It’s no secret that I love Italian food. One of my favourite local restaurants is Viale Cannova. Authentic food and wonderful ambiance are the norm at Viale Cannova but it’s more a special occasion restaurant than a place for a weeknight meal. Da Vinci has the authentically delicious Italian food but is a more casual, less expensive destination for an Italian dinner. Fluorescent lights in the main dining room detract from the ambiance a little but the quality of the dishes let you overlook what might be lacking in atmosphere.
I dined there with my extended family last week and had a scrumptious meal. We started with the bruschetta – toasted crusty bread with fresh tomatoes, basil, red onion and extra virgin olive oil. I love bruschetta so it’s no surprise that I enjoyed this starter. One thing I’m not so fond of is the trend of adding raw red onion. I’d prefer it was left out.
There were 10 of us at dinner that night so between us all we had quite a good sample of the menu. My uncle ordered a pizza – napoletana sauce, fresh mushroom ,olives, ham, salami and bocconcini. The crust was thin and crispy and it had good cheese distribution. The verdict was good.
My aunt had the king prawn risotto. It was very tasty but a little rich. The prawns were fresh and perfectly cooked and I liked how the bodies were shelled.
My cousin had the spinach and ricotta ravioli and said it was delicious.
For dad it was the tagliatella al cinghiale – homemade tagliatelle pasta made with wild boar sauce. Described as a classic Tuscan dish, this pasta has nice chunky pieces of boar in a tomato-based sauce. I have had it before and the pasta was silky and perfectly cooked and the ragu very tasty.
I ordered the homemade lamb cannelloni made with roasted lamb, prosciutto, mascarpone, parmesan cheese, béchamel and napoletana sauce.
Oh boy was this good. I ate it way too fast because it was so tasty. From the description of the sauce I thought it would be very rich and heavy but the sauce was nice and light and fresh and the meaty filling wasn’t too rich at all. I could have had another round of this meal.
The prize for the prettiest meal went to the veal cutlets. They were served crumbed, topped with prosciutto and parmesan, oven baked, served with wine based sauce and potato and sugar snap peas. The report was that it was delicious and cooked just as requested.
Mum had the gamberi – peeled Australian prawns wrapped in a thin layer of lardo, oven cooked, then served in a bed of fresh cherry tomatoes and olives. It was a very generous portion of beautifully fresh prawns. The description of a bed of tomato and olives was a little off – the olives turned out to be an olive tapenade on the side.
Nearly all of us were well and truly stuffed after our meal but we were rather intrigued as to what a glass of ‘whine’ might look like, especially a 12 year old one.
My uncle managed to make a little room for dessert and ordered the apple tarte tatin. While it wasn’t really a tarte tatin, it was beautifully spiced, the crust was flaky and crunchy and it was a very generous portion.
Overall, I recommend Da Vinci for a casual dinner and very tasty meal. The courtyard has the best atmosphere so make sure you request a seat out there. Da Vinci also does take-away pizza and a smaller version of their menu from the take-away section adjoining the restaurant.
Da Vinci is located at shop 7, 531 Sandgate Road (in the Figtrees complex).