Megan St James

What happens when fine dining collides with fun – well you have Il Localino. This North Highlands eclectic Italian trattoria pulls out all of the stops to make moments into memories. This is due to the owners, Giovanni and Gale; whose take on life carries over to the total dining experience – it’s Italian home cooking in a cozy setting, but it’s more than that, it’s how they celebrate the joy of people coming together. The recipes for these masterful creations have been passed down through the generations within Giovanni’s family, and they’re made each night for your pleasure..

As with any great Italian meal, one breaks bread together and shares antipasto to fire up the palate and to start an evening of enduring conversation. At times it is hard to get a word in, as these nibbles are way too tasty. From the creamy Prosciutto di Parma with cantaloupe, to the nutty Parmigiano-Reggiano, to the crispy yet delicate Hearts of Palms - these appetizing flavors seem to have a way to intensify with each bite. But it’s the Pesto alla Genovese made with finely chopped walnuts in the basil-garlic blend that will rock those taste buds- don’t let it leave the table- the urge to come back to it is irresistible. Now that all of the senses have become fully aroused, send them over the edge with simply the smell from the sizzling garlic and lemon of the baked clams oreganata. These mouth-watering morsels will cause one to gasp at the first taste.

The savory robust Paccheri alla Bolognese is so pleasing to the soul and tastes simply amazing. The large tube pasta is covered with a rich tasting meat sauce that’s somewhat feisty, and when topped with freshly grated Parmigiano this highly flavored dish is absolutely to die for. The second courses at Il Localino feel like brushstrokes of a di Vinci masterpiece- simply breathtaking. To excite those last few sleepy taste buds indulge into some of the most exciting seafood in the city, the Cioppino- an unbelievable fisherman’s stew. It’s truly a work of genius that consists of lobster, king crab, clams, mussels, and sea bass all bathing in a savory tomato broth whose flavors are intertwined with fresh herbs and garlic creating a zesty seafood feast that can only be described as stunning - this dish is created from Giovanni’s heart, a labor of love. Ask for some fresh bread to slop up the broth, as it is just way too yummy...

After some impromptu dancing and singing, the party-like atmosphere always settles back to the reason why people get together to eat- to feel nurtured and to connect with each other while enjoying the treasures of the kitchen. The treasures really sparkle with their decadent warm Chocolate Soufflé and the coffee tasting creamy Tiramisu , when you think you can’t take another bite, somehow you notice the fork. Besides the foods and the ultra-friendly staff, the greatest pleasure at Il Localino is the unexpected. memorable evening- can’t think of a better way to enjoy life. Buon appetito!!!