My dear sweet husband decided I needed a good meal to cheer me up, and offered to take us out for a posh meal. (More than a café type of place - a real restaurant.)
After the medical drama of the day, we decided we need a good restaurant with comfort food. And we agreed on Italian as the cuisine of comfort (since matzah ball soup didn't seem likely).
We found the most amazing Italian restaurant - or, as they call themselves, a pizzeria/spaghetteria - because they only have antipasti, salads, pizza, pastas, and dolci (desserts).
This is THE spot for Italian food in Scottish Dunedin: http://www.etrusco.co.nz/
Absolutely wonderful place. For starters, it's located off The Octagon in central Dunedin, in the old Savoy Hotel. The restaurant is on the first floor, which of course is one flight up from the ground floor. (You can take the elevator, or burn calories pre-dinner by taking the stairs.) The restaurant is in the former tea room, with marble pillars, bevelled mirrors, ornately moulded plaster ceilings, and leaded glass windows with various Scottish coats of arms in stained glass - the place is gorgeous!
And the scents of amazing food - garlic, cheese, prosciutto, basil, marinara - OMG, my taste buds stood up the moment we walked in and began to clamor for food!!!
Richard had his fave, spaghetti carbonara, which came in a light creamy sauce with huge chunks of both pancetta and prosciutto. I chose the Penne al'Verde, a fabulous choice - penne (al dente) in a sauce that I'm guessing was hot cream, Parmesano, and chiffonade of spinach and a hint of basil - the spinach wasn't cooked as much as just heated, so that the sauce was bright green and full of flavor - and the bowl of pasta was sprinkled with toasted pine nuts and more Parmesano. The whole thing was a perfect blend of comforting pasta and cream, summery basil and the more robust spinach, the occasional sweet pine nut, and the salty cheese. It was absolutely wonderful, and while the medium bowl was satisfying, my mouth could have eaten the large bowl. (And how wonderful that the restaurant gives us a choice of medium or large bowls of pasta!)
We splurged on the torta di cioccolato, a rich chocolate cake that comes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on a bed of chocolate sauce - I told you we needed comfort food.
So it was a wonderful meal, we enjoyed it immensely, and we chatted with the maitre d' who also is the son of the owners. Yup, an Italian family in Scottish Dunedin, in a beautiful room, who make magical food.