Tavolino Restaurant Review

Without breaking the budget, Tavolino Ristorante is the place to go.

Heidi Jaenicke/Explorer Intern

Finding a bargain while eating out can sometimes be a challenge for diners. However, one restaurant that makes this obstacle easier to overcome is Tavolino Ristorante Italino. By allowing you to entertain your palate without inflicting damage to your budget, this eatery is a must try. 

Located at 2890 E. Skyline Drive, this restaurant is nestled in between a business center complex at the southwest corner of Skyline and Campbell. As I entered the restaurant I was immediately greeted by a hostess who sat me down at the bar with two menus; one offering their dinner selections and another offering their happy hour selections. 

Glancing at both menus I noticed the main difference between the dinner and the happy hour items were the portion sizes and prices. Having a moderate appetite was the deciding factor that made me choose to dine exclusively on the happy hour menu. I also noticed that all the menu items were listed in Italian, an authentic touch I quite appreciated. 

After comfortably situating myself at the corner of the bar I was served water by a worker, who informed me that my server would be with me shortly. As promised my server was promptly there to ask me what I’d like to order, which allowed me to recognize the high standard of customer service exuding from the alert staff on duty.

With a terse yet simplistic happy hour menu one can choose from a selection of appetizers, salads, thin crust pizzas and/or the soup of the day. Their happy hour menu also features a variety of beverages ranging from Italian beers, Sparkling wines, red wines and white wines. Eager to try a variety of items, I ordered the calamari with marinara sauce ($5), the fried egg arugula pizza ($6) and the vegetable soup ($4). 

Shortly after placing my order, the server brought over fresh baked bread and olive oil. With light and fruity notes this olive oil paired perfectly with the rustic style bread that accompanied it. Before I had the chance to finish my bread I spotted the server bringing out all of my delectable looking menu items. 

Sampling the calamari first I was instantly impressed with how flawlessly cooked it was. Along with being properly fried, the amount of breading used was just right as it allowed the appetizer to have a crispy and crunchy exterior texture for the delicate calamari.

Next I tried the arugula and egg pizza which had a combination of savory and peppery notes from the fried egg, fresh cheese, olive oil, pancetta and arugula. My only critique would have to be on the texture of the pizza, as the edges of the flat bread were beautifully charred but in comparison the bottom crust wasn’t as substantially cooked. My assumption for the weighed down crust was the abundance of hearty ingredients layered on this thin pizza. Nonetheless, with such lively and zesty flavors this pizza was delicious.

Lastly I tasted the vegetable soup which combined earthy and rich flavors, something you don’t always receive from a vegetable soup. Having a multitude of different vegetables and legumes made for a creamy soup that can only be described as divine.

Finishing off my meal feeling satisfied I became even more pleased when I got the bill, as my entire order before tip was less than $16. 

Top notch cuisine, inexpensive happy hour prices, quality customer service and an attractive yet modest interior design are just a few reasons why one should consider trying Tavolino Ristorante Italiano. 

Open Monday through Saturday, Tavolino offers lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Tavolino is open for dinner Monday through Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. They host happy hour Monday through Saturday from 3 to 7 p.m. 

For more information visit their website at www.tavolinoristorante.com.

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