DesBrisay Dines

WEEKLY LUNCH PICK: A reinvented Negozio Nicastro introduces its new lunch menu and grand espresso bar-café to replace Caffe Ventuno

The Nicastros closed Caffé Ventuno and transformed the negozio into a gourmet food emporium and espresso bar with casual cafe seating.

Last summer, Mike Nicastro told us about his family’s plans to shut down the restaurant Caffe Ventuno after 7 years and then to expand the “negozio” part of the business — the Italian food emporium — to include a traditional espresso bar and café under one banner: Negozio Nicastro.

I like to think of it as mini Eataly.

The renovations have opened up the space to take advantage of the natural light pouring in (the dividing low wall has been removed) and a small seating area remains next to the window. Customers can also seat themselves at the handsome new zinc-top bar with a grand espresso machine as the focal point. Nicastro says he’s hoping the casual neighbourhood vibe makes the place feel “even more of a little slice of Italy right here on Wellington.”

So imagine the corner café, deli, grocery, pizzeria, and pastry shops in Italy — all rolled into one. Nicastro opens up early in the morning (say buongiornoto an expertly made cappuccino starting at 7 a.m.!) and the doors remain open all day for whatever snacks, meals, beverages, ingredient,s and take-out food you need.