Friday, 6 April 2012

D'Anna's Cafe Italiano

We took a trip south of the 49th parallel today for a quick shopping trip to Bellingham and the Seattle outlet malls. Michael found D'Anna's Cafe Italiano in Bellingham surfing online and found nothing but great reviews. We decided to give it a try.

D'Anna's located on 1317 North State St, Bellingham, plenty of street parking with more space after 5:30 p.m. at the adjacent bank parking lot. It doesn't look like much from the outside, so you really keep your eyes open to spot this place. I always thought of Bellingham as a pit stop on the way to Seattle without really pausing to enjoy the town itself, and driving through made me realize Bellingham is actually a really cute place. I was a bit skeptical though, since I know there are many places that serve so-called "authentic" Italian food. But any doubts vanished when I walked in and was greeted by a strong garlic aroma in the air, I just knew he food was going to be great. The staff were all very trendy too, many wouldn't look out of place on Main Street Vancouver, or maybe a Death Cab concert.

They make food right before your eyes

One of the first things you see is the kitchen. The chefs work in the bar and you get to see your meal getting prepared well within visible sight. Probably makes the chefs go that extra mile too, since they know they're being watched by the people eating their food. If watching them cook wasnt enough, eating the food really proves the passion in creating their home-style, authentic cuisine.

Sauteed local Chuckanut clams

Michael and I started with the clam steam appetizer ($10.95), with the shellfish mixed in clam and lemon broth with garlic and parsley. The ingredients sound so simple, but the flavours are very complex and delightful. I think they also add a touch of alcohol to the broth. It made for a dish that was perfectly infused and complement each other very well. Complimentary homemade cheese-covered bread also followed every course, I'm usually disappointed by free bread, but D'Anna's really stood out with its taste, a cheesy goodness with a hint of tomato sauce covering perfectly moist bread. We also got a complimentary mixed greens salad, which came lightly dressed with vinaigrette and more bread.

Chicken parmesan with linguine

I was pretty torn between entrees. Should I get the Hot Sicilian Sausage Linguine, Chicken Parmesan, or the Spinich Gnocci served with vegetables and Panchetta? I ended up asking for a suggestion from a server, and was extremely surprised it took our waitress a good half minute to come up with a choice, everything was just that good. I ended up with the chicken parmesan for that traditional feel, served with linguine (16.50) The chicken had a nice outer crunch and was soft and moist inside. The cheese sprinkled on top was a nice bonus.

Lamb tenderloin with yummy gnocci

Michael had the Grilled Lamb Tenderloin ($23.50), eight ounces, smothered with mushrooms and served with spinach potato gnocchi, and tomatoes with butter sage. I tried it out and would have to say the gnocci was just perfect, absolutely delicious compared to the ones I had at O'douls, where it was more chewy than soft. These ones literally fall apart in your mouth, like little drops of potato and spinach heaven. Whoever made them must had godlike hands, they melt apart like butter on a hot pan. I daresay they tasted as good as the ones made in Italy. Michael said the lamb was very tender, super easy to chew and very flavourful. The sauce that was served with the lamb was a plethora of tastes, making for a great dip since the lamb didn't seem to be marinated previously. He said it also looks and eats much bigger than eight ounces. Either way, it looked delicious.

Italian soda

For drinks, I really did want to order Italian wine but I wasn't feeling that great tonight so I settled for Italian soda. I also got to choose different flavours from orange, vanilla, strawberry. Orange it was. It tasted like if Fanta made diet Fanta, not too sweet, which I really liked. Michael had a plain old coke.

Can't say no to complimentary bread and salad :)

The total came to $72 including tip. Michael and I hope we could go back the D'Anna's for their great food and extremely attentive staff. Not to mention the dozens of additional dishes they serve are all reasons in themselves. Ciao!

Follow me on Twitter!

D'anna's Cafe Italiano on Urbanspoon

No comments: