Trattoria Giancarlo, located just off College and Bathurst at 41 Clinton Street, is nestled in the heart of Little Italy. This atmospheric, traditional Italian restaurant is a personal favourite of mine. It features fine touches like exposed brick, traditional tea pots, and visible stores of wine bottles in a unique way that suggests both sophistication and comfort. The classy interior design has an open kitchen, white marble accents, painted wine cabinets, and a rich colour palette. I also enjoy the trattoria’s lovely patio — but that’s one feature that should be saved for when the weather warms up.
The venue is large, but not overwhelmingly so. Its main dining room fits about fifty people, with an extended dining room for busy evenings to offer space for thirty more. The trattoria also recently opened a wine bar, with a more modern and cool decor, to seat between twenty and thirty more. I personally prefer the trattoria to the wine bar, mainly due to the difference in atmosphere. At Trattoria Giancarlo’s, the feel of the place is what truly makes the restaurant shine: although the decor is classy, the venue has a friendly vibe. The owner is always on site, patrons wear anything from jeans and a t-shirt to full business suits, and, most importantly, the restaurant is a genuinely comfortable place to be.
You won’t find a pretentious attitude here, even though the food is gourmet. The clean-cut, young, energetic waiters are friendly and polite and make a point of connecting with their guests as they serve dishes from the fairly priced and delicious menu. Apart from a few specials, this menu hasn’t changed over the years, and as such, features phenomenal Italian classics. Their flavourful and juicy red meats are particularly well done, their authentic pastas can accommodate vegetarians, their bruschetta is a stand-out, and their salads are crisp and fresh with ingredients of the highest quality. On top of the excellence of the food, the restaurant offers good portion sizes that won’t disappoint.
I have enjoyed Trattoria Giancarlo’s several times, and it’s become one of my top five favourite restaurants in the city. My most beloved dishes include: the pasta, steak, and shrimp dish; the bolognese pasta; and, my personal favourite, the divine beef carpaccio. Although I love the dinner menu, if there’s an area for improvement, it has to be the dessert menu. It’s decent, but nothing to get excited about.
Trattoria Giancarlo’s is an excellent restaurant where you can relax and enjoy some phenomenal food. The restaurant is a bit off the beaten track, but I think that’s a good thing. So, if you’ve never heard of it until now, take it from me: it’s definitely a great place to try out if you’re in the mood for Italian food.