Caffe Ventuno-Il Negozio Nicastro
Both locations - Westboro and The Glebe

Caffe Ventuno phone number seems hard to come by; it is 613-729-9121

Il Negozio Nicastro
Pancetta at Il Negozio Nicastro
Foods from Il Negozio Nicastro

2013 Apr 1
Very good lunch. Grilled cheese (provolone) with caramelized onions on a soft thick white bread, reminiscent of Sicilian pizza dough. $4.99

The grilled veggie (peppers, onions, tomato, eggplant) with romaine and goat cheese also good value at $6.99.

Moretti and some St-Ambroises on draft as well as a couple macros. I believe there is Heineken and Stella as well in bottle.

The espresso is excellent and at $1.75 great value.

There are deli sandwiches (eg. prosciutto) and a tuna-capers one.

Nice space, good service, good prices. Will go back for lunch. No other place this quick, easy and casual has draft beer, and good draft beer at that.

Lots of stuff to browse in the store while waiting for your food.

2013 Mar 28
Went here (Wellington St. location) for lunch yesterday. I have always enjoyed this place but hadn't been yet this year. A rearrangement.
Ordered the grilled vegetable with goat cheese on focaccia - a good load of vegetables (eggplant, red peppers, onions +) and goat cheese on a tasty high bread with a good crust. A big sandwich. Companion had the grilled chicken and was very satisfied too.
Two big sandwiches with an enough-for-two bottle of San Bennedetto mineral water: 18 bucks before tip.
Friendly and quick service. If it was slow, you could explore the groceries on the shelf right beside your table (i.e. if you don't take a window seat). Canned octopus, Portuguese sardines, fine sea salt…

Photo of equally massive sandwich with a more in-depth review of this reinvented bar-café (opens at 7 a.m.! Olé!) here:

2010 Apr 10
We have been here twice with mixed results. The first visit last December (2009) was fine. I'll focus on today's adventure. My wife ordered the meatball sandwich and salad. She was happy with the veal, beef pork meatballs. I ordered a pizza. It also was fine. Not fantastic, not horrible. certainly a step up from pub food, but most things are. What ruined the meal was the twist-tie that was in my pizza. At first i thought it was a fibrous onion slice but as i pulled it out of my mouth i could see how white it was. the way the light caught it it crossed my mind that it looked like plastic. In fact it was a white twist-tie.That's bad. really bad. Being quintessentially Canadian I felt embarrassed and didn't make as big a fuss as I should have. Jesus, I could have swallowed that two inch length of wire.
So they comped the pizza and gave me a glass of wine.Hmmm. My wife is from the States so you can imagine where her line of thinking was going with this. I guess we won't be back.

2008 Jan 10
Had dinner here again last week. I tried the pizza for the first time and agree with Marno that it's subpar. I don't recommend it.

The lentil/tomato soup of the day was great though.

2007 Dec 3
So, we tried Caffe Ventuno at Il Negozio Nicastro on Friday night. I've always thought it looked cute, I've often had the sandwiches from Bottega Nicastro in the market, and I've read great reviews here, so I figured it would be a slam dunk.

Not quite. The atmosphere was funky and hip, though not cozy -- no complaints there. Our server was as nice as could be -- again no complaints. But the food... blah. We both started with salads -- I, the mixed, and my husband, the Caesar. The mixed salad was your regular garden variety, nice veggies, barely there rasberry vinaigrette. Wholly bland. The Caesar was a blend of romaine, powdered parmesan, some pancetta bits and croutons. A very nondescript, non-garlicky and without anchovies, salad oil "caesar" dressing. Again, bland.

My husband ordered the orichiette, with pancetta, parmesan, peas and probably some other ingredients. Sounded fab, and the waiter proclaimed it his "favourite on the menu". I ordered a pizza, can't recall the name, but it had goat's cheese, mozzarella, sundried tomatoes and arugula on it. It was a female name.

Anyhow, the pasta was incredibly bland, and sitting in a brothy sauce. I found the lack of quality ingredients, such as a quality shaved parm or a decent olive oil (tasted like canola), inexcusable. It was a simple dish that could be incredible with quality ingredients, but was not.

My pizza was fine insofar as the toppings -- though again, bland. However, I took real issue with the crust. A true Neapolitan pizza, which is what they are clearly striving for, should have a crispy, bubbly, wood-burnt, almost crackery crust. This was a mushy, soft, doughy, floury thin crust. Completely ruined it.

The food was a real disappointment. The only exception was the bread we were served, which was soft yet crusty, seemed freshly baked, and had little cloves of roasted garlic embedded in the bottom -- awesome.

We tipped our waiter generously as he was truly and earnest, honest and nice character. But for sure we will not be back -- truly unremarkable Italian food posing as regional and artisanal, but merely achieving what the local chain might offer -- just in more delicate presentation and surroundings.

