It’s been insanely hot around San Diego all weekend. Last Friday night Jake, T and I went to the cheap theater down in Chula Vista to escape the heat of his house (we went to see The Hundred Foot Journey; while not the greatest movie I’ve ever seen, I did enjoy it and it did manage to make me quite hungry). After the movie it was getting to be a little late and a quick search on Yelp showed me two possible spots for dinner. I really wanted some Italian and we ended up visiting Italianissimo Trattoria in Downtown Chula Vista.
Driving in Downtown Chula Vista was like driving through a sleepy little main street that closed hours ago. Not a whole lot was open and not a lot seemed to be happening here on a Friday night though there were a few places still open, including our intended dinner destination. We found a parking spot easily in front of the restaurant and we were seated right away.
For whatever reason, pizzas were not being offered that evening. Maybe they refused to turn on the oven in the heat? I wouldn’t blame them.
We were given complimentary bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. T was entranced by the dual glass container that held both liquids in one bottle. I have this thing about carefully pouring perfect drops of balsamic into my olive oil. I like to try and create little pretty patterns in my olive oil and I get a little sad when I have to ruin my masterpiece by dragging the bread through it. Luckily, the taste of the olive oil and vinegar combined is enough to convince me it was for the best.
I honestly didn’t notice at first, but there was a little line of something dark in the bread. The lightining in the restaurant cast everything with a golden butter yellow hue so I thought maybe it was pesto at first until Jake said, “I’m not eating this bread.” I had eaten some of a piece already and asked why and he told me it was olive bread. “Really?” I asked. I thought the bread had tasted a little off but there was hardly any of the olive in my first piece that I was able to ignore it.
The bread was slightly warm but the outer crust was a little too hard to eat. I mostly kept to eating the olive-free parts of the bread that tasted fine enough. The bread seemed like it was made in house, but I don’t think we got the freshest batch of the day.
[pasta al forno /$14]
Jake and T shared the Pasta al Forno – a shell pasta baked in a tomato cream sauce with melted mozzarella. I thought this dish was going to be cheesier than it was, I felt like it didn’t have a ton of mozzarella in it. I only had a couple of bites though and it tasted fine enough. But after I took a bite of my dish, I refused to have any more bites of theirs because I didn’t want it to “ruin” the taste of the other dish. Hah!
[tortellini alla romana / $15.95]
I was waffling back and forth between a few items – the gnocchi, the mushroom ravioli and the tortellini. The mushroom ravioli and tortellini were both listed as homemade. In the end, I choose the tortellini stuffed with prosciutto and chicken because then Jake and T could try it. It came in a mushroom cream sauce so I was still able to get my mushroom fix. Best of both worlds!
I was happy to see the slices of prosciutto in the middle of my dish. I took one bite of the tortellini and I was in pasta heaven. The tortellini was tender, pillowy and perfectly cooked. The filling was creamy and melted in my mouth. The mushroom cream sauce was silky and full of flavor. I loved the large slices of fresh mushroom in it and the little touch of fresh herbs gave it a nice touch. Jake and T both tried my tortellini and agreed that it was just that freakin’ good. Fresh, homemade tortellini is something I need to seek out more often!
I passed on trying any desserts that evening, though of course I had to look at the tray they brought out. Nothing really caught my fancy that evening and I was trying to be good and not overindulge after eating the delicious tortellini. Maybe next time!
I was blown away by how delicious the tortellini was and all three of us agreed that my dish was the “winner” that evening. Fresh and delicious pasta is a good way to get me to come back and I’m sure we’ll pop in again and I’ll have to try not to order the same thing again and again.
323 Third Ave.
Chula Vista, CA 91910