We can’t reinvent pasta, just the passion for it. When a new Italian restaurant opens with a seasoned chef, we must dine there–whether for the chef’s classic signature style, or his new inspiration, or his Nonna’s secret recipes. Anticipation surrounded the opening of Belsito Trattoria in Kleinburg. After all, you can’t fool this local clientele.
Chef Gino Guercio knows his way around Toronto’s preeminent kitchens. His career has spanned global cuisines, but there’s no place like home, and Belsito, Kleinburg’s newest dining gem, exudes the virtuosity of Guercio’s own Italian cooking.
An anitpasto of crunchy crostini hits all the right notes to stimulate my palate. Chock full of ingredients like smoked salmon with a refreshing citrus crème fresh; vine-ripened tomatoes, garlic and fresh basil layered with sharp parmagiano padano; and lush and woodsy wild mushroom and goat cheese with Piemonte white truffle oil are all tantalizing bites. Pride in quality ingredients, and passion for beautiful presentation is the hallmark of this Caprese. Thickly cut wedges of ripe beefsteak tomato and bocconcini are stacked and crowned by fresh basil, drizzled with basil pesto, skewered by two crisped-spaghetti noodles, and accompanied by two tender folds of prosciutto de Parma. This is the loveliest caprese I can ever remember tasting. Calamari is grilled tenderly, elevated with a touch of twelve-year balsamico di Modena and honey, and splashed with charred Sorrento lemons. Baccala, lavished in a velvety ragout of tomatoes, capers and Moroccan olives is so rich and savoury, I scoop up every last morsel.
Named after Guercio’s ancestral home, Belsito, the clean, rustic interior of this open concept kitchen reflects the warmth and charm of historic Kleinburg. A competitive restaurant scene demands uniqueness. We find it here. Parceled in pizza dough from imported “00” wheat flour is a treasure trove of plump shrimps, scallops, mussels, clams and calamari steaming betwixt a generous portion of linguini. We cut through the crisp layer of dough to release a fragrant aroma of white wine and tomato, and twine our forks in delight. Authentic ingredients, classic recipes, no cutting corners. Each dish is Gino Guercio’s homage to tradition and flavour.
~Belsito Trattoria – Vino, 10429 Islington Ave, Kleinburg, 905-552-7555~
Adam Waxman is an award winning travel journalist focusing on food, wine and well being. As well as an actor in film, television and formerly, the Stratford Festival, he is the Publisher of DINE and Destinations magazine.