Profiled: Trattoria Giancarlo
Trattoria Giancarlo is THE restaurant you want to go to on date night or for a group dinner when you are craving a truly special Italian meal. It is classy yet intimate, sophisticated yet rustic, and the food is simply phenomenal.
“Why must every Italian restaurant be authentic?” Chef Jason Barato asks us, “Why can’t it have personality, like Toronto?”.
Jason was trained in Italy, and creates the menu with his mother Eugenia, a self-taught cook who started the restaurant in Little Italy over 30 years ago. It has been a staple ever since with a very loyal following. The difference between his classic Italian restaurant-style cooking and her affinity for home cooking creates a push-and-pull that adds a distinctive twist to their dishes. They constantly strive to be different from your typical dishes and do so in such a creative and unique way.
For example, carpaccio is normally served raw with olive oil, and often frozen so that a machine can create paper thin slices. At Eugenia’s insistence, Jason instead pansears the strip of never-frozen, dual-aged tenderloin, and then hand carves it into slightly thicker slices. The result is a succulent carpaccio with hints of toasted peppercorn. It is served with almost identically-sized slices of Parmigiano and drizzled with a truffle oil pesto made from imported truffles and oyster mushroom stock. An absolute must-try.
The pasta is freshly made (of course) and cooked perfectly al dente – whether it’s the Farfalle pasta simmered with prosciutto in a rich brandy-parmigiano cream sauce, the Spaghettini with a surprisingly light veal ragu, or the Ravioli stuffed full with angus beef. They are all simply delicious which makes it extremely hard to choose a favourite. All of them must be sampled.
For all you wine lovers out there, the wine list and selection is out of this world. It is an entire experience on its own. When choosing your bottle for the evening, you are taken through the hallways of the restaurant that have wine cabinets around the outside. Here you can select the perfect bottle with the knowledgeable staff present informing you on which will pair well with your upcoming meal.
Finally, you should order their molten chocolate cake, which is drizzled with a fantastic sea salt caramel sauce and punctuated by pieces of melt-in-your-mouth chocolate truffles.
There are lots of Italian restaurants in Little Italy, but Giancarlo hits a soft spot in our hearts with it’s great atmosphere and great food. If you have not experienced Giancarlo, do so as soon as possible. You will thank us later and your stomachs will thank you even more! Bon Appetite!
Check out some of their hottest dishes:
Bruschetta – Grilled bread rubbed with garlic and basil, seasoned with cracked black pepper and extra virgin olive oil.
Funghi – Baked mushrooms, balsamic vinaigrette over grilled polenta with Parmigiano
Polpo – Pot braised octopus thinly sliced, garnised with oven dried cherry tomatoes in a balsamic-sweet onion vinaigrette
Melanzane – Thick slices of grilled eggplant layered with goat cheese and baked with thyme infused olive oil
Carpaccio – Beef tenderloin, thinly sliced, Cavalli vinegar, black truffle pesto & Parmigiano shavings
Ragu – Spaghettini tossed with house made Bolognese veal ragu
Parma – Farfalle simmered with portabella and prosciutto in a tomato, brandy-Parmigiano cream
Ravioli – Brown butter and sage sauce over hand made ravioli stuffed with braised angus and funghi topped with grated Parmigiano
Crostata – warm caramel, apples baked to order, in a flaky pie dough topped gelato
Congelato – house made vanilla bean ice cream
Cioccolato – Warm, soft centre chocolate cake, sea salt caramel