Hidden on Farmington Avenue, opposite Chipotle, adding onto the many different types of food establishments in West Hartford is a fantastic Mediterranean restaurant called Arugula. When you walk in, everything about it screams a traditional restaurant in Greece. It is small, but home-like, and you can see part of the kitchen which I enjoy because it gives me the pleasure of having a home cooked meal while eating out.
The vibe of the restaurant is elegant but not in the sense that it’s fine dining. It has an ambiance with the warm colors on the wall, and the lighting is dim and calm.
The food was nothing short of fantastic. We ordered an appetizer, a pizza, three entrees, and a dessert to top it all off. So to begin we ordered the grilled calamari, which I had actually never tried before. The calamari itself was well seasoned and tasted great, but unfortunately I discovered that I do not like grilled calamari. I do not like the texture of it. It. was too chewy for me, but that is how it was supposed to be cooked. I did, however, eat it anyways because it tasted really good.
Next onto the pizza, we ordered the burrata flatbread pizza which had burrata, speck (a smoked pepper cured prosciutto), crushed tomatoes, and basil. I loved everything about this pizza. Prosciutto is one of my favorite things to eat along with pizza, so the two combined was heaven. Burrata is difficult because most times it is runny and very liquidy, but this burrata had the perfect consistency to be topped on a pizza.
You could tell by the taste that it was fresh mozzarella. The flatbread was thin, so it was not filling and did not become soggy, which is always enjoyable.
The three entrees we ordered were the filet mignon of tuna, the Atlantic salmon, and the Mediterranean fish fry. The filet mignon of tuna was a seared sushi-grade tuna on a bed of sauteed baby spinach and oven roasted tomatoes, topped with a sesame ginger glaze. The tuna itself did not have much flavor, but it did not need it because the glaze was delightfully tasteful and complemented not onto the tuna but the vegetables underneath.
Next was the Atlantic Salmon. The Atlantic Salmon was served on a potato plank, topped with a mushroom, tomato, artichoke, and chickpea “mélange” tossed with a warm Sherry shallot vinaigrette and garnished withtasty grilled asparagus. This whole meal was as good as it sounds. Everything was cooked perfectly, and the flavors paired so nicely with the salmon.
Finally was the Mediterranean fish fry which was a cumin and panko-dusted fried swai (type of white fish) served alongside greens, salt and vinegar fries and house made horseradish tartar sauce. The only thing that I did not like about this meal was the tartar sauce, mainly because it was very heavy on the horseradish, and that is not my particular favorite type of condiment, but it wasn’t bad. Although the fish was fried, it was not deep fried so it was still light and not filling after the first two bites. The seasoning had enriched it with so much flavor. Also the salt and vinegar fries were something in my life I never knew I needed. They were seasoned impeccably; it was not too strong and had an amazing flavor.
Finally, my favorite part of the meal, the dessert. We ordered a special called Kunafa. It was shredded phyllo dough with an orange blossom syrup, layered with mascarpone cheese, topped with pistachio nuts and a scoop of fresh homemade pistachio ice cream.
It was light, crunchy, and sweet and could be shared between two people. It was heaven. It melted in your mouth, and the ice cream was to die for.
Arugula takes reservations, is located at 953 Farmington Ave, West Hartford, Conn. 06107 and can be contacted at (860) 561-4888.