4.30 Stars – Overall Experience
4.00 Stars – Price
4.50 Stars – Service
4.25 Stars – Food
4.25 Stars – Atmosphere
Tomato Parmesan Soup
Gnudi alla Norma
Vanilla Ice Cream
MoCo Downtown Restaurant dishes up delicious Italian and local fare to hungry visitors and residents of Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. Check out our review to see why it’s worth stopping in for a bite if you’re in the area.
MoCo Downtown definitely boasts a modern rustic charm. Plenty of distressed wood and exposed bulbs to set the tone. It is very well laid out with cosy booths and tables. You can sit in the front to watch the bar action and people passing by in the street or opt for a more intimate setting in the main part of the restaurant. Romantic, family friendly or a great place to grab some good food and drinks with friends. A very warm and inviting atmosphere.
The east coast of Canada has a reputation for being exceptionally nice to visitors and MoCo Downtown definitely helped to keep up that impression. My server was new, but did a great job of making me feel welcome, answering all my questions and even chit chatting a bit to lighten the mood. The Manager also came by often to see how I was doing and was very friendly. The staff definitely made me feel like I had been coming to this spot for years.
Being a few months pregnant, I obviously couldn’t drink any alcohol, but I was more than happy to order a virgin cocktail instead. The Manager recommended I try their Mojito (made virgin for me) as the restaurant made its own mint syrup in house. Very refreshing drink with a nice hit of acid. I honestly didn’t miss the alcohol.
As I waited for my food to come, I was brought fresh bread with a herb oil dip. Usually this is pretty standard, but I have to say the oil was incredibly flavourful and it took a lot of restraint not to lick the plate clean. I started off with a soup (Tomato Parmesan Soup) and salad (Beet Salad) as I felt that I and the baby needed something healthy after a long day of travel. The salad was beautifully presented and very bright and colourful. My only complaint would be that the plate itself made it a bit difficult to eat without making it a mess (long and thin so no room for movement and mixing). The smooth and rich truffle goat cheese was nicely balanced by the burst of fresh citrus from the grapefruit segments. I could have used a bit more hazelnuts as they added great texture.
The soup was delicious, but not the prettiest in terms of presentation. Very flavourful and perfect for a cold rainy day.
Technically the main I chose was an appetizer, but with the two appetizers to start and the very generous portion size, it felt more than substantial enough. For those who are unfamiliar, Gnudi is very close in taste and texture to gnocci, but is usually a bit less dense thanks to its ricotta cheese base. And Alla Norma is a tomato, eggplant based sauce. The eggplant adds a nice fattiness that cuts through the acidity of the tomato. There was an excellent balance of flavours and the salsa-style sauce added a fresh feeling. I swooned over every bite!
To finish off the meal I decided to keep things simple with a vanilla ice cream. I had the option of either a salted caramel sauce or chocolate sauce and told the waiter to surprise me. He ended up going with the caramel and, boy, am I glad he did! I also loved the presentation in a martini glass.
There were plenty of options for me to choose on the menu that were vegetarian and the waiter was more than happy to confirm any concerns I had (aka was chicken or beef broth used in the soup for instance). Like most Italian restaurants, there is typically more than enough for a vegetarian to choose from.
After tax and tip, the meal came to $42, which I thought was more than reasonable for a mocktail, 3 dishes and dessert (now that I list it out I kind of feel like a bit of a pig LOL). The quality of food was good and everything tasted very fresh so it as well worth the price tag.
Time of Snack: 6:00 pm
Date: Sat April 30th, 2018
For more information be sure to visit their website at http://www.mocodowntown.ca