If you plan to head out to Epcot for the Candlelight Processional, or just to see the holiday decorations, you might want to consider having dinner at Tutto Italia in the Italy pavilion to add a little buon Natale.
Since the folks at Patina Restaurant Group took over the food operations at the pavilion, adding Via Napoli pizzeria and Tutto Gusto wine bar, the quality of the food has gone up considerably, making it one of the better dining destinations in the park. Executive chef Renzo Barcatta has added some new items for the winter menu and I was recently invited to taste them.
We started with Prosciutto di Parma, the wonderfully scented ham, served with schiacciata, a not-so-flat flatbread from Tuscany topped with dried figs and a hint of rosemary.
The Risotto di Mare had nuggety arborio rice sauteed with shrimp, squid, clams and mussels. The shrimp and squid were especially tender-firm, and the broth had a delicious touch of tomato.
The Salmone featured a grilled fillet served over braised fennel and oven-roasted tomatoes in a sauce fashioned out of white wine.
Agnello was served for a meat course, a lamb rack rubbed with a pesto made with arugula, or rocket, as they like to call it in Italy, and a nutty quinoa salad.
Throughout the luncheon, Tutto Italia's sommelier, Tiziano Bugatti, worked on his pairing acumen as he gears up for the launch of Maria & Enzo's at Disney Springs. The Brunello di Montalcino Casanova di Neri with the lamb was especially inspired.
Of course, these are just a few additions to TI's usual menu, which is good enough to make you forget the restaurant that was here before. Alfredo something or other.
Tutto Italia is at the Italy pavilion in Epcot. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. Reservations online or at 407-939-3463.