Comings, Goings and a Sweet Surprise from Italy

By Megan McDonald July 18, 2011

Dolce Italia was my favorite treat this week. Scroll down for more.

Well, it's no surprise that First Street Chop House called it quits recently. After a rather odd email blaming the late rent on the parking meters and a snippy message at the end- the doors are closed. My personal opinion: Just couldn’t get a half decent meal, with or without free parking. But I just love that building, which has never seemed to be able to make a business bloom since Monroe’s. Someone please jump in with GOOD food for a change!

Solorzano’s has left its Siesta Drive outpost and is reopening in Gulf Gate in August. Deli Lane is gone, too, but there's a sign in that space, so look for another restaurant opening in it in late August. 

Patty’s on Main has opened in the space that hosted Patrick’s (which has since moved across the street and down a block). Plenty of chat about whether the name is politically correct and the “unspoken” code of respect for former employees (since Patty was one of them), but nonetheless, I hope for good food and cheer—the space had gotten tired.

Looks like Ocean’s Blue will be opening soon on Hillview—casual and cool, look for a variety of small plates and late-night dining. Also new on the scene on Hillview is the Lollicake Queen store--what an adorable idea, and the carrot cake pop was outright delicious and whimsical with each bite.

And the most anticipated openings: Indigenous—which is Steven Phelps creative concept and will hopefully open in August, and Eat Here, Sean Murphy’s newest concept for casual dining, whose outpost will be on Main Street.

Porcini risotto--yum!

Now for the best part of the week: Dolce Italia on Superior Avenue. Jack Littman-Quinn first discovered this little Gulf Gate gem and he described it perfectly as an osteria. You feel like you are in someone’s home—a warm, loving and friendly home, where the people that live there want to share and feed. The wine selection is limited but growing, and I enjoyed a  Barbera Alba Superiore for only $35 a bottle.

Love at first bite: Italian strawberry sponge cake with cream.

The food here is made with love, and you taste it at first bite. We were charmed and delighted with generous portions of homemade mozzarella and parmesan pizza, delicate eggplant parmesan, porcini risotto, homemade pasta tubes with bay scallops, shrimp with fresh tomatoes and white wine, and an incredible Italian strawberry sponge cake with Italian cream—certainly a true dolce experience. There are only seven tables at Dolce Italia and they have quite a following so I recommend reservations—plus they will be on a well-deserved vacation late August till mid September.

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