Proprietors Anita Mancuso and Alan Thomson of Little Italy’s Zitto Zitto Taverna accomplished an amazing feat: opening a restaurant during the pandemic! Situated beside their long-standing Toronto restaurant Sotto Voce, Zitto Zitto Taverna is an enchanting offers an ambiance of old-world charm and contemporary chic. Sicilian-born Chef Alessandro has introduced a summer menu with a heavy emphasis on seafood. I was invited along with a guest (my mom!) to sample the new menu.
The summer 2022 cocktail menu features drinks such as Espresso Martini, Coraggio Verde (a cucumber/tequila/lime concoction) and Rum Punch. My mother enjoyed the latter: a drink made with Gossling Dark Rum, Amaro Montenegro, Cinzano Rosso and pineapple juice. It was served with a wedge of fresh pineapple! Being a teetotaler, I was offered a made-from-scratch Limonata prepared with white grape juice, freshly-squeezed lemon juice and club soda. How refreshingly good it was! I’m going to try and make this at home!
For starters, we were offered three dishes from the summer menu: 1) Thinly-sliced venison tenderloin; 2) Tuna Tartare; and 3) Crostone with Calabrese nduja, burrata and roasted peppers.
The venison tenderloin was served with a black peppercorn crust on a bed of wild berry reduction. Venison has an earthier texture than beef; it’s quite meaty. Because it was so thinly sliced and thanks to the fruity berry sauce, the gamey taste did not overpower and it definitely benefited from the peppery flavour of the frisée.
I liked the pairing of the Ahi tuna tartare with avocado, sesame oil and ravanillo aioli, which minimized the fishy taste of the tuna.
The Crostone was the stellar dish of the three! Made from a base of to-die-for country grilled bread, the crunchy bread melded beautifully with the soft burrata. The roasted peppers added spicy interest to the smooth cheese.
We ordered two main entrées, which we split so that we could try them both. The first main was Pan Seared British Columbia Scallops on a Prosecco rose and lime risotto. The scallops were perfection: large, thick and buttery! The risotto tasted as pretty as it looked with a hint of sweetness from the sparkling wine.
Our second main was Oven-Roasted Black Cod with Jumbo Tiger Shrimp and avocado salsa verde. The presentation was so spectacular that we didn’t want to dismantle the dish – on the other hand, I was dying to try the fish! The shrimp was succulent and juicy – the way shrimp should taste! – while the cod was thick, tender and fresh. I particularly loved the al dente asparagus upon which the fish was placed, as well as the tasty eggplant – a vegetable that can be tough and chewy if not cooked right.
There were two Italian favourites on the dessert menu: Raspberry Pannacotta and Madagascar Vanilla and Sicilian Pistacchio Tiramisu. The Tiramisu was good, but my mom preferred the Raspberry Pannacotta because it was lighter.
We loved what we tried from Zitto Zitto Taverna’s summer 2022 menu! This menu is full of culinary surprises and updates on classics. The summer 2022 menu will be available sometime in June.
Zitto Zitto Taverna
593 College Street (just east of Clinton Street)
You may be interested in reading “Baro Restaurant on King Street West: Review“.