The patio is spacious with beautiful hues of blue and white fabrics against dark wood. This is a great place to grab a drink and hang out with friends. The bar has ample seating, is fully stocked, and has great mixed drink options. Along with the bar, the menu downstairs has changed and will no longer be serving the full menu. It has been cut down and will only feature shareable items like pizza and salads. The seating is spaced out enough where one doesn’t feel like they are on top of the other table. If you are looking to get a drink and soak up some California sun then this is the place to be.
Decor and Atmosphere - Upstairs
Before describing upstairs, I want to point out how welcoming and bright the main entrance is while walking into the restaurant. The automatic doors really help the modern aesthetic, and the live trees growing from the ground really give the entrance life. Just to point out — the downstairs seating is not fully complete yet and will be opening soon. As we headed upstairs I really had the sense of being transported to Italy and visiting my family. The concrete stairs are lined with tiles of lemon artwork and the elevator is detailed with delicate ironwork around it. When we got to the second floor landing we were impressed by the floor-to-ceiling windows and the bright white walls decorated with portraits of commonly known Italian hand gestures (nothing vulgar — I promise).
The open-air kitchen is toward the end of the restaurant where guests can see the hustle and bustle while they wait for the food. The pizza section is always fun to watch as the cooks toss the dough, stretch it out, beautifully decorate it with delicious toppings, and cook it to perfection in the stone oven. Off to the side of the kitchen, I do have to talk about the disturbing art piece on the wall of the service station. Models of hands fill the wall with different hand gestures and it really makes you stop and think what this means. Why is this here? It seems like something I would find in a haunted house. But when you start looking at it, you realize it is a 3-D version of the 2-D art drawings that are on the walls. They are common Italian hand gestures that are used, because we all know that Italians are very passionate people and love talking with their hands. I am guilty of this.
The brand-new upstairs patio is spacious and relaxing and was really needed to elevate the standards of the new restaurants coming into Downtown Disney. The little fountain off to the side adds a little rustic charm and life into sitting upstairs.
The menu hasn’t really changed compared to the previous menu they had. It has a wide variety to choose from so hopefully everyone coming to dinner can find something they like. I decided to try the Trofie, which was one of the newest items added since this May. They were able to make it with gluten-free pasta which was much appreciated. The dish has shrimp, green beans, fresh tomatoes, and was tossed in basil pesto. It seemed like the perfect dish to try on a warm a day. I was surprised on how massive the serving size was. The bowl had a generous amount of pasta which was perfectly cooked al dente. When I went to take my first bite I was caught off guard by the shrimp; it was cut in half lengthwise. At first, I wasn’t sure what to think about this. The shrimp was cooked perfect but I only had 6 pieces, which is 3 whole shrimp. The green beans were undercooked and the color of the tomatoes was sad and added no flavor. Taking a bite of pasta with the pesto was a tedious task because of how watery the dish was, and the pesto kept coming off. This dish was not a winner in my books and pricing it at $25 is appalling. At comparable restaurants in Downtown Disney you can get more at a similar price. Tyler decided to try the Pollo Parmigiana so he could compare it to the newly opened Vivo Italian Kitchen in City Walk Hollywood. The breaded chicken was perfectly fried and topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella, then baked until the mozzarella was gooey and golden brown. The dish was topped with fresh basil, with spaghetti marinara on the side. For $25, Tyler thought it was good but nothing to call home about. It was piping hot and the portion size was great, but he was not really sure if the price was worth it. After lunch we decided to try some dessert. The menu has some classic desserts, all at a reasonable price. Tyler decided to try the classic Tiramisù, which is espresso soaked ladyfingers, mascarpone cream, and cocoa. The slice was decent, with the rich taste of mascarpone cream. Sadly, that was all he could really taste. The ladyfingers were partially soaked in espresso but spaced out too far apart where cream filled in the gaps. The balance of the acidity from the espresso, cream from the mascarpone, and texture of the ladyfingers was off.
I decided to try the Affogato, which is vanilla gelato with a shot of espresso poured over the top. I really loved this dessert and the vanilla bean gelato was not overly sweet and worked perfectly with the hot espresso poured over it. After I was finished I had a great vanilla taste lingering on my palate.