Review: Diamante – Yellowknife, NWT
1-483 Range Lake Road, Yellowknife – Website
Date of Visit: October, 2015
I have wanted to try Diamante for quite a while now, but my schedules on other visits to Yellowknife have never allowed it until now. I did read one rather discouraging Zomato review of the place but I am happy to report that my experience was much better…
Ambience and Service
The interior of Diamante is quite plain but still elegant and it has a softly lit ambience that is quite intimate and pleasant. I was a little unfortunate in my choice of seat near the door that left me a bit chilly at times but the rest of the place seems very cozy. There is a well-stocked bar (and a pretty extensive list of martini’s and cocktails with pictures is supplied, and the floor space just in front of the bar is taken up with a grand piano.
The service at Diamante was excellent all throughout the meal. I was greeted by a very friendly and chatty waitress when I arrived at about 5pm and she managed to remain attentive even after the place filled up. As always, I told my server that I wished to have a drink before choosing my first selection but, unlike so many other places, she didn’t keep popping up every thirty seconds asking if I was ready to order. She never allowed my glass to remain empty but pretty much left me alone until I signaled I was ready for a different course.
Diamante describes its Dinner Menu as being Italian and Mediterranean. Actually, other than a Veal Scaloppini and six pasta dishes, I didn’t really see much else in the way of Italian specialties. Surprisingly, however, before I ordered, I saw a young lady enter the restaurant with a Pizza warmer under her arm and head for the kitchen. I asked about this, since Pizza is not on the menu, and I was told that this restaurant is jointly owned along with Sam’s Monkey Tree Pub next door and they share the kitchen.
Beef Carpaccio – This consisted of ultra-thin, almost raw slices of good quality beef served with a selection of breads and a sauce described as a ‘Balsamic caramel, horseradish and Dijon’ blend. The beef was excellent but the sauce, while very nice, was just a bit too much. It lacked much horseradish taste (which would have improved it) and was just a little too sweet for me. As I say, it was very tasty but it should probably be used more sparingly, or with thicker slices of beef. One interesting addition were some odd little things on top that I took, at first, to be capers. When I put my glasses on, their slightly flaky, brown appearance made me think of dried Porcini and my waitress had to tell me that they were actually capers that had been deep-fried. I have never seen this done before and I thought they were a great addition. I gave this inventive take on a classic a solid 4 out of 5.
Crab cakes – These two small balls were served with a mango salsa and a chili lime aioli and were, too mind, the perfect size and amount for an appetizer plate. The balls were well formed and not so finely processed as to deprive the delicate crab meat of its sweeter notes. The seasoning was excellent and I found that the rosemary sprigs inserted into each left just a hint of flavor that was very nice. The Aioli was pleasant enough, although I didn’t like the pairing with crab, while the mango salsa was a very good, if slightly over-sweet accompaniment. In truth, however, I found the cakes just perfect with only a little squeeze of lemon and I gave the result a 5 out of 5.
Duck confit bundle – This consisted of duck confit enclosed in phyllo with a spice caramel sauce. I tried it at the suggestion of my waitress but, unfortunately, it didn’t really suit me well. The duck was very tender and juicy but it had a rather ‘warmed-over’ blandness. I fancied I detected a hint of cinnamon somewhere in the background but the filling really needed something more robust; possibly in the way of sage, thyme, or possibly even a little rosemary. The sauce was a sweet reduction that was nicely done but, though the dish was pretty well executed, it lacked sparkle and I only rated it at a 3 out of 5.
Diamante turned out to be a very decent restaurant with well-cooked and presented dishes. The ambience was pleasant and the service excellent. It is worth vising again. I rate it at a 4 out of 5.