Friday, February 20, 2015

Italia - Punta Gorda's new neighborhood Trattoria

"A trattoria is an Italian eating establishment, less formal than a ristorante but more formal than a osteria. The service is casual, and the emphasis is on a steady clientele rather than on haute cuisine The food is modest but plentiful mostly following regional and local recipes."  Italia is Punta Gorda's newest local trattoria.  Food is plentiful, regional, the feel is convivial, a neighborhood tavern with a southern Italian twist.

Stopping there the other evening, we tried a number of the specialities many of which reminded me of the home food made by mothers of Italian friends who hailed from the Calabrese region of Italy with its heavy red sauces, huge meatballs of beef, pork and veal, creamy ricotta and pizza reminiscent of that made by the Sicilian baker I worked for as a young girl.

I couldn't resist ordering the spaghetti whose origins have been debated ... some claiming it was invented during WWII by using ingredients available from American GIs.  The truth be told  the name is said to come from a dish made in the Appenine mountains of the Abruzzo by woodcutters who made charcoal for fuel.  Regardless, Italia's Carbonara was excellent and reasonably priced.

My companion raved about the excellent big meatball of veal, pork and beef and other friends were equally impressed with the parmigiana dishes they ordered.

We didn't try the pizza this time but the buzz is that it is very good.. and it dazzled as it floated by our table.

A number of eateries have been tried out in  the space adjourning the popular River City Grill.. an upscale Chinese, a tavern.  They didn't work, despite the very cool bar space.   Italia could be the perfect fit -- and the cool bar is still there too now with cichetti ( Italian bar food)!

127 W Marion Ave, Punta Gorda, FL 33950-4412.
 (941) 639-7655.

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