What’s on the menu at Osteria Giulia, chef Rob Rossi’s new Italian restaurant in Yorkville

What’s on the menu at Osteria Giulia, chef Rob Rossi’s new Italian restaurant in Yorkville

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Name: Osteria Giulia
Contact: 134 Avenue Rd., osteriagiulia.com, @osteriagiulia
Neighbourhood: Yorkville
Owners: David Minicucci, Rob Rossi
Chef: Rob Rossi (Giulietta)
Seating: 66
Covid-19 safety measures: Frequent sanitization, mask policy, proof of vaccination required
Accessibility: Not fully accessible

The food

Behold: Toronto’s answer to the Italian Riviera. From the team behind Giulietta—the College Street trattoria helmed by Top Chef Canada runner-up Rob Rossi—Osteria Giulia is a showcase for thoughtful, refined plates based on the culinary wisdom of Italy’s northern coast. The food here is cozily luxurious—perfect pasta, simply prepared fish and delightful indulgences, like a ball of creamiest burrata dotted with Italian black caviar and bittersweet Asfodelo honey. There are historical references, too, as in a stracchino-stuffed focaccia from a 12th-century recipe. And the desserts are really something. The millefoglie al pistachio, with two tiers of pastry built around dollops of raspberry and pistachio cream, and with flourishes of candied rose petal and raspberry powder, is almost too pretty to eat.

From a 12th-century recipe originating in the town of Recco, Liguria, the focaccia di Recco is like a historical Italian grilled cheese: thin, unleavened flatbread is filled with mild stracchino cheese and finished with extra-virgin olive oil and sea salt. It’s served in the pan it’s cooked in. $18.


Heritage variety radicchio, castelfranco and puntarelle (Catalonian chicory) are livened up with cara cara oranges, ricotta salata and a honey and preserved lemon vinaigrette. The composed salad is finished with crushed Sicilian pistachios. $22.


Sweet, salty and indulgent, the burrata con caviale tops ultra-rich burrata with Italian caviar, olive oil and herbal, bittersweet asfodelo honey. Fun fact: the leaves of the asfodelo, or asphodel flower, are traditionally used to wrap balls of burrata. $38.


Assembling the acciughe e burro, which will make converts out anchovy skeptics. Grilled filone (Italian sourdough made partly with whole wheat flour) is spread with roasted garlic, lemon and capers, then topped with whipped butter and meaty Cantabrian anchovies. It’s bright, pleasantly salty and very moreish. $16.


Here’s the finished fish dish.


A take on a classic ’70s Piedmontese dish, the vitello tonnato consists of cold, thinly sliced veal topped with a richly flavoured albacore tuna mayonnaise, capers, caper leaves and black pepper. This dish is a feat of balance: everything comes together in a way that makes veal and tuna feel like the most natural of companions. $24.


The test of a seafood-forward restaurant is what happens to the product when it’s mostly free of embellishments. Here, each element of the rotating market seafood platter—the day’s selection was octopus, diver scallops, prawns, monkfish and a sardine—is clearly given the care it needs to be its best self. There’s not much happening here besides lemon, olive oil, and rock salt—and there doesn’t need to be. $48.


Here we have the raviolo al’ uovo, where a sumptuous single raviolo is filled with ricotta, pecorino, grana padano, pregiato black truffles and an egg yolk, before taking a bath in brown butter with more truffles. $29.


There’s fun to be had with the lorighittas al mare, since the hand-shaped pasta—lorighittas roughly translates to “small rings”—is, to the eye, nearly indistinguishable from the rings of wild squid. The sauce, infused with chili, garlic, and white wine, is fortified with fish broth. Bay scallops lend welcome sweetness to these punchy flavours; anchovies, a briny base note. $34.


Beneath the wafer-thin candied hazelnut and cocoa tuilles is a hazelnut-chocolate budino, hazelnuts and sour cherries. Everyone knows hazelnut and chocolate are made to be together: not everyone can pull off the marriage with this much panache. $18.


The delicately balanced (literally and figuratively) millefoglie al pistachio has tiers of flaky mille-feuille around raspberry and pistachio cream. It’s finished with raspberry powder and a candied rose petal. $18.


Chef Rob Rossi
The drinks

An Italian wine card of 300-plus bottles focuses on native varietals from regions like Liguria, Toscana and Piemonte. The aperitivi and cocktails are more about solid technique than unusual ingredients—expect finesse in every component, right down to the ice. Sip the clean, citrusy spumoni before your dinner, then cap everything off with a Caffé Miscelato, a sort of blended espresso martini (they’re back!) with amaro and house coffee liqueur.

Here we have a classic, perfectly executed negroni—with a fancy branded ice cube. $19.


A clean, refreshing aperitivo, the Spumoni is a blend of Campari, frothed grapefruit, and pink grapefruit. It’s a take on a classic Garibaldi, good for a pre-dinner sip. $17.


Conveniently served in a bath of ice, the Sotto Sopra is a mix of Botanist gin and dry vermouth infused with Castelveltrano olives, finished with cipollini onion. $21.


A worthy adversary for those skeptical about espresso martinis, blended cocktails, or both, the Caffé Miscelato is made from house espresso liqueur, Punch Abruzzo, and vodka, all blended with two ice cubes. $19.
The space

The room’s milk-and-honey palette (creamy fabric walls, blond oak tables) is all modern, understated elegance. Italian limestone, custom linens and hand-blown glass pleasantly contrast rustic touches like wicker farmhouse chairs and galvanized flatware.