Written by: Tanya Bottomley | Photography: Cory Bruyea
TRATTORIA SEMPLICE can be loosely translated as “simple restaurant”. The surroundings and cuisine at Trattoria Semplice are reflective of their name, but certainly don’t do it justice. The atmosphere is casual and family friendly, boasting large windows and a modern, welcoming environment that you can feel from the minute you walk in the door. Charmingly rustic but equally sophisticated, Semplice offers authentic Italian food in the heart of Orangeville.
Although the food is what you would expect from a traditional Italian restaurant, Semplice is certainly not mundane in any way. The restaurant and its owners go above and beyond to exceed the expectations of every guest they serve, and they strive to offer a dining experience that will have patrons returning time and time again. During the summer months, guests can also enjoy a cocktail or meal on the patio of the Trattoria.
When owners Alastair Macdiarmid and Trevor Zurowski took over the restaurant in 2018, the goal was to grow the business on the premise that Italian cuisine should be simple, with ingredients sourced from local suppliers whenever possible. Based on the idea that food is to be enjoyed with family and friends, they set out to create a destination restaurant that offers a sophisticated menu of simple classics and traditional creations, featuring fresh produce, healthy pasta, and a delicious variety of wines and beer. With more than 50 years of combined experience in the food service industry, they are passionate about food, and about getting to know their patrons and their families.
Having worked in establishments everywhere from Australia, Europe, BC, Quebec and Ontario, Mr. Zurowski (TJ) brings with him an extensive resume and a love for serving people. Mr. Macdiarmid (Al) also has an impressive background, specifically in Italian Restaurants, including having worked for many years at the well-established Fanzorelli’s in Brampton where he learned the nuances of traditional Italian fare.
Their head Chef Alex Hawkins is also an Orangeville native. He studied at George Brown Culinary School and completed his apprenticeship with renowned chef Roger Genoe (One99, Cataract Inn and Steakhouse 63) after ten years in some of Vancouver’s most popular restaurants. During this time is when he developed a passion for using fresh and flavourful ingredients to create traditional yet unique menu items that are sure to please even the most discriminating palate.
The menu at Semplice is quite extensive, with a wide range of options to satisfy a variety of tastes and preferences. Each dish is thoughtfully prepared from scratch and is true to its Italian roots. Your meal service begins with freshly baked bread offered with an oil and vinegar dip to enjoy as you wait for your meal and enjoy a glass of wine. The wine list encompasses a great selection of local Ontario and International/Italian wines of which can be paired well with any dish. If you would like to start with an appetizer, the Caesar Salad is tasty and the Caprese Salad is divine, prepared with fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella topped with a hint of basil and balsamic glaze. If you like to spice things up a bit, give their Shrimp Diavolo – their signature appetizer a try! Pastas are made fresh in house and are offered in combination with a variety of sauces and meat options. The hearty lasagna is absolutely and unequivocally among the best I have ever tasted and would most definitely be on the list of items you simply must try!
Entree selections include various offerings of steak, chicken and fish which are served with your choice of pasta, or fresh local seasonal vegetables and potatoes. In addition, they offer daily specials, each taking inspiration from different regions of Italy and based on the seasonal availability of ingredients. Although Semplice has been open for lunches for some time, TJ and Al have recently created a new lunch menu, which will be offered from Tuesday through Friday. The new lunch menu will still offer your traditional favourite homemade pasta dishes but has been expanded to offer a variety of Italian Sandwich options and pizza items. The pizza dough is also prepared in house and created made-to-order with only the freshest of ingredients and baked in a classic stone pizza oven.
Located close to Broadway, at the corner of Dawson and Centennial, this hidden gem is quickly establishing itself as THE place to go for authentic Italian food. Just a two-minute walk from the main street, Semplice is close to downtown Orangeville and the surrounding areas, bringing repeat clientele in from Orangeville, East Garafraxa, Amaranth, Mono, and Caledon. As an added bonus the restaurant features ample parking space right out front, so you will never have to fight for a parking spot!
The back room offers space for larger gatherings and is the perfect choice for business seminars and breakfast or lunch meetings. This space features a media wall to accommodate your overhead or power point presentations. It is ideal for those organizations that may not have access to a boardroom space or conference room, for those who require an out-of-office space for added privacy. Semplice is also an excellent choice for family parties, anniversaries, baptisms and other events. They offer in-house service or take out catering for your in-home event. The accommodating staff would be happy to plan a customized menu for your event, whether business or personal, and can accommodate up to 80 people for lunch, dinner, and everything in between.
If you are looking for a local, authentic Italian dining experience in a relaxed atmosphere Semplice is definitely a choice worth considering. The amazing food and great service will leave you satisfied and wanting to come back for more.
Trattoria Semplice is open 5 days a week for lunch and dinner, and they offer both dine-in and take out options. Open on Sundays to accommodate private parties only. Located at 20 Dawson Rd Unit #1 at the corner of Dawson Rd. and Centennial Rd. You can also visit their website and view their menu at www.trattoriasemplice.com.