Neighbourhood: Corydon Village
Address: 670 Corydon Avenue
Phone: (204) 284-4977
The menu at Colosseo has stayed pretty much the same since 1973—before many of Winnipeg’s Little Italy patrons were even born. It has outlasted dozens of other Italian eateries on Corydon strip, as Winnipeggers looking for a cozy, unpretentious place regularly return to enjoy classic Italian food.
This authentic Italian trattoria could just as easily be found in a back lane of Rome or Brooklyn. The aroma of simmering tomato sauce and red wine fills the air, while classic Sinatra alternates with opera to provide an appropriate backdrop for the buzz of exuberant Italian conversation.
Patterned after Italy’s famous Colosseum, glowing busts of Roman emperors and gladiators sit on arched walls and cast a warm hue over the snug room. When the patio is jam-packed in summer, groups of regulars head inside and amicably share bottles of wine at big, round tables. The attentive hosts hustle and fuss over every detail.
The popular cozze pepate appetizer is piled high with some of the best mussels in Winnipeg. Tender steamed mussels are kicked up a notch by a spicy broth of white wine, olive oil, garlic and chilli.
Fresh, juicy mushrooms stuffed with veggies and cheese have zip.
Accompanying crusty bread ensures no drop of light broth is left behind.
Insalata caprese is an exercise in culinary equilibrium. Curls of thinly shredded basil and disks of silky-smooth bocconcini cheese crown fresh slices of tomato—all drizzled with zingy sundried tomato and oregano balsamic vinaigrette.
As it should be, pizza at Colosseo is served on a pedestal. Infused with parmesan cheese and extra virgin olive oil, the thin, crispy crust lives up to its billing on the menu as “not just a simple mix of flour and water.” Its famous house-made pizza sauce nicely balances spicy, sweet and tart. The “Colosseo Special” is loaded with chewy sautéed onions, salty bacon, seasoned ground beef, mushrooms, peppers and gooey cheese blend.
Four large rolls of house-made cannelloni di mare arrive hidden beneath a mound of thick, creamy seafood sauce. Velvety sauce—rich with shrimp, calamari and crab—covers delicate tubes of house-made pasta that easily fall apart to reveal its savoury herb bread crumb filling. Other house-made pastas on the menu include lasagne, cavatelli and gnocchi.
An Italian classic, scaloppini pizzaiola’s tender two-bite slices of breaded, milk-fed veal are light-hued and more tender than most. Simply seasoned with herbs and garlic, they are served with light house-made tomato sauce and generous helping of spaghetti.
Asparagus alla parmigiana is a crunchy alternative to the classic eggplant version. Tomato sauce dotted with wilted basil and heaps of parmesan smothers still-crisp asparagus spears. Accompanying bread helps soak up what’s left.
For dessert, Colosseo’s signature tiramisu is a must. Made in-house every day, it’s usually gone by 8 pm. A shiny, bittersweet cocoa-espresso topping covers layers of fluffy white cake and dreamy smooth custard. The huge slab is surprisingly light and surmountable—even after a hearty Italian meal—and pairs magically with coffee or tea.
Open Mon-Thu 11 am-11 pm; Fri 11-midnight; Sat 1 pm-midnight; Sun 3 pm-10 pm.