First off, let me just say that I have not seen the episode of Food Network’s “Restaurant: Impossible” that features Tornatore’s, the cafe and pizzeria in College Park that used to be known as Caffe Positano. I haven’t seen any episodes of “Restaurant: Impossible.” In fact, I do not watch any of those types of “reality” programs. I find most of them ludicrous, and they seem to be more interested in embarrassing and humiliating the participants in the name of entertainment.
And I find R:I’s host, Robert Irvine, to be especially insufferable. I attended a local charity event that he hosted and he couldn’t have been more obnoxious. As a friend of mine always says, “He smells mighty good to himself.”
That said, whatever transpired to result in Tornatore’s was beneficial. It’s a small, neighborhood restaurant the likes of which rarely are seen these days.
My guest and I stopped in recently and were warmly greeted by one of the servers, who told us we could sit anywhere we’d like, even though the sign at the front door prompted us to wait to be seated.
A glass of wine and an Italian beer were ordered while we looked over the menu. It’s a simplistic collection of Italian classics, or Italian/American classics, anyway, many of them pasta based.
My friend ordered the Pasta Della Casa for an entree and I selected the Veal Parmesan. To tide us over while we waited, we requested an order of meatballs and a slice of cheese pizza.
The pizza was very good. The crust was just the right thickness, not too thick and thin enough to be folded into a wedge. The cheese wasn’t piled on to impress but complemented the well seasoned sauce. I’m definitely coming back for a full pie.
The meatballs (pictured at top) were delicious, too. The twin orbs had a good, firm denseness and were served in a puddle of wonderful tomato sauce, not too pulpy and not too pureed. Sprinkled with a bit of chopped basil and shredded parmesan, they could have served as an entree.
The Pasta Della Casa featured big tubes of rigatoni with more of that delicious red sauce and big hunks of spicy Italian sausage. Some roasted red peppers, cheese and a few peas were thrown in, too.
My Veal Parm was done just so, with a beautiful golden breading on the two nice-sized scallopine, topped with melted mozz. A simple side of spaghetti accompanied. The strands could have used a minute or two more in the pot to get to al dente.
Our server was a delight. Friendly and personable without being intrusive or inappropriate. Just the sort of person who can make you feel like a welcomed regular.
I hope to become one.
Tornatore’s Cafe & Pizzera is at 3818 Edgewater Drive, Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-292-2248.