First Look: Casa Sasso Italian Food Bar




“In the 50 years I lived in Rome I had never heard of Chicken Parmesan.”


From the moment you walk into Kelowna’s Casa Sasso Italian Food Bar you realize it’s not your typical Italian restaurant. The bright and airy décor is the first indication; a far cry from the typical dark toned, candlelit hideaways most would associate with restaurants of this genre.


You’ll next realize you’re in store for something different when you meet your host.  On any given day you will find Alessandro working hard serving tables and running the bar. However, whether it’s from across the room, behind the bar or in the midst of describing that day’s menu features to a table, he’ll make the time to greet you warmly.


Alessandro wants you to feel not as though you have gone out for a meal, but that you have come to his house for dinner, “Casa Sasso means House of Stone. Stone is my mom’s family name so it’s kind of like our house.” Having the family name on the front door is not the only reason Alessandro strives to make guests feel at home, “The way I see it, this is my mom’s dream and I need to actually see her succeed otherwise I won’t be happy.”


The dream is a 38 seat restaurant in the heart of downtown Kelowna. Alessandro serves the tables while his mom, Gabriella, does the cooking. Casa Sasso first opened its doors in November 2012, just after Gabriella moved to the Okanagan from Rome. The move wasn’t completely out of the blue. Calgary-born Gabriella moved to Rome when she was 6 and always felt she would end up back in Canada one day. Meantime, Alessandro had been living in the Okanagan since 2004 and he was a natural fit to help run the family’s new business. He had spent 7 years working in hotels in Tunisia, Maldivian Islands, Sydney, and of course, Rome.


And so, Casa Sasso Italian Food Bar came to be.


An Italian restaurant is not a unique concept in Kelowna, but what Gabriella and Alessandro are bringing to their tables, is. With little to no advertising Casa Sasso has built up a small but dedicated clientele; members of the town’s Italian community are regulars in the dining room. The reason?  The restaurant’s authentic menu.  Many of the recipes come directly from Gabriella’s hometown, “The Chicken Parmesan that I hear a lot here, we don’t make that in Italy.”


What Gabriella does make is ‘Primi Piatti’ or pastas including Puttanesca, and, of course, Pasta Casa Sasso which is served with Italian tomatoes and fresh basil. But there is a catch: Gabriella will pick which pasta will go best with the sauce you choose (though gluten free options are available). There is another catch when you eat at Casa Sasso; all of the dishes are served in the traditional Italian way. “We don’t eat, in the same dish, meat and pasta,” explains Gabriella, “We have it separate.  Our first course is pasta or soup, and second course is meat.” Alessandro chimes in with his own explanation: “I mean, if you have a pasta that already has pancetta in it you don’t want to add chicken to it unless you’re starving and you haven’t had food for three or four days.”  Though, like a true host, he is quick to point out even if it is against tradition, guests will always leave happy, “We want our traditions to keep rolling but at the same time we listen to our customers’ requests and we give options.” Perhaps that’s why you will find an Eggplant Parmigiana among the ‘Secondi’ or mains menu, which range in price from $9 to $14. Also included in the mains is the Straccetti di carne o di pollo; a dish of thinly sliced beef or chicken in a wine sauce.


Rounding out the menu is the antipasto, brusketta and tiramisu, all at $10 and under. And for those who want it, yes, you can get extra meat.


Casa Sasso Italian Food Bar

426A Bernard Ave

Kelowna , B.C.

V1Y 6N7

778 484 7565

Tue – Sat: 12:00 pm – 9:00 pm





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