It started several generations ago in a train station in Italy. A poster advertising western Canada as the means for a better life brought trainloads of families from Central Italy to Regina, Sask. While the promise of housing close to schools, churches and hospitals wasn’t exactly true, the families endured. Decades later, descendents of five of these families met, and decided Regina needed a little taste of home.
Created by Regina mayor Pat Fiacco and four business partners, Fortuna Ristorante Italiano has a warm, family run atmosphere. Executive chef Gianni Pioggio, who began his career in Rome, has won a number of prestigious culinary awards (including the Collegium Cocorum). It’s not hard to see why; his menu is drool-worthy. The Gnocchi Al Funghi, Caprino Fortuna (goat cheese served with orange slices) and his specialty, Risotto Dello Chef, are all must tries.
And we haven’t even gotten to the entrées, which include deep-fried, breaded veal chop and grilled black tiger shrimp sautéed with balsamic vinegar. Thankfully, dishes can be ordered “family-style” so guests can try a little of everything. But order the house-made gelato for yourself: it comes in chocolate, lemon and cream and is served in chocolate cups.
Opened just two months ago, the place is usually packed and reservations are required.
If you’re looking for something on the go, try co-owner Carlo Giambattista’s family run Italian Star Deli. After you peruse the Italian groceries, head to the back of the store for the best sandwich you’ll ever eat. Made with fresh focaccia bread and stuffed with everything from Capicollo ham, Genoa Salami, homemade sausage, LaMolisana pesto, provolone and feta cheese, the sandwiches can be ordered in mild, spicy or ‘intenso.’ And if you can’t get enough, everything that goes into the sandwiches is also sold in the store.
Fortuna Ristorante Italiano
3215 East Quance
Italian Star Deli
1611 Victoria Avenue
7 stomach-punishing food challenges
Now, food challenges are sprouting up in restaurants all over North America. The prize is no longer a shiny blue ribbon, but bragging rights among friends, a T-shirt and most often, a free meal. To satisfy your hunger (and ego), we trudged through the typical burgers, pizza and hot wings fare to find the hardest and heaviest food feats. Gros appétit!