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Cafe di Scala

During the recent DSM Restaurant Week, we made reservations at Cafe di Scala. We'd never eaten there before and were excited to finally try it for ourselves. We'd heard some great things about their food and knew we were in for an excellent meal.

Located in the historic Sherman Hill neighborhood, the restaurant is located in an old Victorian mansion.

We'd already seen the Restaurant Week menu and pretty much knew what we wanted to order, but we took some time to take a look at the regular menu - the menu changes seasonally and defines "fresh and local."

And, of course, we had to enjoy our pre-dinner Vodka Tonic.

The ambiance at Cafe di Scala is so pleasant - it's contemporary, but relaxing and romantic at the same time. The attention to detail was refreshing.

The view from our table.  

And the food - wow. To say we were impressed is such an understatement. It is so fun to sit back, relax, and know every course is going to be something spectactular.  

I started with the Crostini alla Rustica. South Union ciabatta toasted with basil pesto, asiago & red onion. Topped with garlic and fennel marinated grape tomatoes. The crisp ciabatta was seasoned to perfection and the tomatoes added the perfect sweet finish. This was amazing.

Grant enjoyed the Zuppa di Calabria. Carmelized onions, marsala and garlic soup with crostini, romano and parsley. The soup was smooth and silky, full of flavor. Another winner. 

The 100% Italian wine list is a real treat. With many wines from regions in Italy we weren't familiar with, it was a great learning experience. We finally chose the 2007 Vobis Tua - a Barbera that was the perfect complement to both of our dinners.

For dinner, Grant ordered the Cavatelli di Lemmo. Handmade noodles tossed with marinara, Pecorino romano, Graziano's Italian sausage and fresh basil. The sauce was rich and satisfying and every piece of pasta was saturated with flavor.

I chose the Pollo con Prosciutto. Chicken breast stuffed with Italian cheeses and wrapped with prosciutto. It was served with risotto and sauteed green beans. This dish was seriously awesome - the salty crispiness of the prosciutto was balanced by the creamy cheese and chicken. And that risotto - it was delicious. I could have eaten just that risotto for dinner and been perfectly happy. (But I'm glad I didn't have to do that!)

The great thing about Restaurant Week menus is that you get all 3 courses - appetizer, entree and dessert - for $25. We usually skip dessert or maybe share something if we're feeling adventurous, so it was so nice for each of us to get to choose a dessert.

I went with the Homemade Tiramisu. It was heavenly. I mean, just look at it!

Grant, who I couldn't believe turned down a Flourless Chocolate Torte, had the Vanilla Panna Cotta. Cool and luscious, the balsalmic strawberries on the side added another level of sweetness. Excellent dessert.

So as you can see, our first visit to Cafe di Scala was outstanding. We thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of our dinner there. We were seated exactly at our reservation time. We so enjoyed the 'feel' of the restaurant, one of the best we've found in Des Moines. Our server, Kelly, was top notch. She was right there when we needed her and quick to clear plates between courses, but gave us plenty of time to enjoy our meals. She also recommended an excellent Pinot Grigio that we enjoyed with our desserts. Can't say enough about her first-rate service.

While Cafe di Scala will be more of a special occasion restaurant for us, we're already looking forward to our next visit. Try it for yourself, you won't be disappointed. Let's see, my birthday is coming up....

Cafe di Scala

644 18th Street
Des Moines, IA  50314



Thursday - Saturday  5pm - 10pm

Menus, catering information and more at www.cafediscala.com

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