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January 09, 2003

Piazza Italia

Portland is a city of restaurants. Really, really good restaurants. Mediocre food doesn't survive for long in our competetive market. I love this place. The hubby and I have developed a habit of trying at least one new restaurant per week. Because we live in the River District, we're unlikely to run out of new places--within walking distance!--in my lifetime.

Last night's foray was to the delightful Piazza Italia, at about 11th and NW Johnson in the Pearl.

The Piazza has a very casual, cafe-like atmosphere. Thursday is Italian-only night, but you'll still hear mostly Italian on any other night as well. The lighting is bright, and soccer plays on a television in the corner. Prices are very reasonable--dinner and dessert for two was about $30. And oh, what a dinner.

Bill and I both had specials, of which there were several. He went for the puttanesca bolognese, and I had the lobster ravioli in a light cream sauce. The flavors were strong--Bill's puttanesca was full of wonderfully pungent olives, mushrooms, and anchovies. The ravioli was sneaky--only after chewing for a second or two did I get the "oooh--good lobster!" sensation. We usually share a dessert, but we couldn't resist trying two here. We naturally had to try the cannelloni, but I'm a big gelato fan, so we had the cherry gelato as well. The cannelloni was very good, but the gelato made my eyes roll back into my head. Excellent.

Piazza Italia also embraces one of my favorite restaurant practices: feed one person, not six. I loathe the American habit of serving enough food for a small independent nation. Piazza's servings are perfect for the flavor and richness of the dishes.

Great service, casual atmosphere, and authentic cuisine makes Piazza Italia one of our favorite finds so far.

Posted by Cat Connor on January 9, 2003 08:16 PM