2007 Nov 17
I had dinner here tonight and ordered strictly off the special menu. We ordered the zucchini fritters w/ spicy feta dipping sauce to start with the vino novello. The fritters were crisp on the outside and nice and flavourful on the inside, they had grated zucchini, carrot and maybe some onion in there. They were perfectly seasoned, and plentiful for an antipasti. The wine was very fruity, smelled faintly of banana (!), and was very lightly acidic. This complemented my SO's fish stew nicely to offset the spiciness and warmth of the smoked paprika. The stew contained some root vegetables, snapper, fennel, and was a fish broth tomato base sauce which was very rich in flavour. I ordered the pizza with white sauce, mozzarella, chicken, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms and sage. All was delicious, and the pizza was probably one of the best I've had in Ottawa since La Pergola went way downhill (are they even in business anymore?). The service was attentive without being intrusive, offering comments on the menu selections we made where appropriate (especially when selecting the vino novello since it's not for everyone). The atmosphere was very cool at night, they had some funky music playing and the lighting was very romantic; a total transformation from it's daytime feel. It reminded me a lot of dining out in Montreal, actually. The portions were generous too, which is unfortunate since they had a cheese plate that I wanted to try as an after dinner treat... but had no space to do so! Oh well. Next time, hopefully.

Highly recommended.

2007 Nov 6
I enjoyed a nice dinner at Caffe Venuto (Westboro location) last Friday with a group of eight. We ordered appetizers as a group and I was able to sample several items: calamari, zucchini fritters (special), sausages and the antipasto platter. All very good. There is enough variety in the appetizers that you could have a satisfying meal without even touching the mains.

I followed that up with a plate of rigatoni bolognese. For some reason I was expecting a rich, meaty sauce but what arrived was more subtle, with the sauce just coating each piece of rigatoni and enough bits of meat to make every mouthful delicious.

The three kinds of bread we were served throughout the meal were all excellent. My girlfriend and I shared a bottle of Valpolicella, the cheapest on the list but it did the trick. I had a coffee with a shot of Frangellico for desert.

I really like this place, the atmosphere especially. It's attached to the grocery store so you can even have items added to your bill when the store itself is closed! A nice little convenience.

(Fresh Foodie, I wonder if Caffe Venuto shouldn't get its own entry?!)

2007 Aug 3
Had dinner at Caffe Ventuno tonight. Very good! I would recommend the calamari; it is nice and crispy and not at all rubbery. I also tried a new pizza they are thinking of adding to their fall menu. It had chili flakes, olive oil, roasted red peppers, goat cheese and kalamata olives on a flatbread-like crust. I liked the flavours a lot and would order it again. mendel had a new potential appetizer (fried fennel cakes) which we both liked, but thought perhaps the fennel could be sliced a bit thinner before breading and frying. He also had a chicken pasta he enjoyed as well.

2007 Feb 11
I frequently pick up fresh pasta and sauce at the Glebe location, when we're too tired to pull out the pasta maker and the dried stuff isn't going to cut it.

The best thing I've found though is the bread. At least the one that I've tried, which is their garlic loaf. Inside the bread is light, soft and studded with roasted cloves of garlic. Outside it is golden, crusty and flecked with parsley. Yum!




2007 May 27
They have a wide variety of imported olive oils, even two selections of "bottle your own". I beg fellow Ottawa foodies to blow a little cash on some higher quality stuff to taste the difference, it's incredible.



2007 May 27
They have a few varieties here of imported and domestic prosciutto... it's very good quality and they slice it correctly here.


2007 May 27
Again, a varied selection of authentic balsamic vinegars. I believe they offer a "bottle your own" version of decent balsamic here as well, to accompany their excellent olive oils.


2008 Mar 21
They sell a variety of italian chocolates here, most notably the Tuscan brand, Amadei.

2008 Dec 14
They're awfully nice socks.
Is this artisan pancetta a new thing? At the Nicastro's on Wellington, I've only ever paid about 22.90 per kilo (which still isn't cheap, but it's okay).

2008 Dec 14
Naw, it's Waygu beef fed pig.

2008 Dec 13
Ten bucks for 4 0z. of pancetta. Thats 40 bucks a pound or $88.00 per kilo.

That's 4 times as much as I have paid for some really good (made in italy) pancetta in this town.

Are they nuts ?

Is it from a Golden Pig idol ?

Was the pig fed lobster and caviar ? Or maybe the pig dined at Signatures and Beckta.

What ? ... Stick the word 'Artisan' in front of anything and jack up the price ?

It must of been 'Artisan Gasoline' we were buying during the summer.

Does anyone want to buy any of my 'Artisan Socks" ? Only $127.99 per sock.

2008 Dec 13
At the Wellington location they have an "artisanal pancetta" from Niagara that is exceptional--the best I have ever had. Super-meaty, lovely porky flavour, with some rosemary notes. None of that rancid/oxidized flavour I get sometimes with other pancettas. Comes cryovac-ed and is found in the big refrigerated bin in the center of the cheese/deli area. Not cheap (like 10 bucks for 4 oz) and probably overkill for most applications, but in a pancetta-centric dish like al'Amatriciana I think it is worth the splurge.