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 or a group from 2-50 people. Custom menus 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 sponsor 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 high top seating you can always pop in for a quick bite and drink. This location is also wheelchair accessible.
In 1999 Domenic was honoured with the “Restaurateur of the Year” award by his peers in the restaurant industry in Ottawa and in 2006 he was again honoured with the prestigious award of “Forty under Forty” that represents his passion for the restaurant industry and his involvement with the community.
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. Both Cesare and Domenic are graduates of the Algonquin College Sommelier Program, with honours. Today, the Santaguidas are now sponsors of their own award at Algonquin College and it is given to the year’s top graduating student.
In 2011, Vittoria Trattoria was awarded the Corporate Sponsor of the Year from Reach Canada for the two decades of involvement with the Run for Reach, Reach Canada Annual Auction Gala, and many other donations for this phenomenal organization. Vittoria Trattoria donates their time and food for all these events.
Vittoria Trattoria is involved in many levels of the community. We sponsor an award for the sommelier program at Algonquin College. We have lent our name to many different fundraisers from time to time; however our biggest and longest community association has been with a great organization, Reach Canada. Their mission is improving the quality of life for citizens with disabilities by offering lawyer referral and educational services at the community level. Valberg Imaging has created numerous Italian canvases which are prominently displayed at the Riverside location; as well Katherine Jeans has painted many pieces of art that adorn the walls of the Byward Market location. Vittoria Trattoria is also involved with other companies in the community, one being the Ottawa 67s Adopt a School, which allows for kids at two different schools to attend regular hockey games. The Ottawa Senators are another organization that Vittoria Trattoria has come on board with in terms of donating gift certificates to the team so that they can use as prizes for fans, and for team building events. One of our major suppliers who supports us in any of our fundrasing, as well as providing us with amazing products that we can pass along to our customers is Italfoods.