Friday, November 14, 2014

Enoteca Umberto on Federal Hill

There are lots of Italian-themed restaurants on Atwell's Avenue but Enoteca Umberto is the only one that can claim to be authentic and regional.

Husband-wife team Lia and Umberto make you feel as if you're sitting in their dining room, just off the kitchen, and you've just dropped over for dinner after the evening passagiata. The food they prepare and the wines they serve are all from southern Italy -- and in true southern Italian style eating is all about being together, sharing a lust for flavor and life, with gusto.

Go with no expectations and don't think traditional menu or seating arrangements; the place is small to be sure (you have to walk through the kitchen to get to the bathroom) but go and just enjoy what they offer you.
the kitchen is small but Lia seemed at ease and unruffled by all the commotion in the dining room

La Collina antipasti -- formaggi e salumi

Rosalina's in Providence

Having eaten recently at another local restaurant than can truly claim to offer authentic Italian-regional, I'm always curious as to what constitutes an "Italian" restaurant. When our server at Rosalina's brought the bread along with olive oil and noted the oil came from Greece, well right away I had to question the restaurant's right to be "Italian," whatever that means.

By-and-large our food was OK. The antipasto -- a baked eggplant dish -- and our pasta dishes (gnocchi and spaghetti con Bolognese) we all thought were simply too sweet. Otherwise we had not complaint about the food itself.

The wine list offered far too many American wines but the prices seemed reasonable.

Rosalina's is nicely decorated and well laid out but we were curious as to the value of a large TV set behind the bar.

Service was straightforward and a bit formal but I much prefer that to someone too friendly.

baked eggplant antipasto -- generous portion

spaghetti with Bolognese