Friday, September 25, 2015

Trattoria Giancarlo: Classic Italian Cuisine in Little Italy

Located in the heart of Toronto's Little Italy, this intimate Italian trattoria at the corner of College and Clinton, has been a long time favourite among Toronto's dining cognoscenti for over 30 years. Executive chef and co-owner Eugenia Barato is the culinary heart of Trattoria Giancarlo, serving classic Italian cuisine, from homemade pasta, luscious risottos, succulent seafood, and Grigliate such as rack of lamb, aged bone-in veal chops and whole fish stuffed with herbs and fresh lemon and and finished with extra virgin olive oil. Inspired antipasti such as grilled polenta with baked mushrooms or flash seared beef carpaccio dressed with black truffle balsamic are popular favourites, but what keeps me coming back is Eugenia's sunny-hued Tagliatelle Limone simmered in a Parmigiano-Reggiano and lemon buttercream — delizioso!

View of the kitchen brigade from outside

Soft lighting, linen tablecloths, great wine list and solid menu of Italian classics make 
Trattoria Giancarlo hard to resist

A collection of vintage martini shakers were on display above our table

Bruschetta as grilled bread rubbed with garlic and basil, seasoned with cracked black pepper, 
and extra virgin olive oil with a small bowl of rosemary scented olives

Pot braised octopus, thinly sliced, garnished with oven dried cherry tomatoes in a 
white balsamic-sweet onion vinaigrette

Giancarlo's Carpaccio as lightly seared beef tenderloin, thinly sliced with Cavalli vinegar, black truffle pesto and Parmigiano shavings

Zuppa del Giorno: Tomato with Poached Egg

A 2008 Brunello di Montalcino selected from Trattoria Giancarlo's wine wall

Lombata: Aged, bone-in veal chop marinated with Sangiovese and rosemary, 
served with sautéed green beans, rapine and eggplant

Tagliatelle alla Limone in a Parmigiana and Lemon Buttercream Sauce

Costata: 5 Week Aged Rib Steak, boldly seasoned with seas salt and pepper then chargrilled

Pink and juicy and perfectly grilled

House made Vanilla Gelato with a sliver of Vanilla Bean

Fichi: Dried Figs poached in red wine-cinnamon syrup with Parmigiano shavings


Funghi al Forno 
(Oven-Baked Mushrooms)
Serves 4-6
Recipe courtesy of Eugenia Barato, chef/owner of Trattoria Giancarlo 

1⁄3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes, plus more if desired
1⁄2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1⁄2 tsp kosher salt
1 1⁄2 lb assorted fresh mushrooms, such as shiitake, oyster or cremini
1 1⁄2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or similar cheese

In a small bowl, stir together the parsley, garlic and hot pepper flakes; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar and salt. Add the mushrooms; toss to coat. Clean and trim the mushrooms, and if using shiitakes, remove and discard the stems. Spread the mushrooms in a single layer on a large parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle evenly with the parsley mixture and the cheese. Bake in a 400°F oven just until the mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms with their juices to a platter. Serve immediately and serve with crusty bread to mop up the juices, as either an appetizer or a side dish with roast meat, fish or poultry.