Words by Tara Pepper

Bobby and I may have stumbled upon my “new” favourite restaurant in Mississauga. Cagneys Restaurant and Wine Bar has been a family-owned fixture in the heart of Streetsville since 1974 and Bobby and I have been going there regularly for the last 20 years or so. It used to be a favourite lunch spot—their chicken wings and Caesar salad were the best around. Recently, the whole space was redesigned over a six-month period by the father-and-son owners and it’s now a beautifully stunning spot, guaranteed to make any occasion special.

The d?cor is modern and classy with huge chandeliers, but it’s also very comfortable—especially their booths. There is a lot of glass and they even kept the original round table in the centre of the dining room; it seats eight and would make for a great party table. The bar area is gorgeous as well, and would be wonderful for an after-work drink. Even the ambient music was great to listen to during lulls in the conversation.

We were greeted like old friends at the door and seated in one of those comfy booths. While we perused the drink menu, our server brought us warm fresh bread and honey butter. What a nice way to start the meal!

There were quite a few different appetizers ($7–24) I would love to try. For example, lamb spiducci are lamb skewers served with a mint gastrique; I love lamb and I’ll bet they are very good. Pickled beet salad with candied hazelnuts, deep-fried goat cheese and candy-cane red and-yellow beets sounds amazing topped with a tangerine vinaigrette. In the end, we decided toshare their signature Caesar salad ($10), and thank goodness they didn’t change that recipe from the original! Crisp, creamy, garlicky with shavings of nutty, salty Parmesan; it’s definitely a signature salad. Eat this and there will be no vampires in your vicinity for a long time.

We also had the arancini (rice balls stuffed with goat cheese (my fave), $12) and braised short rib served on top of maple celeriac pur?e. It was incredible—the tender, beefy, juicy meat was stuffed with molten goat cheese, wrapped with creamy rice and fried crisp. Now juxtapose that against a smooth celery-flavoured pur?e and the fresh crispness of a scallion slaw. Tell me that doesn’t sound amazing—my taste buds are dancing just thinking about it!

The mains ($17–56) included offerings to satisfy even the most finicky diners. There were several meat, pasta, seafood and chicken dishes to choose from, with each description more tantalizing than the next. Bobby opted for the lamb rack ($34) and was thrilled with his meal. Four tender and juicy chops, perfectly medium rare with a sauce delicately kissed with rosemary—it was romance on a plate. The redskin potatoes were mashed with the skins still on, giving them a lovely texture, and the crispy vegetables (fresh asparagus, ruby-red peppers, and heirloom carrots that were so sweet you’d think they were dipped in sugar) were perfect accompaniments to a wonderful meal.

It paired beautifully with the Hansen Cellars Old Vine Zinfandel ($48) we chose. The wine list was also impressive, and our server mentioned that Wednesdays are their premium wine nights, where very good bottles of wine are offered for half price. I can’t wait to go back and try something I’ve been wanting to sample for a long time. That’s another evening out waiting to happen.

For me, I decided to go for the Cuban lobster tails ($49) and was totally blown away with the huge fresh tails that were presented to me. They were tender, juicy and succulent in the way that only perfectly cooked lobster tails can be. There was way too much for me and even after sharing some with Bobby, I took enough home for lunch the next day! They were delicious, served with melted butter and the same sides Bobby had.

Cagneys has really raised the bar with their reimagined menu, and though I still crave their chicken wings every once in a while, this new direction makes me want to go back again and again to try everything.

We were really full after dinner, but when our server described the cheesecake ($9), we just had to try it. A crunchy chocolate cookie crust with whipped mascarpone cheese so fluffy and light it was like eating a cloud, and topped with cherry sauce—what more could you ask for? It was absolute decadence and something not to be missed!

If you’re looking for a marvellous spot for a special evening out, give Cagneys a try—you’ll be glad you did! I think it’s one of the very best restaurants in Mississauga, and you’ll be sure to find me there again!

Cagneys Restaurant and Wine Bar
128 Queen St. S.

Check out my weekly blog, Tara’s Tales and Tastings, on www.mississaugalife.ca. It’s published every Monday and contains articles about food, events, recipes and even the occasional rant when the mood strikes! Enjoy!