Sirenella, Charlottetown.

September 2014.

NOTE: we returned in 2015 and understood that this lovely little spot was about to close.

Taken to this delightful authentic Italian spot by local-resident friends, I was dazzled by the delicious food and comforting atmosphere. A great find in this lovely old small city.

The room is low-ceilinged and not at all large, but complex in its floor plan so that one is visually exposed only to another few tables. We sat by a pleasant low window, and I felt instinctively soothed by the physical surroundings and relieved by the lack of noise, although the place was less than half-full. There was a sense of effortless comfort and needs about-to-be-met that reminded me of Bibou in Philadelphia.

Server was a very cheerful young middle-aged man with a dynamite self-effacing sense of humour. He recommended and brought a bottle, then another, of Teroldego Mezza Corona Riserva, apparently from the east-of-Piedmont northern Italian home of the restaurant owner. Teroldego is a new varietal for me, and the wine was fragrant, a bit barolo-like in mouth feel, and definitely worth at least twice the $37 price in any restaurant I’ve ever been in.

We shared around our starters, mine a complex and somehow consoling ravioli filled with lobster, ricotta, brandy in a cream sauce containing a hint of rich cheese. Smoked salmon was tender and packed with flavor, and carpaccio granular and tasty. I seemed determined to have lobster here in PEI so ordered it and it was fresh and perfectly cooked, not easy to accomplish I can attest to by repeated experience. Others had more traditional Italian fare from the very interesting varied menu. Two of us shared a tiramisu (I think it was) sweet and appropriately alcoholic.

The owner who dropped by the table with a quick deferential greeting knows his value. I can’t imagine the real estate imposes crushing overhead, and the prices are certainly big-city, but completely justified by the lovely food. I would go back in a flash and may well do so as I have to be in Charlottetown from time to time, although I think there are several other great spots there I’m looking forward to trying. Food 8.9, service 8.6, ambience 9.0, value 7.5.


About John Sloan

John Sloan is a senior academic physician in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, and has spent most of his 40 years' practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He is the author of "A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly", published in 2009 by Greystone Books. His innovative primary care practice for the frail elderly has been adopted by Vancouver Coastal Health and is expanding. Dr. Sloan lectures throughout North America on care of the elderly.
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