Savor Handmade Moments at North Italia

Savory is one of those words that gets tossed around indiscriminately. I suppose the synonyms are a bit lackluster (appetizing, toothsome), but none of the adjectives really do an unforgettable meal justice.

At North Italia, it doesn’t matter how you describe the food, as long as you know you’re always in for something special. Every day there are new items waiting to be devoured, like the Chef’s daily pizzas or their house-made cocktails.

On a recent date night, my husband and I spent a considerable amount of time perusing the menu, trying to decide between dishes made with house-made pasta or pizza dough or one of the steak or seafood specialties.

While mulling over options, we noshed on yummy grilled bread and “good olive oil,” seasoned with grana padano and herbs and a tuna crudo that quite frankly could have been an entree onto itself enhanced with castelvetrano olive, caper, orange, pine nut, mint, avocado, agrumato and espelette pepper – the latter beautifully presented and as flavorful as it sounds.

Since we couldn’t narrow the choices to only two, we ordered three entrees thinking whatever we didn’t finish would allow us to revisit our culinary adventure the next night. Each dish more than met our expectations – the bolognese is a house specialty with traditional meat sauce, tagliatelle noodle and grana padano cheese while “The Pig” pizza arrived topped with spicy pepperoni, soppressata and Italian sausage.

The braised short rib with roasted fennel, heirloom carrot, grilled asparagus, marscapone polenta and short rib jus was worth writing home about – mouth-wateringly tender and uber delicious. Other popular picks on our list to try on our next foray into North Italia? The Diver Scallops with parmesan risotto, roasted corn, asparagus pancetta, crispy shallot and Calabrian agrodolce and the Roasted Salmon with pesto farro, caramelized cauliflower and lemon gremolata.

Impossible to imagine we had enough room for dessert, but we couldn’t pass up our server’s recommendation of the Bombolini (Italian donuts with Meyer lemon curd and vanilla marscapone) that were deliciously reminiscent of the sugar dusted malasadas (Portuguese donuts) I grew up eating in my native Honolulu.

The standout service and creative Italian cuisine here is enough to craft a novel about, but between the roasted pine nuts, torn basil, house-made pasta and creative cocktails like the ginger blossom margarita, you might just end up muttering the word “savory” under your breath to your friends across the table in between bites.

North Italia
2657 Michelson Drive
Irvine
(949) 629-7060
NorthItalia.com

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