Vaughan’s new Giro D’Italia Ristorante specializes in authentic Italian fare.
Featuring antipasti, salads, made-from-scratch pastas, pizzas, mains and house-made desserts, you’ll also find panuozzo – a traditional Neapolitan sandwich made with pizza dough.
The real deal
You won’t however, find any chicken parmesan, Caesar salad or alfredo sauce on the menu. That’s because none of these dishes are authentic to Italy, says General Manager Michele Pellegrini.
“If you come here, you eat true Italian food,” he says. “It’s very important for us that we give a big challenge for the customer.” So expect notes of saffron (it’s very popular in Italy in risotto) and truffles (a delicacy of the mushroom variety).
Pizzas are Neapolitan-style made with “00” flour. Cooked in a stunning copper-covered oven, they’re thicker on the edge, with a thinner middle and “a little bit wet.” Flat-iron steaks are served sliced, the way it’s done in Italy.
Most of the ingredients are imported from Italy, including the burrata, brought in weekly.
Even the cocktails are specific to the boot-shaped country with a focus on Fernet, Annisette and Aperol. And 85 per cent of the wines on the list are Italian.
Practically the entire staff is from Italy including chef Claudio Tentenni (an executive chef in Italy for 15 years, he worked at 3-Michelin star restaurant Le Calandre in Padua, and received his Red Seal certification in Canada), sous chef Wilbur DeDase, as well as GM Pellegrini. Even the servers are second or third generation Italian.
Passage to Italy
“Giro D’Italia” means “tour of Italy,” and every month, a different region is featured on a special menu including appetizer, pasta, pizza, main dessert and wine (the regions are painted on the back wall of the restaurant). This month shines the spotlight on Tuscany, while December’s all about Trentino Alto Adige.
A room with a view
The dining room is spectacular.
Seating for 65, with room at the bar (real marble from Toscana), the space gives you an all-access view to pizza chef Mattia Pagliara at the copper pizza oven from Tuscana – with imaginative copper colander chandelier hanging above – and chef Tentenni at the pass.
Pellegrini says, “We went over the concept of ‘open kitchen.’ We have an ‘open restaurant.’”
The 22-foot ceilings might make for a noisy experience elsewhere, but extra padding was added to absorb noise. Even in the kitchen, it’s quiet compared to many establishments.
Chairs were inspired from Veneto and the tables are from Canada. A mix of brick, marble, wood and expansive windows are an engaging backdrop to the made-from-scratch regional fare.
Giro D'Italia Ristorante (16-8740 Jane St.) accommodates 65 guests for dine in for lunch Monday to Sunday and dinner Thursday to Sunday. Takeout is also available.
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