Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 8
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

T. Maccarone’s: Walla Walla’s intimate Italian dining experience

T. Maccarone’s is easy to miss. Hidden just off of Main Street on Colville Ave., the ambiance of this Italian restaurant is subtle, achieved by the intimate location, low candle-lit lighting and personable wait staff. T. Maccarone

When my boyfriend Ian Jagel and I arrived for our 5:30 p.m. reservations, the restaurant was empty. We were immediately greeted by the owner, who offered to take our jackets and showed us to our seats. Carla Bruni was playing in the background, not very Italian, but charming.

Like any good restaurant in Walla Walla, the local wine list was diverse and amenable to those who have been spoiled by the abundance of choice in the greater Walla Walla Valley. Whites ranged from $24 to $32, reds from $24 to $48. I ordered a blackberry Italian soda ($2.50). I felt like it was mostly cream, which was a bit of a commitment before a meal, though the taste of blackberry was a delightful understatement.

We started with Bruschetta al Pomodoro, for $8. I cut the rough of my mouth on the bruschetta and felt generally overwhelmed about the simultaneous arrival of our appetizer and bread plate, which was the same size as our appetizer and also free. It came with a flavorful sun-dried tomato/butter spread. The pomodoro part of the Bruschetta al Pomodoro was good, mostly olives, but nothing to write home about.

My salad, the Tonno Caprese ($14), was beautiful. Tomatoes and mozzarella garnished in red peppers and mixed greens, I almost didn’t want to touch mine until I looked across the table at Ian devouring his House Insalata ($6) and came to my senses. The Tonno Caprese comes with ahi tuna, though I opted for no fish, the first of several other requests I made that evening as a vegetarian. I found that they were very accommodating. Vegans, this makes dining a T. Maccarone’s a feasible option for you, too. If you are, however, a meat-eater, they offer your pick of prawns, Italian sausage, crisp pancetta (which is an Italian bacon cured in spices), tuna and meatballs.

My entrée was the Vegetarian Lasagna ($16). It arrived warm: but not hot: and slumped over. After the aesthetic triumphs that were our salads, I was slightly chagrined by the state of my food. It was at about this point in the evening that more people started arriving. Intimate while empty, the restaurant soon filled with an overwhelming amount of noise, which included a party of wine tasters laughing and sipping at the wine bar just up the stairs from where we were sitting. Maintaining a conversation grew difficult.

The lasagna did, however, taste delectable. Lasagna has developed a reputation as being the microwavable cousin of the pasta family, but that assumption would be a mistake to make at T. Maccarone’s, where lasagna is less of a comfort food than a gourmet dish. Minus the presentation, which I’m guessing was the mistake of the waiter while bringing it to the table, this dish, with a variety of sliced zucchini, mushroom, carrots and cheese, was satisfying and worth the money.

For dessert, Ian and I split the Spumoni ice cream. “Spumoni ice cream?” you say. Well, we didn’t know either. But taking the advice of the waiter we delved into the green, brown and white swirled cream and were quite surprised. It had hints of coffee, pistachio and sorbet, all with a lightness that left us feeling full, but far from unable to walk, after we’d finished.

T. Maccarone’s certainly holds its own in a town that has proliferated into a hot spot for the restaurant industry. Go there for a date, with friends, or when your parents are in town, and remember to shoot for off-hours if you are looking for an intimate evening. Dress well, make a reservation, and leave your children (or your ill-mannered house mates) at home. Because of the extensive wine list and full bar, it is most suited for those over 21.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Whitman Wire Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *