Address: 670 Corydon Avenue
Entrees: $19 – $26
Once the epitome of amphitheatres, the Roman Colosseum was a paragon of grandiosity and observation. And though Ancient Rome Winnipeg is assuredly not, a similar spirit imbues nearly half-century old Corydon-mainstay Colosseo.
Proud of its Little Italy heritage, this longstanding ristorante is steeped in tradition and proudly parades its roots. Plastered indoor walls exude old-world influence and vintage outdoor features transport visitors across the pond. And like its namesake, dining is met with a dash of spectator sport. One of the district’s most-primo patios straddles the interlocked-brick of Hugo Street and is a spot perfect for sunbaked summer days spent people-watching and filling up on traditional Italian cuisine.
Settle into the belt-loosening process with the Colosseo salad. A bed of romaine drizzled with a house dressing asking to be bottled and sold by the barrel is buried beneath diced ham and salami. Reminiscent of salads we’ve seen throughout the city previously, a certain smokiness from the cured meats will even win over the won’t-eat-their-greens crowd. A lighter option is the spinach gamberi salad. It takes its cues from a Greek salad but is crowned with a quartet of garlicky, succulent shrimp on pillows of creamy and delicate feta cheese.
Risotto al profumo di mare keeps true to its definition: the sea-scented risotto releases its aroma the moment it reaches the table. A light tomato sauce subtly flavours the risotto but plays obvious second fiddle in a dish teeming with seafood. Most notable are tender mussels, which beg to be added to every bite or plucked out and enjoyed by their lonesome.
The spaghetti con polpette is proof positive simplicity often reigns supreme when it comes to classic Italian eats. Two ample meatballs rest atop a piled-high bowl of spaghetti and are blanketed by a deep and rich tomato sauce with a sprinkling of parsley. A no-nonsense approach makes the sizeable servings shine. Ground beef stars solo and melts away with an almost-velvety texture.
Whether couched atop cavatelli or baked in among rigatoni and mozzarella cheese, the house-made Italian sausage stands front and centre no matter its bedfellow. A wallop of flavour bursts towards the tastebuds in this dense mixture of pork and ground beef.
Colosseo is open Mon-Thu 11 am to 12 am, Fri 11 am to 1 am, Sat 12 pm to 1 am and Sun 12 pm to 12 am.