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Food & Drink

What’s on the menu at Giulietta, chef Rob Rossi’s Italian follow-up to Bestellen

By Caroline Aksich| Photography by Caroline Aksich
What’s on the menu at Giulietta, chef Rob Rossi's Italian follow-up to Bestellen

Name: Giulietta Contact: 972 College St., 416-964-0606, giu.ca, @giulietta972
Neighbourhood: Dufferin Grove Previously: Bestellen Owners: Rob Rossi (Bestellen) and David Minicucci (L’Unita) Chef: Rob Rossi

The food

After shuttering Bestellen last June, Rossi kept himself busy overhauling the menu at L’Unità at Avenue and Davenport. During that time, he bonded with Minicucci over their joint love for, well, food. The duo decided to embark on a North American food tour with the goal of eating their way around some of the continent’s top Italian eateries, along with a few other multi-starred joints. “I grew up Italian and I always wanted to have a beautiful, simple Italian restaurant,” says Rossi. At Giulietta, the food “is a lot lighter [than], there’s a lot less butter—it’s as light as I could cook Italian food.”

What’s on the menu at Giulietta, chef Rob Rossi's Italian follow-up to Bestellen
Bagna càuda (anchovy-garlic dip) comes with endives, carrots, radishes and asparagus. $17.

 

What’s on the menu at Giulietta, chef Rob Rossi's Italian follow-up to Bestellen
A fennel and cara cara orange salad is topped with formaggio di fossa, a sheep’s cheese from Emilia-Romagna (the name literally means “cheese of the pit” because it’s ripened in underground pits). $16.

 

What’s on the menu at Giulietta, chef Rob Rossi's Italian follow-up to Bestellen
Rossi makes the tonnarelli (like a flat, square spaghetti) for the cacio e pepe in house. The dish gets its kick from loads of Kampot black pepper. $18.

 

What’s on the menu at Giulietta, chef Rob Rossi's Italian follow-up to Bestellen
The tube-shaped paccheri noodles are from Famiglia Baldassarre; they’re served with squid, clams and prawns and finished with a white-wine tomato sauce. $24.

 

What’s on the menu at Giulietta, chef Rob Rossi's Italian follow-up to Bestellen
This octopus is poached for three hours before it’s grilled and finished in the wood oven. It’s served with borlotti beans and salmorglio, a condiment made from lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano and parsley. $18.

 

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What’s on the menu at Giulietta, chef Rob Rossi's Italian follow-up to Bestellen
This goat is cooked for four hours and served on creamy polenta. It’s finished with Italian summer truffle and fried artichokes. $28.

 

What’s on the menu at Giulietta, chef Rob Rossi's Italian follow-up to Bestellen
The L’Amatriciana is Rossi’s pizza version of the pasta dish. The pie is topped with tomato sauce, guanciale, pepperoncino and pecorino. $20.

 

What’s on the menu at Giulietta, chef Rob Rossi's Italian follow-up to Bestellen
La Giulietta is topped with Sicilian pistachios, lardo and smoked scamorza. $22.

 

What’s on the menu at Giulietta, chef Rob Rossi's Italian follow-up to Bestellen
This pine-nut tart is made with wildflower honey. $10.

 

What’s on the menu at Giulietta, chef Rob Rossi's Italian follow-up to Bestellen
The rum baba is a booze-soaked brioche loaded with Italian cream and candied orange slices. $8.

 

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What’s on the menu at Giulietta, chef Rob Rossi's Italian follow-up to Bestellen
Chef Rob Rossi.
The drinks

Beverage director and sommelier Toni Weber (Alo, Canoe) has designed a menu of easy-sipping cocktails made with obscure Italian spirits you won’t find at the LCBO. The Giulietta Spritz, for instance, is made with Bèrto Aperitivo, a spirit distilled in Turin, Italy. Weber wanted her guests to enjoy a light alcohol cocktail while perusing the menu and then to move onto wine with the food. “We have a lot of customers who don’t drink any more, but still want to go out and eat and have the full restaurant experience,” says Weber, who’s also spent a long time creating the menu’s three elaborate alcohol-free cocktails. A third of the wine card is Italian, with the majority of the remaining bottles hailing from Old World producers.

What’s on the menu at Giulietta, chef Rob Rossi's Italian follow-up to Bestellen
Giulietta Spritz: Bèrto Aperitivo, prosecco, soda. $12.

 

What’s on the menu at Giulietta, chef Rob Rossi's Italian follow-up to Bestellen
Negroni: Tanqueray gin, Campari, Carpano Classico. $12.

 

What’s on the menu at Giulietta, chef Rob Rossi's Italian follow-up to Bestellen
Meletti Collins: Meletti Amaro, cara cara orange, lemon, soda. $10.

 

What’s on the menu at Giulietta, chef Rob Rossi's Italian follow-up to Bestellen
A selection of the wines offered at Giulietta.

 

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What’s on the menu at Giulietta, chef Rob Rossi's Italian follow-up to Bestellen
And the expansive amaro program.
The space

Architect Guido Costantino was hired to reimagine Bestellen’s 80-seat room. The room has been brightened and modernized, but the original terrazzo floors remain. Rossi and Minicucci bought much of the restaurant’s silverware, copper pots and decorative baubles on an antiquing adventure to Buffalo.

What’s on the menu at Giulietta, chef Rob Rossi's Italian follow-up to Bestellen
The red of the original oxidized steel ceiling beams has been echoed in the rust-coloured banquettes and window frame cladding.

 

What’s on the menu at Giulietta, chef Rob Rossi's Italian follow-up to Bestellen
This corrugated Carrera marble bar has been elongated by four feet.

 

What’s on the menu at Giulietta, chef Rob Rossi's Italian follow-up to Bestellen
A glass walk-in fridge is located across from the bar. A motion-activated light switches on when chefs need to pop in and grab ingredients.

 

What’s on the menu at Giulietta, chef Rob Rossi's Italian follow-up to Bestellen
Six seats face into the open kitchen.

 

What’s on the menu at Giulietta, chef Rob Rossi's Italian follow-up to Bestellen

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