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Roman Italian resto opens in Rotary Centre for the Arts

Actually, today's ribbon cutting for the grand opening of Roma Nord Bistro in the Rotary Arts Centre was a little rushed.

That's because everyone wanted to get it over with so they could start devouring the pinza-style pizza, fresh-tomato bruschetta, Italian olives and LaMarca Prosecco.

"The best way to say welcome, hello and thank you is to feed you," said Danilo D'Alba, who owns and operates Roma Nord with his wife, Angela.

"So, let's eat and drink."

And eat and drink we did.

</who>Danilo and Angela D'Alba have opened Roma Nord Bistro in the Rotary Centre for the Arts in downtown Kelowna at 421 Cawston Ave.

For the past two COVID-plagued years, the Rotary Centre for the Arts has been without a restaurant in its airy atrium.

Coming out of the pandemic, the centre wanted to fill the space with a marquee restaurant.

After going through 16 proposals, the centre chose Danilo and Angela D'Alba and their Roma Nord Bistro concept.

As the name suggests, the resto specializes in authentic Roman-style Italian food.

Now, you may ask, how is Roman food different from Italian food?

The distinction is subtle, but important, according to Danilo.

"Roman food tends to have fewer ingredients, but fresh, quality ingredients and more flavour," he explained.

</who>Pinza-style pizza, foreground, with LaMarca Prosecco and prosciutto and olives in the background.

For instance, two Roman pastas don't even have tomato sauce.

Cacio e pepe translated is 'cheese and pepper' and the dish is simply tonnarelli noodles (similar to spaghetti) tossed in freshly-cracked black pepper, grated Pecorino cheese and a bit of the starchy water you boiled the pasta in.

Carbonera is spaghetti in a sauce made of whisked egg yolks, grated pecorino, a bit of cream and guanciale (Italian dried pork).

Roman-style pizza is called pinza and is made of a hand-pressed crust that is oval-shaped and is lighter and thinner than regular pizza because it contains less flour and less yeast.

But it's not all pasta and pinza at Roma Nord.

Since the restaurant is open Mondays through Saturdays for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and drinks it also has things like frittata for breakfast on the menu; Italian-style coffees; Roman-style sandwiches; lentil, artichoke, chickpea and couscous salads; Italian wines; gelato, cannoli and tiramisu.

Roma Nord will obviously serve visitors to the Rotary Arts Centre, will offer dinner-and-a-show packages, run the upstairs concession at the centre and cater events at the centre.

But Roma Nord is also expected to become a destination for locals and visitors alike seeking inspired Italian food, for eat-in or take-out, and can also cater for anyone.

Roma Nord has casual tables set up throughout the atrium of the Rotary Arts Centre and tables that also spill outside onto the patio.

Danilo and Angela met at Danilo's family's butcher shop in Rome and together developed a new take-home meal program from the shop and trained Italian chefs.

The couple moved to Vancouver six years ago and relocated to the Okanagan two years ago to work at Kelowna-based Italian gourmet importer and retailer Valoroso before deciding to open their own restaurant.

</who>The table tops at Roma Nord Bistro.



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