By Kristine Hornung-Pottle:
A chilly Sunday evening was the perfect time for us to try La Tavola Trattoria for a family dinner outing. It is a perfect addition to the family filled area of North Buffalo. Located at 1458 Hertel Ave, it’s ready to greet the neighborhood as regulars and welcome others into the hood!
The entrance is through a great little patio for summer dining, which is always appreciated on those warm evenings. The inside of the restaurant is a two level cozy place with a very welcoming feel from the minute you walk in. To the left is a small open kitchen with an impressive wood fire oven and smiling chefs that greet you. To the right, there is an inviting little bar area that will be the perfect place to have a drink and unwind (especially since the restaurant got its Liquor License in the mail just today) The primary dining area is upstairs in a loft with great old photos of Buffalo lining the walls. My 6-year-old son said as we walked up, “this would be a great house to live in with such a big fireplace!” It described the ambiance perfectly for me…La Tavola Trattoria feels like you are warming by a fireplace for a family Sunday dinner, even if it is not Sunday!
We hunkered down for some eating and pondered the menu. They have an Italian menu with some Creole influence. I love the build your own pasta idea. This makes it easy to try lots of options and share. We opted to try their wood fired chicken wings, one of their pizzas, a signature pasta dish and a side of meatballs. They first brought a fresh baked mini loaf of bread and a house seasoned olive oil to the table. We gobbled it up and I am glad they did not bring more; it was the perfect amount to start with. Next was the wings, they were served with a dipping aioli and came hot, crispy and juicy from the fire roasting. I think the seasoning was delicious but may need a tiny bit more salt to make them pop.
We got the next three dishes all at once to share family style. The signature pasta dish was a large portion of linguine, sausage, chicken, shrimp and complimenting vegetables in a Cajun cream sauce. It had great flavor and the perfect amount of heat in the spice. The pizza was fantastic. The sauce made it for me. The dough was fresh, crispy and with a little char from the oven. It was balanced and would make a Naples native proud. The meatballs were the best I have had in a while. Again, the sauce was excellent and tasted like it was made from fresh tomatoes. The meatballs were moist, perfectly infused with the flavors from the marinara and I was glad we had some left to take home. We were way too full to try dessert but the bananas foster bread pudding sounded intriguing and their signature cannoli martini seemed fun for a table to share.
This lovely meal proved to be more than enough with leftovers for a table of three and really economical at a total cost of about $50.00. I am sure when adult beverages are available it will drive this cost up a bit but La Tavola Trattoria is kid friendly and I highly recommended a try.