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Chef and owner Alessandro De Angelis in front of local bistro Il Tavolino. (Photo Credit: KelownaNow.com)
We were living in Toronto when we sold everything we had and moved to Florence to explore the cuisine and the culture, explained owner and chef Alessandro De Angelis of local Italian bistro, Il Tavolino.
After dabbling in some professional culinary training in Florence, De Angelis and his wife decided to settle down in Kelowna, but not before bringing along their three most favourite aspects of the Florentine culinary scene: gelato, Italian espresso, and quick and simple lunches.
Popular tuna Caprese panini. (Photo Credit: Il Tavolino Instagram.)
After setting up shop in the heart of the Pandosy Village, De Angelis and his family now work hard to provide Kelowna with an authentic Italian experience, as well as simple yet delicious Italian food.
“We brought it all back and tried to make it look and feel as authentically Italian as possible,” added De Angelis.
Fulfilling a demand for quick and easy Italian classics in Kelowna, De Angelis said business has been booming and customers are loving the entire culinary experience offered at Il Tavolino.
“There was a need for a place with the quality of a sit-down restaurant, but with the ease and quickness of a fast-food place,” said De Angelis. “Not everyone has a full hour to sit down and eat lunch.”
The items on the Il Tavolino menu were inspired not only by Florence, but by the food that De Angelis grew up with. Working with recipes passed down through generations, De Angelis creates delectable Italian classics such as homemade meatballs, lasagna, arancini, and an assortment of fresh paninis.
“We do fewer things than most restaurants, but we try to do them really, really well,” explained De Angelis.
Perfectly crafted and prepared Sicilian arancini. (Photo Credit: Il Tavolino Instagram.)
If you’re dropping by Il Tavolino for the first time, De Angelis personally recommends trying the gourmet mac and cheese. Baked with an assortment of parmesan, havarti, and aged cheddar cheese, then flavoured with bread crumbs and paprika, the mac and cheese boasts a sophisticated yet accessible flavour for adults and children alike.
One of the most popular items on the menu has to be the Romano panini, explained De Angelis.
Sandwiched between two slices of locally sourced, fresh baked bread, sits a simply seasoned slice of chicken, accompanied by perfectly caramelized onions, homemade meat sauce, and fresh mozzarella. The sandwich is then grilled and served in authentic Florentine fashion.
“What you taste here is what you’ll taste in Italy,” said De Angelis.
A hot summer day calls for a delectable scope of Italian gelato. (Photo Credit: Il Tavolino Instagram.)
Speaking of authentic taste, nothing can be more accurate than Il Tavolino’s light and refreshing gelato. Prepared onsite with a specialty gelato machine imported from Italy, customers are sure to get a taste of the Mediterranean in every bite.
From the freshly brewed espresso, down to the in-house prepared gelato, Il Tavolino is all about providing Kelowna with a traditional Italian experience.
“The menu is one thing, but more so we’re trying to bring a slice of Italian culture here, rather than just the Italian food,” said De Angelis.
Two weeks ago, KelownaNow wrote a feature on a new downtown pizzeria, as part of our bi-weekly restaurant features.
Do you know of any fun and yummy restaurants to check out in our community? Let us know in the Facebook comment section or by e-mailing KelownaNow at email@example.com.