchen. Rogues wears its kitchen on its sleeve, so to speak, with it being completely visible to diners at all times. Heck, customers often get up and go talk to the cooks as they prepare the meals, that’s how open the environment is. As someone who has worked in kitchens, I can tell you how incredibly unusual and impressive this is; it takes a mammoth amount of confidence in your facilities and staff to allow it to be visible at all times. However the benefits surely outweigh the drawbacks as it creates a very unique and homely atmosphere and the cooks are surprisingly cool and friendly at all times.
Enough gushing about the interior design and atmosphere though, let’s get down to brass tacks: the food. Like many of Ontario’s finest restaurants, Rogues prides itself on only using the finest ingredients, often locally sourced, which can often mean seasonal vegetables.
Kicking things off with lunch, Rogues boasts a surprisingly lengthy menu, although a lot of it does crossover with dinner. From Antipasta to Zuppa e Insalate (soups & salads), Homemade Pasta and Pietanze (regular dishes), Rogues offers an extensive list of food that hearkens back to the old country.
The Soup Of The Day is always a safe choice as it’s made fresh. The soup could be wildly different depending on the day, the cook, and the time of year, for example, Wild Asparagus in Spring, Watermelon in Summer, Leek & Turnip in the winter. Soups is a great starter to any meal because it warms you and gets your taste-buds ready for something savoury, without filling you.
Beyond the soup, Rogues offers some fantastic seafood in the form of Frutti di Mare or Lumache, both of which fall into the antipasta family and you can get them for under $20. If seafood isn’t your thing, I recommend the Vitello Parmagiana, which is breaded veal, topped with mozzarella and cooked in a tomato wine sauce.
From there we graduate to the dinner menu, where things really get going. As mentioned, many of the lunch options like antipasta and the soups are also part of the dinner menu, however it’s the main dishes that we’re going to focus on.
The dinner menu is generally priced around the $25-$40 mark, beginning with Filetto di Vitello, grilled veal tenderloin medallions and grilled shrimp in a red wine sauce with
mixed peppers and extra virgin olive oil. Veal isn’t for everyone’s taste but those who enjoy the meat will love this dish. Maybe it’s fish you’re after, in which case the Salmone (Italian spelling) will definitely entice. Amazing poached salmon in a smooth Chardonnay lemon lime butter sauce, served with spinach and tomato julienne. For the real meat lovers though, you can grab the Grilled New York Strip Loin with sautéed lemon herbal spãtzle, which is mouth-watering to even think about. This is my choice of meal and I have to recommend getting it cooked medium rare.
Once you’ve polished off your dinner and your starter, I’m sure you couldn’t take another bite. Well too bad, because you have to try the dessert menu! Impressively, Rogues offers seven different cheese dishes as a desserts, and we know how Italians love their cheese. You can grab as many of these local cheeses as you please, with the price settling at $21.95 for all seven.
If cheese isn’t your thing though, and it isn’t for this writer, you can order some ice cream, Almond Berry Tart, Citrus Cheesecake, Creme Brulee, or my favourite: Chocolate Mousse Cake. Every dessert costs $8.95.
The final step on our journey of Rogues menu is that of the wine list. I’ve been to and covered quite a few restaurants for YourSauga and I think I can say with relative confidence that I’ve never seen a wine list as extensive as Rogues. I really can’t even begin to cover just how much there is, so here is the link to the PDF of the entire list, which is 13 pages long by the way! They offer everything from Canadian red’s and whites, to Cabernet Sauvignon’s and champagne from across the globe. Thankfully, they also offer half bottles for those of us who only want a glass each.
Suffice to say that Rogues is a wine-lover’s dream. Furthermore it’s just a really fun, relaxed restaurant that serves amazing food but doesn’t expect you to wear a tuxedo and speak in hush tones. And sometimes that’s all we ask for. The menu is extensive and everything I’ve tried is genuinely fantastic, made by very personable and professional cooks. If you’re after some fancy foods but not a dimly lit fancy joint, Rogues might be the perfect place in Mississauga!