Zitto Zitto Taverna launched last month, adding some credence to the Little Italy moniker that College Street is known for. The nearby sibling to Sotto Voce, Zitto Zitto Taverna boasts generous Clinton and College Street facing patios, a sprawling indoor space and a cosy wood-lined bar area that boasts a few romantic two-tops for clandestine canoodling.
Industry vets Anita Thomson and her partner in life and business Alan made quick work of the space, which was once home to the College Street institution Trattoria Giancarlo which closed after a remarkable run of over thirty years. Playing on the space’s hidden corners and floor to ceiling wine walls, Anita and her team embraced the angles and added some heritage features, like the dining room wall adorned with family photos of both her and Alan’s Italian upbringing.
Alan demonstrates a strong alliance to bar arts, with a clever and concise cocktail menu that plays on Sicilian influences and pairs well with the seafood-strong menu. Frizzanti de Rosa is an elegant offering of gin, Aperol and Prosecco balanced with fresh lemon and lush rose petals. Zitto Negroni packs a punch, also gin-based with Campari and Vermouth giving an aromatic note to this boozy blend. Wines are hard to miss, with knowledgeable and friendly staff ready to help offer pairings on the fly.
Chef Alessandro Militello manages the grill, which is the main cooking method for Zitto Zitto Taverna’s entire menu. Recently of EVOO in nearby Yorkville, Alessandro’s talents are on full display in this open kitchen. Playing on his own Italian culture, Alessandro’s skill shines when it comes to the grill, offering flame-licked full-fish plates like this authentic Sardine alla Griglia, resting on summer fresh tomatoes, grilled bread and garnished simply with a lemon wedge. For those not inclined to debone there is help nearby, but with one swift movement, it’s an easy motion and show-stopping first course. Polpo e Patate puts Alessandro’s talents on full display, with an expertly grilled octopus balanced with tender potatoes and seasonal flourishes. Salads are a natural second, although Anita suggests finishing the meal in classic European fashion (salads last, I agree). Insalata Zitto Zitto and La Siciliana (lead photo) offer interesting and layered approaches to your typical greens.
Mains continue with seemingly effortless ease and simplistic plating which fits with pretty plates such as these. Grigliata Mista di Pesce plays on chefs strengths and in-house made pasta like Pappardelle ai Funghi, nestled with walnuts, mushrooms and sundried tomatoes. Desserts are decadent and carry through the Italian theme with rotating finds like Tiramisu and rich Chocolate Cake.
With a setting befitting of its Little Italy upbringing, College street kids are in good hands with Anita and Alan’s new spot.
Find Zitto Zitto at 593 College Street, and book your table ahead ZittoZittoTaverna.ca
All photos by Libby Roach.