Cool weather, damp evenings and crackling fireplaces can make minds wander to warm, familiar comfort foods. Rich and decadent Italian preparations are perhaps some of the best comfort food and make a great way to celebrate the turning of the seasons. This month, we’ve highlighted some of our favorite Italian spots that welcome your Passport Card.
Scottsdale, AZ: Il Terrazzois located at The Phoenician, one of Arizona’s most luxurious resorts and recipient of the AAA 5 Diamond Award. Chef Victor Casanova is responsible for crafting the restaurant’s collection of traditional Italian dishes, which include favorites like handmade gnocchi and outstanding desserts like Tiramisu and Torta di Ricotta. Il Terrazzo also offers an expansive selection of cheeses and wines to complete your authentic Italian meal.
San Diego County, CA: Roberto Vigilucci’s outstanding Italian home cooking is a result of his childhood in Milano, where food is the centerpiece of the family and the kitchen is the hub of the home. The cuisine and hospitality at each of his restaurant group’s nine locations reflects these same values. The group features nine locations that span from Oceanside to Coronado, and serves outstanding Italian cuisine that includes pasta dishes, savory veal, chicken, prime steak and seafood paired with award-winning wine lists.
Seattle, WA: Il Bistro is a picturesque restaurant tucked away below the Pike Place Market. For 30 years, the eatery has been one of Seattle’s premiere destinations for fine dining and romance. The restaurant’s menu features classic Italian fare prepared with market fresh meats, seafood and produce, much of which is procured from the nearby market. Il Bistro also has an extensive wine list which features selections from Italy, the Northwest and California.
San Jose, CA: Chef Forrest Gingold’s time in Italy gave him a unique perspective on Italian cuisine as well as an extensive collection of authentic recipes. At La Pastaia, diners can experience not only the Chef’s expertise, but the delicious fruits of his labor. The menu at La Pastaia reflects a commitment to the Italian lifestyle. Ingredients focus on seasonal produce, fresh meats and cheese, drawing from the varied regions of Italy and its Mediterranean neighbors.
Chicago, IL: Dan Bacin opened the first Bacino’s 30 years ago on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. Today the restaurant group boasts four locations. Bacino’s is a two-location pizzeria, serving heart healthy pie. Bella Bacino’s is a trattoria, which reflects Dan’s love of wine. The two locations of Bella Bacino’s specialize in top quality pasta and lighter fare, in addition to pizza. Each of the four locations welcomes diners with traditional Italian hospitality.
Portland, OR: Il Piatto is one of Portland’s favorite Italian restaurants. The restaurant’s casual yet romantic ambiance makes it the perfect spot for an understated evening full of great food and good wine. Classic Italian dishes receive a modern makeover, but the menu is never trite or overdone. Favorites include crepes filled with Portobello mushrooms and cornmeal and lavender crusted calamari. Classic Italian desserts round out the menu.
Eagle, ID: The Stuffed Olive features handcrafted artisan comfort food. Appetizers make the perfect start to a relaxing meal, and favorites include Calamari, served with a red pepper aioli and Portobello Formaggio, baked mushrooms topped with three cheeses and creamy garlic sauce. This Italian restaurant offers a menu full of excellent choices, including Shrimp Scampi, Chicken Parmigiana, Chicken Alfredo and Pasta Marinara.