To celebrate my mother’s birthday my family and I had dinner at one of her favourite restaurants. Gran Sasso, located in Brantford, Ontario, offers absolutely fabulous Italian cuisine with such cuisine being genuinely authentic – the owners (Dan and Patty Mercante) explain on their website that their family immigrated from Castelli, Italy, to Brantford in the 1950s. A mountain range exists in Castelli called Gran Sasso, therefore the Mercante family decided to name their restaurant after it. All of the items on their menu are named after their family members and towns surrounding Castelli, and the familial unity that exists in this business is certainly noteworthy in the restaurant’s cozy and warm atmosphere.
Their menu is broad but simultaneously remains loyal to Italian cuisine, and I have yet to sample an item on their menu that does not impress me. They offer appetizers such as bruschetta, Antipasto, caesar salad and arancini (risotto balls), a variety of pasta dishes ranging from gnocchi to classic spaghetti and meatballs, several different variations of thin crust pizzas with fresh, pure ingredients (the Abruzzo pizza is scrumptious), entrees such as lamb chops, beef tenderloin and pork piccata, grilled panini’s and traditional Italian desserts. Their wine and beer options are tasteful, the prices are reasonable and the atmosphere is stunning, composed of dark woods and personal touches.
Another bonus? Each and every pizza and pasta creation they offer can be altered to best suit an individual with food sensitivities. They offer gluten-free pizza and pasta, and they are willing to remove other ingredients, such as dairy, in order to satisfy their customers. For example, when my family and I had dinner for my mom’s birthday, I requested to gave the Abruzzo pizza on a gluten-free crust with no cheese, and it was absolutely delicious.
If you enjoy Italian food I highly recommend visiting Gran Sasso. Be sure to make a reservation as they are almost always busy!