By E. BrownBasilico Ristorante

Downtown Olympia Washington is a great place for walking. The open air parks and proximity to the coast make it a very nice place to visit during the hot Summer months. If you happen to be looking for dinner while walking downtown, one of your stops should be the Basilico Ristorante.

Located off Capitol Way and Fifth Avenue, the Basilico Ristorante Italiano is a taste of authentic Italy in the American north west. I had the chance to drop by on a recent visit and wanted to share my findings.

Although the menu is filled with mouth-watering fresh hand-made pastas do not neglect the other entrees. While I was visiting I was not looking for a full pasta dish but something lighter with, perhaps, a small plate of noddles on the side. The Smoked Salmon Salad caught my eye.

One of the first things I noticed about Basilico Ristorante was the unique twist they added to their dishes. Before the salad came out I was brought a variety of breads. Typically, I have a small plate of olive oil for dipping the bread into but here it was a little different. They added a daub of couscous in the middle of the plate. Fun!

I thought I would see how accomodating they were and asked for a small plate of pasta on the side as my salad came out. The waiter let me know up front that the pasta was hand-made earlier in the day and may not be as fresh. The fetuccini came out and I had a nice glass of white wine to mix.

Some of the other items that caught my eye were:
Pastas– Italian Riviera Tagliatelle made with prawns, Manila clams, calamari, halibut and salmon in plum tomato sauce, and the Pappardelle with Wild Boar Ragu
Salads– Duck Breast Salad and Pear Salad with sweet Gorgonzola
Entree– Angus beef, Rabbit Cacciatora, Crispy skin wild Alaskan Halibut, and Pancetta wrapped Pork loin

For a light dessert I had the Tiramisu. The waiter was kind enough to give me a small glass of sparkling Dessert wine to go with it. Refreshing.

Overall, I found the Basilico Ristorante to be very good. The staff was not overly familiar but they were friendly and attentive. The store, though a shot-gun building, was light and open. The dark stained woods contrasted well with the tile and faux painting. The menu and wine list offered enough variety that should keep patrons returning.

Next time you are in Olympia, Washington I may see you at the Basilico Ristorante.

Bon Appétit!

*For more on restaurants, food, and recipes, visit the Grub category of WeirdGuy Blog.