Domenic & Cesare Santaguida
In 1991, brothers, Cesare and Domenico Santaguida opened their first restaurant, Vittoria Veal and Delicatessen, on Bank Street in the heart of the Glebe. Being their first foray into the business, the Santaguidas knew they would need some help so they went right to their source of inspiration: their Nonna Rachele. She had given the boys their love of cooking and furthermore had all the best recipes in her head. As the word spread about her famous “Rice and Potato Rolls”, customers would come in not just to eat, but to see Nonna as well. Also part of the family business is sister, Francesca, who was indispensable in the business’s development and helping run the restaurant with Cesare and Dom. It truly is a family affair. Once things began to take off, they decided in order to keep up with customers’ demands a bigger space was needed.
Construction on the second location on William Street in the Byward Market began in 1995. March of 1996, Vittoria Trattoria opened their doors. In the new restaurant, food and ambiance took a more traditional and formal approach. White linens and candlelit tables provided a warm and inviting atmosphere. The brothers’ passion for wine and more traditional Italian food helped to make the second location a success.
The William Street restaurant offers a wide range of rooms and services to host all kinds of intimate events/groups from 2-50 people. Custom menus, satellite bars and an impressive wine selection are merely a few of the particulars that can be coordinated to suit your entire group dining needs. The convenient downtown location also makes it ideal for cocktail or office parties, wedding brunches, anniversaries and much more.
Recognizing the customers’ diverse tastes in wine, they expanded the wine list from a mere 13 labels in 1992 (back in the original Glebe location) to the current 800 labels in their now award-winning cellar. Both Cesare and Domenic are graduates of the Algonquin College Sommelier Program, with honours. In 2003, Cesare was voted “Wine Person of the Year” by the National Capital Sommelier Guild for his outstanding knowledge of wine for those in the food and wine trade. Their wine list has also received acclaim from the prestigious, Wine Spectator magazine. Wine Makers Dinners are hosted regularly where wineries come in to educate novices and connoisseurs alike about the latest arrivals and trends. Many of their staff are graduates of the Sommelier Program enabling them to better assist customers in selecting the perfect wine to match their meals. Today, the Santaguidas are now sponsors of their own award at Algonquin College and it is given to the year’s top graduating student.
Construction began in 2003 for the opening of the newest location just off Riverside Drive in the south end of the city where the community was in need of dining options. Doors opened in mid March and have become a main stay in the community. The Riverside Drive location has an open concept dining room with a view of the open kitchen from any seat in the house. The main focal point is the floor to ceiling glass wine cellar, which is spectacular. Again the wine selection is amazing housing over 600 labels and many staff are sommeliers for assistance in choosing the perfect wine for your visit. This location can entertain a couple or a party as large as 140 people. With a separate bar area with hightop seating you can always pop in for a quick bite and drink. This location is also wheelchair accessible.