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Fortuna Ristorante Italiano: A New Italian Winner in Regina, Saskatchewan

Plate of Chicken from Fortuna Ristorante

There’s a new culinary star on the horizon in Regina, and foodies-in-the-know in the Canadian plains are are rejoicing.

Fortuna Ristorante Italiano, the city’s first authentically Italian restaurant, is the brain child of five second-generation Italian immigrants. Partners Pasquale (Pat) Fiacco, Joe Fiorante, Vince Fiorante, Carlo Giambattista, and Enio Ricci were boyhood friends who wanted Regina to enjoy the genuine Italian flavors served in their mother’s kitchens. Their dream has become Fortuna Ristorante Italiano, a sleek, modernistic restaurant serving some of the most delicious Italian food outside of Italy.

Realfoodtraveler.com recently had the opportunity to sample some of Fortuna Ristorante Italiano’s fare before the restaurant’s official opening and I predict this authentic eatery, under the capable culinary leadership of award-winning Italian Executive Chef Gianni Pioggio, will put the Saskatchewan province firmly on Canada’s culinary map and rival Italian restaurants in larger cities like Vancouver and Montreal.

foccocia Fortuna Ristorante Italiano, Regina

Italian breads like this soft and slightly salty foccocia topped with thinly sliced onions are made daily.

Key to Fortuna’s success is Chef Gianni, a recent transplant from Italy and Certified Master Chef of Italian Cuisine who uses recipes like his father’s 70-year-old gelato formula paired. He pairs those closely-guarded family recipes with the best locally-sourced and imported ingredients to create memorable dishes like his signature gnocchi. His Gnocchi al funghi, fluffy pillows of potato pasta served with a bright, fragrant fresh basil pesto, is the best gnocchi this reviewer has ever tasted. But I get ahead of myself.

We began our meal, served family style, with an array of creative and tasty appetizers: Crispy bruschetta, thin slices of Italian bread topped with sweet diced tomatoes, basil shreds, garlic, and olive oil; Bresaola rughetta, delicate slices of Italian dried cured beef served with peppery arugula and shaved Reggiano Parmesan cheese; ultra-creamy slices of a goat cheese alternating with slices of sweet orange served on a bed of arugula (my favorite salad of the night); and tiny puff pastry cups filled with a creamy, earthy mousse of porcini mushrooms, parmesan, and béchamel.

mozzarella with orange slice and arugula salad from Fortuna Ristorante Italiano

The mozzarella with orange slice and arugula salad hits all the right notes — creamy, sweet, crispy, slightly bitter.

The restaurant makes all their bread in-house and the servers brought big baskets of freshly sliced Italian bread served with a salty, tangy olive tapenade and delightfully soft and slightly salty fococcia bread topped with sweet and thinly sliced and slightly crunchy onion.

The restaurant also serves only fresh pasta, all of it cooked to order. In addition to the Chef’s excellent gnocchi, we sampled his linguine with pink lobster sauce, which is impressively served with the whole lobster carcass alongside the al dente pasta, chunks of sweet lobster meat, and a slightly spicy sauce. We also sampled chef’s mushroom risotto, which has just the right creaminess and chewiness and a rich mushroom flavor.

gnocchi with pesto Fortuna

Chef Gianni’s gnocchi with delicate pesto has won international awards and it’s the best gnocchi this reviewer has ever tasted.

Our final entrée was succulent and moist butterfly Cornish game hen. The bird’s skin was satisfyingly crispy and was served with a creamy green pea sauce and perfectly roasted potatoes.

The meal ended with three of the chef’s house made gelato flavors – chocolate, lemon, and crema – served in tiny, dark chocolate cups. While I loved the rich and creamy gelato, I felt the lemon flavor, in particular, was so delicate I wanted to taste it outside of the flavor of the chocolate cup. I suggest the restaurant offer their delightful gelato both with or without the chocolate serving cups.

Gelato-Fortuna

The 70-year-old gelato recipe used at Fortuna comes from the chef’s father who was a confectioner in Italy.

We washed our meal at Fortuna down with demi cups of super smooth and rich espresso made with Italian beans and brewed with the restaurant’s wonderful espresso maker from Italy. It was a delicious end to a first-class Italian meal.

Since my preview visit to Fortuna Ristorante Italiano, the restaurant has opened to the public. It may take some time to educate Regina palates away from chain restaurants like Olive Garden. But those who really love Italian food will be pleased at the authentic offerings of this bold new restaurant. – Reviewed by Bobbie Hasselbring

Fortuna Ristorante Italiano
3215 E. Quance St.
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
306-543-4411

 

 

 

Want another great place to eat in Regina, Saskatchewan? Check out our review of  Italian Star Deli.



Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor

RFT co-founder Bobbie Hasselbring has been a travel junkie her entire life. An award-winning writer and editor for more than 25 years and author of the regional food-travel bestsellers, The Chocolate Lover’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest and The Chocolate Lover’s Guide Cookbook, Bobbie is editor-in-chief at realfoodtraveler.com.


8 thoughts on “Fortuna Ristorante Italiano: A New Italian Winner in Regina, Saskatchewan

  1. Eats well

    You mus be kidding !!!! Italin food is good and planty!!! The food at fortuna
    Was neather.includ the bad service in to that and keep the way you are
    You will not see this palce last for a long time.soon all owners family and friend will
    Done visitin and will never go back there!!!.however the sushi place next door will become
    Much more active serving ppl coming out of fortuna hungry..sad

    1. Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT EditorBobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor Post author

      Hi there Eats Well,
      Thanks for your feedback. As you well know, new restaurants often have bumps along the way as they work out their systems. It sounds as though you experienced some of that. My own experience was, as you can tell from my review, was quite excellent so I know what they’re capable of. They certainly have some of the elements of a successful eatery in place, including a good chef, tested recipes, and excellent ingredients as well as a nice location. Restaurants need consumer feedback and I’m hoping you let them know you were not happy with the service nor satisfied with the food. I will definitely forward on your comments to the owners of Fortuna. I’m certain they’ll be grateful to hear your comments. Thanks for letting us (and Fortuna) know. Cheers! — Bobbie, RFT Editor

  2. notimpressed

    Was at Fortuna with friends last night and was sourly disappointed. Firstly, our reservation was “lost”. Later we discovered a member of our party already sitting as the remainder of the group was at the door. We eventually settled in..literally, sinking into our chairs and the cool, crisp temperature. Not the cozy Italian feel we had hoped for. Our server came and we made inquiries about the beverages avaialble and our server had to make a couple of trips to the bar to learn more abou the selection and answer our questions. This was again repeated when we ordered our food and asked about some of the sides. This can happen however with new restaurants and staff. We ordered drinks as well as dinner and appies to start. The starters were expensive and bland but presentation was nice. We were then told that we were not supposed to have any remaining plates or appies left on our table before the order for our main course was put in to the kitchen. We quickly finished with the appetizers and awaited our main courses. I had the shrimp which was terribly over-done, entirely unpeeled and covered with too-much, too-sweet balsamic reduction. I messily attempted to eat a couple and then after finishing only two (way too overdone) I ate three spears of asparagus and two mouthfuls of rice. I called over our server and told her what was wrong. Unfortunaltely, I was not able to wait for a second meal (not offered to me) I sent back my plate and waited to be offered a compromising solution or feedback from the kitchen. Our server returned to offer more wine. When we declined, our glasses were scooped up. She returned a second time and I finally asked if she had sent back my plate or mentioned anything to the kitchen. She indicated she had indeed told/showed them and discussed my complaints with the owner and that he was preparted to give me 10% ($2.70) off of my meal. I think this is very poor etiquette, however, not wanting to make a scene, I left paying nearly full price for a meal that went in garbage. I hope this is simply a growing pain and that no one else shares this experience. It was very poor all around.

    1. Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT EditorBobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor Post author

      Hi there,
      Gosh, I too hope that your experience is just “growing pains” as you so aptly put it. Regardless, it shouldn’t have happened. I, too, have heard mixed reviews about Fortuna. Some have been glowing like my experience; others have been more like your’s. Regina needs a good Italian restaurant and, like you, I’m hoping Fortuna grows into their own and becomes the wonderful place it has the potential to be. In the meantime, I will copy and paste your comments into an email and send them personally to one of the owners. Thanks for giving us the heads-up. — Bobbie, RFT Editor

  3. greg

    i have had better pasta from the frozen section at superstore..and service..dont expect it..sorry wont eat here again

    1. Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT EditorBobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor Post author

      Hi Greg,
      Thanks for writing. I’m sorry you didn’t have a good experience at Fortuna Ristorante Italiano. Obviously, I had a great experience there. But, lately, we’ve been getting mixed reviews too. In fact, I wrote to one of the owners of the restaurant and expressed the concerns we’ve been hearing from our readers. I certainly hope they get it together. They certainly have potential to become a solid eatery in Regina. If you have other restaurants in the area you like, do let us know or consider writing a review of them (with photos) for RFT. Thanks so much. — Bobbie, RFT Editor

  4. Douglas

    We went to Fortuna tonight for the third time and for the third time we were completely satisfied. There were two couples, and we had the bread and an order of Bruschetta as an appy, and I must say it is the best bruschetta I’ve had in any restaurant, and the meals were exceptional. The only downside was we were too full to have dessert and they make one of the best Tiramisu’s I’ve ever had. Special Thanks to Anna and Pat for making our evening so special.

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