No one ever seems to have much nice to say about Tutto Italia Ristorante in Epcot's World Showcase. Since no one ever says anything nice about me either, I thought we might be kindred spirits. I'd never been before, and with my expectations set nice and low we headed to Italy.
First of all, like everything in the Italy pavilion in World Showcase, the restaurant is quite lovely in my opinion. We asked to be seated in the section near the windows to get some additional light for our pictures. The long narrow section didn't seem as comfortable, or nice as the main dining area, but had cool masks on the wall. I could tell that the other diners, despite their more adequate space and lovely dark woods, were secretly covetous of our mask.
All Italian restaurants are mandated by law to serve a bread basket before the meal, which is a key reason why I love Italian food. I need to load up on carbs before my carbs arrive. The bread was quite good, however the bread sticks were a bit tough for my liking. They still had a good taste, but the potential dental bills were a bit off-putting.
For appetizers we had the Pasta e Fagioli soup and the eggplant mozzarella. The soup was not really the Pasta e Fagioli to which I'm accustomed and was a bit bland for my taste. The mozzarella on the other hand had a pretty intense taste for eggplant. Neither one "wowed" me, but both were serviceable. (I've been checking the history books to see if anyone has ever been "wowed" by eggplant. My research is inconclusive, so let me know your opinion in the comments.)
Our entrees were Farfalle for me and Gnocchi for my dining partner. The farfalle is bow-tie pasta and is served with a cream sauce, peas and some prosciutto. Now all of those things are good, and the dish wasn't bad overall, but the taste was a bit too uniform. I enjoyed my first bite, but I got bored with it pretty quickly. After the meal my companion expressed similar opinions about me.
The gnocchi on the other hand was quite memorable. It was cheese, cheese and more cheese. It has gorgonzola, parmesan, mozzarella and fontina cheeses as well as spinach. As you might expect it was rich, and the cheeses dominated the taste. This dish was much better than mine, and I enjoyed the tastes I got. I fear however that a whole serving of it might have been a tad too much. But since my companion wasn't a very good sharer, I'll never know.
The dessert for me was probably the highlight of the meal. We ordered profiteroles and a lemon cheesecake. The profiteroles were quite good with a very strong chocolate sauce. They might not be to everyone's liking, but they hit the spot that day.
I've documented before my love of mediocre cheesecake in all forms, and the lemon flavor was a great accompaniment. The strawberries on top were quite nice as well. I'd recommend both desserts although the profiteroles were much more interesting and unusual; the cheesecake probably wasn't much different than what you'd get at a chain restaurant.
Sadly my overall impression is probably in line with what I most commonly hear about Tutto Italia: The food is fine, not great, but it's way too expensive for what you get. It's even harder to justify now that Via Napoli is open next door. I've never had a bad meal at Via Napoli and it's cheaper. I didn't hate Tutto Italia, but I'm not desperate to return.
Have you had a good experience at Tutto Italia? A bad one? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.