Branching out at La Frasca
By Leslie Wu, editorial director
HALIFAX—Two restaurateurs with roots in the community since 1984 are bringing a bit of northern Italy to Halifax. Stephanie and Maurizio Bertossi opened La Frasca Cibi & Vini on Spring Garden Road on May 27. The new concept took over the couple’s 17-year-old Il Mercato restaurant, part of the Bertossi Group’s empire which also includes another Il Mercato location, Ristorante a Mano and The Bicycle Thief.
“We call it the original pop-up,” she joked.
Overseen by Maurizio and executive chef Lawry Deneau, the menu encompasses dishes from northern Italy and the Friuli region—an area in northeastern Italy where Maurizio hails from—and features items such as Gnocchi di Susine, with plum stuffing, cinnamon, brown butter sauté, and breadcrumbs for $16 and Cevapcici e Salsiccia, a housemade sausage dish for $22.
With appetizers around $9 and entrees around $24, Bertossi said that the menu is designed to be changed often and accommodate sharing. “The olden days of having multicourse menus tends not to work any more,” she said. “People want to share things.”
With 12 enomatic dispensers, plus another four for champagne, the restaurant will offer 25 wines by the glass for $8 and up, from a primarily Italian list.
The beer menu also lists Bombetta (meaning “bowler hat” in Italian), a Friuli-style brew made exclusively for the restaurant by local Propeller Brewery.
The 5,000-square-foot, 150-seat space includes 14 seats at a large bar and eight to 10 seats at two smaller stand-up bars. Designed by Stephanie Bertossi and local design firm MAC Interior Design, the restaurant took shape in five weeks from demolition to open. “It’s a little mix of modern and old school,” said Bertossi.
A collage made by manager Steve Arsenault and other staff covers one wall and includes wine labels, pictures of Friuli and graffiti from Maurizio. All furniture is custom made, with wood tables inlaid with wine box tops, a black and white marble top bar, and old-style Venetian lights, said Bertossi.
5650 Spring Garden Road, Halifax. email@example.com. lafrasca.ca