It set up shop in 2010 and has been humming ever since. Town was among the first restaurants to bring fine dining to Elgin, rescuing this part of the street from its Eurostar legacy (a late-night hangout that offered cheap drinks and bland grub).
Rather, Town is an upscale, modern space with leather-backed booths, high tables, cool lighting, and a large window looking out onto Elgin; though small, it’s a perfect place for rubbing elbows and enjoying the hum of a crowded, bustling space.
Co-owner/executive chef Marc Doiron and chef du cuisine Alex Johnstone run a tight ship (crucial, now that the kitchen is shared with sister restaurant Citizen next door). Their concise Italian menu is laid out on a large blackboard, offering ingredients atypical to the European peninsula’s traditional cookbook: pumpkin seeds, chipotle ranchero sauce, and sumac, for instance.
Small plates can be as simple as a dish of warm olives or as complex as a crab risotto. The refreshing green salad is dressed beautifully: Little Gem lettuce, a compact romaine, has lively additions of walnuts, grapes, and Cheddar. Lusciously stuffed with ricotta and Parmigiano, Town’s meatballs have always been a menu high point. Large plates include Cornish hen, trout, and eggplant lasagna. Rustic cavatelli, nice and chewy, come in a sauce rich with house-made sausages. Crispy pangrattato (essentially sautéed bread crumbs) provides contrast.
The food is consistently excellent; the service is timely and warm. Whatever reputation this part of Elgin once had is gone; Town has established a new bar.