4001 South Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL, USA

The Discriminating Diner went on the road to the far northern reaches of SWFL. We landed in Sarasota, while technically not exactly SWFL many do travel there as it is a nice day trip. We were seeking to try a locally owned restaurant and we chose Café Baci located on US 41. We knew nothing about this restaurant prior to dining there and let me tell you that the foodie gods shinned upon us as we found a gem.

They have been in Sarasota since 1991 however they have owned restaurants in Italy and in New York City since 1952.  The atmosphere is delightful and Romanesque. They have fresh flowers on each table, cloth tablecloths and napkins. It is an elegant setting but not so over done that you feel uncomfortable.

We were there for lunch and were warmly greeted by their hostess. She took us to our table by the windows and where we had a nice view of the entire restaurant. Our server soon arrived. She was warm, friendly and very professional. We were impressed with her as she truly added to the experience.

We started with a glass of wine, the house chardonnay ($7). When asked, we were told it was Foxhorn, Southern Australia. It was excellent for a house wine, light and bright and very refreshing.

For lunch we chose from their pre-fixe options ($15) which included a soup/salad or a dessert. The soup was an Osso Bucco Stew which I never had before. I must say that I could have eaten another bowl of it as it was that good. The vegetables were all fresh and the veal was very tender.

For the entrée I picked the Ravioli Di Funghi – Wild mushroom stuffed pasta half-moons in a light pink sauce. These are made in house and were so light and delicious. They were not overly stuffed, and the filling was perfectly balanced. To say these are outstanding is an understatement.

My dining partner wanted spaghetti and meatballs with the sauce on the side. She does not like much sauce on her spaghetti and they were very accommodating. The meatballs, while small, were exceptionally good. They do put cheese in their meatballs, which is traditional for some areas in Italy. The sauce was also very good but does have oregano in it for those who may not be a fan of oregano.

We opted for dessert and had the tiramisu. It was the perfect ending to a great meal. Well, that and the coffee. From the atmosphere, the service, the food and the wine, Café Baci is knows what they are doing. So, if you find yourself in Sarasota and are looking for a great place to eat and wonderful dining experience then do stop by Café Baci.

Overall Rating: Excellent

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