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I prefer my fine dining on a Sunday evening. Why? It’s a great way to start the week ahead. It keeps you from washing dishes the evening before what is technically a work night. Mainly, I can skip lunch, beat the crowds by scheduling an early dinner and eat to my heart’s content. And that’s just what happened with my recent visit to La Tavola.  

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If you’re looking for a theme, Italian, Asian, American, etc., you might find La Tavola hard to pin down. It has some Latin-inspired dishes, some pasta dishes, but mostly runs the gamut.    

Bread comes to your table first thing, served with an oil and balsamic reduction. It was crispy and chewy, just as I like it.

On to the first course, I order the “three-onion soup” ($8). Sweet onions, shallots and red onions come together in a beef bone broth. There’s also hints of fresh thyme. The menu says that the soup is served with garlic croutons; which I did not see. Under layers of melted cheese and as one would expect, there was a bread layer; but swimming in the broth I could not detect if it was indeed garlic bread or a cluster of croutons that somehow formed the bread layer. The soup was top notch but needed just a pinch more salt.   

My partner in dine chose the burrata salad ($13), featuring, as you probably suspected, burrata cheese, along with sliced beefsteak tomato, roasted garlic oil and his second round with the balsamic reduction. In addition to the cheese being a huge highlight, there were also crispy shallots in the mix. Yum!

For his main entree, he chose the pork Milanese ($26), made with organic Berkshire pork cutlets, and served over a bed of arugula, tomato, onion, shaved Reggiano and his third serving of balsamic reduction for the night (this had me wondering how he and the restaurant planned to work it into dessert).

The dish also had a side of white truffle creamy polenta. While the polenta did not earn any raves (or much in the way of complaints) the Milanese was devoured.

For my main dish, I picked the wild mushroom linguini ($24), featuring cremini and portabella mushrooms, fresh pappardelle pasta, sweet peas, heirloom baby tomatoes, fresh herbs and a garlic cream sauce. You could add chicken ($6), shrimp ($7) or scallops ($15). I picked chicken.

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The sauce was even creamier than I expected, and it turns out the portion size was large enough for two meals; so, I had more than half to take home. It was an amazing dish. Not only will I have it again; but I plan to make a healthier version at home – more mushrooms and peas with a bit less pasta. Don’t get me wrong, I love pasta, and this was cooked to perfection. It’s just very naughty.

Speaking of naughty: dessert time!

I went with chocolate cake ($8) – chocolate chip cake, chocolate caramel ganache, fresh whipped cream and a caramel and chocolate drizzle. The cake arrived warm. It was petit and amazing.    

My dining companion picked the La Tavola sundae ($10) – chocolate chip and Amarena cherry cake, Godiva chocolate syrup, vanilla Häagen-Dazs ice cream and fresh whipped cream.

The cream was plentiful, and the taste was amazing. The cherries, which were sprinkled about, where purposefully raisin like, a little tart and a decadent treat. And there was no balsamic reduction in sight.

La Tavola is a great date night, especially when the people in your party may be craving different regions of the world.

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This newspaper pays for all meals related to dining reviews. We do not solicit or accept free food.

If you go

La Tavola

  • 961 Winterberry Drive
  • Marco Island, FL 34145
  • 239-393-4960
  • latavolarestaurantandbar.com

 

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