We’ve been here before, and we’ll be here again – these guys know what they’re doing and we had the chance to try out some new dishes and connect with the restaurant on a more personal level this time around.
Smack dab in the middle of Toronto’s Little Italy, lives one of the longest standing restaurants in the area, Trattoria Giancarlo. For 30 years, this establishment has been serving up some of the most authentic and delicious Italian dishes one would be able to find in this city. Head chef and owner, Jason Barato was kind enough to sit down with the TasteToronto team after our meal and share some stories with us.
If you break it down (and we broke it down), there are two defining aspects about Trattoria Giancarlo: they’re serious about their pasta making, and even more serious about their local ingredients – “I want to source my ingredients here, because if you do things the Italian way that’s how you do it. Italy doesn’t source their ingredients from another country, they figure out how to do it there”. Proof of concept: Barato took a short 500 kilometre drive to Blythe, Ontario to source the best quality Italian flour he could get his hands on. We would be lying if we told you we couldn’t taste the difference between Giancarlo’s pasta and other pasta dishes we have come across over the years. You’ll see what we mean when you take that first bite into any one of their pasta dishes.
What separates Giancarlo from the pack is their simplicity and consistency. “We don’t try to overthink things here, we keep it simple with a basic idea and take it from there”, Barato explains. This practise isn’t too far off from how he and his family cook at home – Jason has 3 little sous chefs at home which he has begun to teach how to cook. Monday is pasta night at the Barato residence – this time it was Tagliatelle (by hand of course), cooked with a little butter and pasta water then tossed with some home-made pasta sauce and parmesan – he makes it sound too easy. Tuesday night is pizza night at the Barato’s – in my next life I want to be born as a Barato.
Freshly Made Ravioli
When it comes to the menu at Giancarlo you can bet you’ll have a hard time deciding what to go with. Chef did a lot of the heavy lifting for us and whipped up some classics along with some new offerings that he and his team have developed for 2017 – Lobster Gnocchi, Funghi & Angus Ravioli and Spaghetti all’Amatriciana, just to name a few.
Here’s the rundown on the food we tried:
Bruschetta with Garlic, Basil & Black Pepper
Beef Carpaccio with Cavalli Vinegar, Truffle Pesto & Parmigiano
Brown Butter & Sage Ravioli with Braised Angus and Funghi
Potato Gnocchi with Veal Ragu
$2 from every Spaghetti all’Amatriciana sold goes to the Amatrice Relief Effort
Veal Chop Marinated with Sangiovese Garlic & Rosemary
So, when do you use Trattoria Giancarlo? While some would keep this spot in their back pocket for special occasions, their fair price point opens it up to really any occasion. Any excuse to get yourself to Giancarlo is a good excuse. With Holiday Season around the corner, their party room is a perfect way to get your friends/family/coworkers together and share some delicious Italian fare. Give them a ring to book your Holiday dinner before they get booked up.
Visit their website: http://www.giancarlotrattoria.com/
Give them a ring: 416.533.9619