2017-06-16 / On The Town

Italian bistro’s cuisine is full offlavor

Ela Lindsay


Giovanni Trombo Giovanni Trombo It is an understatement to say that Giovanni Trombo loves food. It’s in his Italian blood, starting from deep farm roots in the Old Country to his vast knowledge gleaned over a lifetime in the restaurant business. Bistro 13 in Camarillo is just one of many popular venues Trombo has created over the 50 years he’s been in the business.

The restaurateur even crafts his own wine, Gionés Blend, a perfect complement to any exquisite meal at the upscale, contemporary Bistro 13. Trombo seems to know every aspect of every item that is sipped, eaten and enjoyed at his restaurant. Ask him about the wine blend and you’ll learn minute details about the vineyard, the earth and everything it takes to make it great. As to why he does it, he says simply, “I want to make good wine that goes with my good food.”

Bistro 13’s cuisine is so finely tuned that patrons can choose among many combinations that start with one of three bases, the authentic Italian way of cooking, he said. Not only is the process brilliant, the outcome is tasty, clean and farm-to-table fresh.


ITALIAN FEAST—A plate of homemade lasagna is one of the offerings available at Bistro 13 in Camarillo, one of many venues created by restaurateur Giovanni Trombo. 
ELA LINDSAY/Acorn Newspapers ITALIAN FEAST—A plate of homemade lasagna is one of the offerings available at Bistro 13 in Camarillo, one of many venues created by restaurateur Giovanni Trombo. ELA LINDSAY/Acorn Newspapers Trombo takes great delight in describing the various local farms that produce his fruits and vegetables, much of it organic, and he is obviously proud of the chemicalfree grass-fed beef that comes from another farmer. The seafood, from a small fishery in Los Angeles, is guaranteed to be fresh.

So where does one start with the Bistro 13 menu? Begin with what kind of Italian food you’re in the mood for, and they can take it from there.

The calabrese salad, for instance, is made with beautiful, fresh heirloom tomatoes and Buffalo mozzarella and is topped with shaved reggiano and balsamic vinegar that gets the taste buds singing. If you’re in the mood for risotto, this is definitely the place to go. It was so perfectly crafted and creamy, just thinking about it now is making my mouth water.

You can order flavorful Italian dishes to suit any palate and mood, and celebrate any occasion in the restaurant, on the patio or in the intimate in-house banquet room. And catering for any celebration, large or small, would be elevated with Bistro 13’s food, which can be ordered for weddings, graduations, office parties or any special event.

Another thing that’s obvious from visiting Bistro 13 is the rapport Trombo has built over the years with both a loyal staff and his clientele. By 6 p.m. the evening I showed up, there was a happy din throughout the establishment, and the restaurateur seemed to know a majority of patrons personally.

“I knew many of them as kids and now I am meeting their grandkids,” he said. When asked why people come back time and again, even over generations, he said, “It’s the quality of the food and that they leave as friends.”

Trombo is working on plans for a 50th anniversary celebration in November to commemorate the number of years he’s been in the business.

There are wine tastings and other events offered at Bistro 13. For instance, Béatrice Cointreau—yes, the ambassador from the Cointreau brand itself—will speak at a reception at Bistro 13 on July 18. Wine pairings from her Admirable Family Vineyards in Malibu will complement Bistro 13’s culinary masterpieces during a five-course meal.

Trombo still runs a small vineyard and farm in Italy. His own home garden here, he said, is filled with beautiful specimens of fruits and vegetables, which he offered to show me sometime. Giovanni: If you are reading this, I accept. Because everything I sampled at the restaurant was the best of the best.

When you ask for a lemon sorbet, for example, you will be amazed at what you get. The handpicked lemons from Italy are so sweet that no sugar needs to be added. The sorbet is served in an actual lemon.

This sorbet is such a refreshing palate cleanser and taste sensation that I’m sure people come in droves during summer months to try it.

Make reservations before showing up at busy Bistro 13, especially on weekends. Lunch hours are 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and dinner is served from 4:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Although it is closed Mondays, Bistro 13 is available that day for private dinners by reservation for 20 or more, or for catering.

Bistro 13 is at 4910 Verdugo Way in Camarillo. To check out the menu or for more information, call (805) 383-3388 or visit www.giobistro13.net.

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