Unless... you do.
You know what I mean. You visit an Italian restaurant and the tomato sauce is thin, the spaghetti noodles are hard and the bread tastes like it was pulled out of a bag — not at all the definition of delizioso.
On the other hand, there are some Italian restaurants that just get it. From the antipasti to the meatballs to the tortelloni, they've managed to wrap up the best of Tuscany and bring it right to your table.
Add to that a children's menu to please my kids and televisions showing sports to please my husband and it's no wonder that the entire family was happy during our recent visit to Tutto Pasta State Street.
Family-owned and operated in the heart of downtown Madison, Tutto Pasta State Street is the quintessential location to experience a delicious authentic Italian meal in a unique, casual and friendly environment.
While the outside appears quite small, there are actually three floors of seating inside as well as patio seating out on State Street during the summer. The menu is filled with nearly every imaginable type of pasta you can think of, a large wine list, and a meal that begins with homemade bread and finishes with a unique selection of desserts.
Although my husband and I had visited Tutto Pasta ages and ages ago, we knew that we were at least a decade overdue for a visit. So what better way to spend lunchtime with the whole family on the weekend?
Entering the restaurant through the cozy bar area...
...we considered sitting in the bright and opening main floor dining area...
...but instead opted to take a seat at a large, comfortable booth at the window with a perfect view out onto State Street. Even though it was a slightly rainy and dreary fall day, it's still always fun to watch the variety of people who might walk by!
After we were settled and had been greeted by a friendly server, we took to perusing the menu.
Oh my, the menu.
Soups, salads, pizzas, calzones, cheese-filled pastas, chicken, veal, red sauce, white sauce... there are even healthy pasta options and the ability to substitute Omega-3, Gluten Free or Organic Wheat pastas (for a small charge) into any of Tutto Pasta's dishes if you prefer.
Upon finally making our lunch selections, we were treated to a basket of homemade bread and a dish of oil and vinegar for dipping. Although I can't be sure that this bread was pulled from the oven only moments before, it was so warm, soft and delicious that I would have believed it had been!
I'm fairly certain that I could have just eaten bread for lunch, but, in a short amount of time, our meals were brought to the table and they looked just as delectable.
Little Sister B and Big Sister E were extremely excited about their children's menu selections of chicken and french fries...
...and spaghetti noodles with butter and Parmesan cheese...
...and I was happy to see that they received large portion sizes that would fill them both up for the afternoon.
At the same time, my husband was eager to dig right in to his Rigatoni Salsiccia (pasta sauteed with onions, sausage, mushrooms and bell peppers in a light tomato sauce)...
...and I couldn't wait to bite into my Focaccia Mediterraneo Panini (tomatoes, basil, garlic and mozzarella on Focaccia bread) with a side salad.
The results? It was all just as delicious as it looked!
Both of the kids and I cleaned our plates (even after having eaten so much yummy bread!) and my husband was happy bringing home half of his pasta so that he could have it later that day for dinner.
As a fun bonus, both of the kids were able to pick a piece of candy as a treat to finish off their meal...
...ensuring that we all left full and happy.
While the prices at Tutto Pasta State Street were reasonable to begin with ($5.00 for a complete kid's meal, including the drink and candy, and $7.95 and $8.95 for the sandwich and pasta, respectively), using our Restaurant.com gift certificate made the whole meal quite the bargain.
Considering the location and the number of reasons that we're often downtown walking on State Street...
|The view upon walking out the front door of Tutto Pasta!|
...I have no doubt that we won't wait nearly as long before visiting Tutto Pasta again in the future. It received two thumbs from the whole family and was the perfect addition to our day!
For more information about Tutto Pasta, visit their website and connect with them on Facebook. To find out about all of the money-saving options that Restaurant.com has to offer in your area (or in an area that you are planning to visit), head over to Restaurant.com as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
As a member of the Restaurant.com Review Crew, I have been provided gift cards and compensation in order to facilitate my reviews. However, all thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.