When my dining buddy and I walked up to Chalet Ticino, I did not know what to expect. It is a little spot in an outdoor strip mall, right next to an Indian grocery store. They specialize in Swiss/Italian food, which I had never tried before. As soon as we walked in I was charmed, and the charm kept coming throughout our meal.
We were greeted by the kind, old-school Swiss owner, who told us his restaurant has been there for 20 years. Once we sat down, the owner went over some wines that he recommended. All of the wines are $28 per bottle. In the Bay Area world of fancy wine, it is nice to go somewhere with a simple yet varied selection of European table wine. We selected a 2007 Côtes du Rhône, which proved to be quite nice.
The menu features traditional Italian appetizers, a variety of pasta dishes, and several Swiss specialties: Fondue, Raclettes, and Rosti, to name a few. We opted to start with Bruschetta. We were treated to three separate crostini, served with a steak knife to facilitate the sharing of the dish. The trio of toppings consisted of a spicy eggplant and tomato spread, brie with toasted garlic and grapes, and a tomato and basil salsa. All were wonderfully prepared, and none too alike, giving us a nice variety of flavors.
For our entrées, we shared the Chicken Milanese, and the Rosti con Salmoné. The chicken was coated in almonds, lightly fried, and served with roasted mushrooms and gnocchi in a white wine and butter sauce. The rosti was served as a shredded potato patty topped with smoked salmon, red onion, caper, and an absolutely delicious seasoned crème fraiche. The portions were very generous, and the food was to die for. I felt like there was a Swiss-Italian mama in the kitchen, and we were her favorite people in the world.
We finished our meal with a scoop of Lime Sherbet—the perfect digestif. I would return to Chalet Ticino tomorrow, if I could. I can’t wait to bring friends to this cute, warm little spot.
Occupation: Director of Finance
Favorite Restaurant: Lanna Thai
Reviewed Chalet Ticino: Sunday, December 22, 2013
The evening started with a warm welcome from Chalet Ticino’s owner and host. Every table had a freshly cut rose in a thin vase and a votive candle that set the tone for a memorable evening.
We first enjoyed a wonderful full-flavor House Salad that was glistened by a lightly sweet and caramelly balsamic dressing and accented by exquisite cherry tomatoes. The house salad was complemented by homemade sourdough bread that we dipped into a delicate olive oil and a generous serving of savory poultry-stock based Minestrone Soup. The combination of light starters and the soothing live music performed by a talented keyboardist set the pace for a memorable experience.
Next on our culinary escapade were the Crab Cakes smothered in a lyrical red pepper coulis and Prawns drizzled by a magnifique pesto. The remaining pesto and red pepper coulis was quickly sopped up by the warm sourdough bread.
The duck breast was succulent with a lightly crispy skin and paired with a brash mushroom risotto. The generously-portioned and fresh Salmon was paired with scrumptious garlic mashed potatoes. The Petrale Sole was quite possibly the best that I have had in any restaurant – buttery, rich, lemony, and full of fresh flavor. The firm and lightly salted fresh veggies were a perfect complement to the rich and buttery Petrale sole.
We cleansed our palate with Lime Sorbet and a gloriously creamy Spumoni that featured a surprise of cherry fruit at the bottom of the delicious scoop.
The only challenge with Chalet Ticino is that the restaurant is so popular that the tables are packed in somewhat tightly. The group sitting behind us bumped into my chair a few times before we finally needed to scoot our table further away.