Anytime that I have an opportunity to dine in Epcot’s World Showcase, I grab it!
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There are so many wonderful restaurants here, and I’m always lamenting the fact that I haven’t been to one or another in a long time.
When I was in town recently for the New Fantasyland media event, I had some free time and decided that it was the perfect night to pop in to Italy to see how Tutto Italia was faring after its most recent renovation.
So after arranging my Advanced Dining Reservation for 8pm, I headed over to meet my friend for a late dinner amid the beautiful holiday decorations in World Showcase.
Tutto Italia and the newly opened Tutto Gusto Wine Bar are situated in the back left corner of the Italy Pavilion (if you’re facing into the pavilion). The restaurant reopened after a renovation in early Summer and now features updated seating and the brand new wine bar next door.
Tutto Gusto is a new stop on your Drinking Around the World odyssey, and is definitely worth your time and dollars. You can see my initial impressions of Tutto Gusto in my review.
But on this night, we were headed into Tutto Italia. When the restaurant first reopened I was glad to see that not much had changed. The grand and formal space really feels like it could have been transported from Rome. The gorgeous murals made the cut (though I heard that they almost didn’t stay!).
And the crystal chandeliers continue to add elegance to the restaurant. Sometimes it’s a bit jarring to see people dressed in Mickey t-shirts amid all this finery, but I’m so glad that Disney has preserved some of the original vision of the World Showcase restaurants.
Seating includes some tiny two tops (is it just me, or do you always kind of feel like you’re eating with the people next to you when you’re sitting at tables this close together?) as well as seating for larger groups and families.
Guests can also dine in a Sunroom or on the new outdoor patio!
Here’s one of the biggest tables…this one’s for your family reunion!
The biggest change to the layout of Tutto Italia is the subtraction of some of the tables and chairs, and the addition of some booths and banquettes.
While the main dining room is a bit loud with its soaring ceilings (although carpeting does keep the din a bit lower), there is still sunroom seating available.
The new outside patio is a great spot to eat — especially on those comfy Florida days in the Spring and Fall. During colder months, they may actually enclose this spot for additional cool weather dining.
Here’s a view of the patio from the Italy pavilion promenade. Great for people-watching!
We were anxious to dig into that menu though, so let’s get started with our dinner!
As we were seated, we noticed several wine specials available.
The beverage portion of the menu offered even more choices, including one of my favorites, the Italian Margarita.
The new menu is small, but features some interesting options. We couldn’t wait to dig into a few of the new options!
I did inquire about side dishes, since that’s what the menu said to do. We were informed that only green beans were available that evening. (That was a bit of a letdown.)
But we bounced back when the complimentary bread service was served.
The combination of soft focaccia and crispy breadsticks is a nice contrast, and the colors of the fresh olives and extra-virgin olive oil were beautiful. I’m not a big fan of olives, but my friend enjoyed them a lot.
Next, we shared the Prosciutto di Parma, which was accompanied by Gnocco Fritto, or fried squares of pasta. The somewhat dry, salty prosciutto was perfect, and exactly what we expected. The fried gnocco were crispy and hot, and a fun complement to the meat.
I sampled the Minestrone Con Tubetti for my next course. This would have been pretty good…except it was served a little tepid. OK, it was cold. That was unfortunate, because the taste was decent and I was looking forward to some soup. Ya win some, ya lose some — especially at Disney where things can be pretty inconsistent.
For my entree, I chose the Fettucine Vecchia Roma with prosciutto and Parmesan cream. (Doesn’t that sound awesome?!?)
It was creamy, indulgent, savory heaven. The sauce was velvety smooth, and I wanted to eat every bite and politely scrape the bowl. (I did not. But I wanted to.)
My friend chose to bypass the pasta and went for the Polenta Valsugana instead. I thought it was an excellent choice; I’d had it at the media preview and loved it.
The presentation for this dish was something special as well. The components for the dish arrived separately. We assumed this was to maintain the integrity of the polenta — and to highlight that beautiful fontina!
The sauce was a slow-cooked, rich concoction that was meaty with plenty of bright tomato flavors. This reminded me of the “gravy” that Italian friends talked about having for Sunday dinners.
The meatballs were enormous, and the shortrib was braised to fork-tender perfection. My friend found it incredible (yay!).
We managed to pry ourselves away from our meals before we cleaned our plates to leave a little stomach room for something sweet.
I am truly mourning the loss of the profiteroles from the menu with the renovation. Those were ah-mazing. And now the dessert menu resembles more of what I expect from an Italian restaurant dessert menu — nothing much that I really want to try.
Alas, we both decided on lighter options. I chose the Raspberry No-Sugar-Added Sorbetti. I was expecting something that would be only naturally sweet, but I instead received an artificially sweetened sorbet. I wasn’t a big fan, but if you are expecting that flavor profile, then you might not mind it. It was another pretty presentation, at least.
The dessert that piqued my friend’s interest was the Pistachio Panna Cotta.
She adores pistachio, so while I’m not a big fan of panna cotta (what I normally think of as “milk jello”), she thought it was pretty good.
It offered a firm, smooth texture and a pleasing amount of pistachio flavor. It wasn’t too sweet other — another plus for her. And again, the presentation was really pretty.
I also tried the Torta di Nocciole at the Media Event I attended. This Hazelnut Polenta Cake actually has a harder “cake,” — actually more like a rice krispie treat mouth feel, believe it or not. The flavors are nice if you’re a fan of hazelnut.
Our meal at Tutto Italia was perfectly pleasant. The food was decent, and we were seated immediately when we arrived. Regarding our service, it was friendly enough, but a bit slow and inattentive. We were there at the end of the evening, however.
There were a couple of missteps with the food. Normally, I would have sent the cold soup back, but with all of the other food I knew we’d be consuming, I just didn’t worry about it. And I would have liked a little more variety of side dishes than just green beans, but maybe it was just owing to the lateness of the hour. I would also love if some of the Tutto Gusto cheese plates were available at the restaurant!
Still, I would recommend Tutto Italia for the lovely surroundings and the great entrees. The fettuccine was truly wonderful, and my friend was gaga over her polenta. 🙂
What have you tried at Tutto Italia since the menu update? Let us know how it went!