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This charming little eatery offers an impressive roster of seasonal northern Italian favorites. The place fills up pretty quickly, especially on weekends, when patrons struggle to find a seat in the narrow dining room or under the beige parasols out front. They come for simple but tasty appetizers such as hand-cut fries tossed with Parmesan cheese and white truffle olive oil, marinated beef or tuna carpaccio, and assortments of Italian cured meats and cheeses. Notable entrées include sautéed salmon with mango-coconut rum sauce, homemade pumpkin ravioli, and several black mussel dishes. Overall, the menu covers the entire landscape of Italian cuisine with plenty of imported delicacies. Because the place is a popular lunch stop, the daytime menu is just as vast, with a large variety of salads, panini, appetizers, and pasta dishes. Fresh strawberries with Marsala sabayon is a welcome alternative to the tried-and-true - but sometimes tired - tiramisu.
As I inched my way toward my master's degree in poetry at the University of California in Irvine, I took solace in one thing: After every brutal workshop in which we deconstructed each other's work until at least one of us cried in the bathroom... More »
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