Tutto Italia - Upscale Italian Diningby Roan Poulter, contributing writer
In our never-ending quest for new restaurants to review, Tutto Italia loomed large in our eyes for some time. Of course, since we only operate on a zero forethought lifestyle, it wasn't until last weekend that we were able to get a same day reservation.
Immediately upon walking in you are greeted by not only a hostess, but one or two manager/expediters hovering about. We attempted to be seated an hour early, which they very pleasantly refused, but told me to return in a half hour. As we were trying to fundamentally break the social contract, I was more than pleased to oblige and, 30 minutes later, we were holding our menus.
I like a restaurant where the wine menu is several times thicker than the food menu, it feels genuinely Italian to me. We were dining during the dinner (Cena) menu, which varies quite a bit. If you're pinning your hopes onto one dish, ensure your reservation time corresponds to availability.
We were treated to a plate of breads and a small helping of olives and oil. The bread was good, though it was obviously baked a day or two prior. The olives were amazing.
I ordered a cheap Quartino of Pinot Noir and was shocked when it wasn't very good. My suggestion would be to ask your waiter, they're more than happy to recommend something that fits your tastes and your budget.
Speaking of our waiter, he was a delight. His impeccable manners and what seemed like a genuine passion for Italian cuisine really benefited our dinner orders. No question was greeted with disdain or snobbishness, a real benefit as the menu held few standard Italian choices we knew. This is not, I repeat, not the Olive Garden.
What We Had:
Osso Bucco (braised veal shank, roman fettuccine, and parmesan crisps): I don't normally have a positive association between beef and tomatoes. This was an exception. The veal was cooked to firm yet tender, while the tomato garnish drew out unique flavor nuances. It paired marvelously with the al dente fettuccine with decadent cream sauce. Of course the master stroke was a piece of crisp, some pasta and a forkful of the shank. Could be split between two people if you're not famished.
Ravioli Caprese (pomodoro sauce, burrata, and basil): It is a magical thing to have ravioli prepared by a chef that loves pasta. The roasted cherry tomatoes in the sauce, along with a subtle sweetness complemented the cheese filling of the raviolis. The portion was small in our opinion, though that expectation might be more a criticism of American portions versus European.
Mocha Tiramisu (Mascarpone, espresso, Savoiardi biscuits, and chocolate): No Italian meal is complete for me without Tiramisu. Theirs was one of the best I've ever had. The espresso was hearty and the almond flavor permeated without becoming obnoxious.
Our ratings are as follows:
- Dad (42): 4.6 of 5—The food and service were excellent. Unfortunately no restaurant on Disney property I have been to is immune from crying-child syndrome, which seems to increase exponentially in irritation when I'm at a fine-dining location.
- Mom (42): 4.6 of 5—The portion on the ravioli was small, but sumptuous.
- Daughter (19): 4.7 of 5—Loved the ravioli, didn't like all the chocolate dust on the Tiramisu.
- Son (17): X.X of 5—Not present.
Reviewer's Request: If you have a restaurant you've always wanted reviewed, please let me know in the comments. Otherwise I'm wandering the parks, forced to stumble upon some worthy establishment by dumb luck. Please realize that I won't be able to eat at Victoria and Albert's every week, I live on a budget, too, ya know.