A little restaurant in Bloomington is offering big flavors from Europe.
Eric Shangraw is having pasta at Caffe Italia in this week's You Gotta Eat.
Caffe Italia is serving authentic Sicilian flavors. The two guys who run it were born in Sicily. Marcello Marotta and Frank Composto (sounds like pasta) designed the restaurant after the Italian Bars you find overseas, minus the liquor.
"This restaurant is very unique in its' own way. We try to make everything the way it is in Sicily. We get all our stuff from Chicago. We don't buy nothing here in Bloomington," said Marotta.
"The lemon cake is similar to the lemon cake that you would find in Naples. In Naples, they are known for their lemons. And they use they're lemons in their cooking. (And that's what you'll find here?) Yes, it is what we have here," said Composto.
The ingredients for all menu items are brought in from Chicago. Even the Gelato, the Italian ice cream is made from scratch.
"I'm trying the Amaretto Gelato. Marcello makes it. It is fabulous. There is peach and kiwi. Green apple. I think he has 9 flavors. Strawberry. It is the best you will ever find. The best you will ever find," said customer Bobbi Hynes.
Photographer Doug Smith went with the Ham and Swiss Panini. He liked he large portion of meat and fresh bread.
I had Marcello's pasta of the day. It changes daily. Today; a creamy basil pesto sauce with shrimp. –Very green and very rich. A side of seasoned garlic bread helped calm the basil bite.
We followed up Cannoli. It holds perfectly sweetened ricotta cheese and is garnished with a candied orange rind. My espresso was made with Lavazza coffee beans. Those beans are the Starbucks of Italy.
Our bill with drinks; $25.10.
We left after Doug grabbed a chocolate Gelato for the road.
Caffe Italia is at 1804 S. Hershey Road in Bloomington.
It is in the Brookridge Center.
Closed on Sundays.