Canaletto Restaurant Set to Open at Fashion Island

Fashion Island, known for bringing the best in upscale dining and shopping to coastal Orange County, has announced that Canaletto Ristorante Veneto is set to open at the center.

Canaletto, a Venetian-inspired Italian restaurant concept by the Il Fornaio restaurant and bakery group, will open in fall 2008. The restaurant’s name is based on 17th century Venetian artist Giovanni Antonio Canal, famous for his landscapes of Venice. He was the son of painter Bernardo Canal, hence the nickname “Canaletto.” The Fashion Island restaurant will be the second location for that brand. The restaurant will be opened by acclaimed Il Fornaio executive chef Maurizio Mazzon, who oversaw the creation of the original Canaletto restaurant in the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas. The restaurant recreates the unique flavors of Venice and the “Tre Venezie” part of Italy, and features Mazzon’s extensive knowledge and repertoire of authentic regional recipes.

Il Fornaio’s fresh baked breads will be served, along with an extensive wine list of distinctive Italian vintages, focusing on the varietals and blends from Italy’s northeastern wine-growing region. Canaletto’s architecture will be as remarkable as its food, with high ceilings, hardwood floors and an exhibition kitchen.

Menu highlights include an abundant selection of fresh seafood from Canaletto’s own “Mercato del Pesce,” rotisserie and grill specialties, and a variety of risotto preparations and pastas made by hand each day. A basket bearing traditional Venetian breads begins the meal and desserts created on the premises complete the Canaletto culinary experience. The carefully selected wine list features a special section devoted to Prosecco, the Italian sparkling wine enjoyed throughout the Veneto area.

“We are looking forward to the opening of Canaletto at Fashion Island. The combination of Maurizio Mazzon’s personal attention and Il Fornaio’s strong organization will produce a well-run restaurant with personality and attention to detail,” said Keith Eyrich, President,
The Irvine Company Retail Properties. “We’re proud of our track-record as a launching pad for successful new restaurants, including Fleming’s, Blue Coral, Café R&D and others. We know Fashion Island’s customers will love Canaletto.”

Mazzon is the author of the Il Fornaio Pasta Book, and his resume includes positions at Venice’s famed All’Angelo. He looks forward to bringing authentic Venetian flavors to Southern California.

“This is very exciting for me because Canaletto’s menu will be the food I grew up with and spent my whole life learning how to prepare,” he said. “We will source authentic Italian ingredients and combine them with the best California has to offer. We’ll feature the freshest seafood, make pasta from scratch and offer outstanding regional desserts. Of course, when dining Italian, you must also drink Italian so we will have an outstanding wine selection that will spotlight this area’s world class still and sparkling wines.” Il Forniao’s wine lists have received Wine Spectator’s award of excellence every year since 1996, and Cheers magazine said it had one of the best wine programs of any restaurant group in the nation.

Canaletto will open in the space previously occupied by Tutto Mare, across from a new three-level, 1,100-space parking structure that opened today.

Fashion Island, owned by The Irvine Company, is Southern California’s premier outdoor center, offering a unique experience for shopping, dining and entertainment. Reminiscent of a Mediterranean village, Fashion Island has nearly 200 specialty shops, prestigious department stores, a wide variety of restaurants, a seven-screen movie theater and signature events throughout the year.

Fashion Island features Orange County’s only Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s Home Store, along with Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s. For more information visit