Just came from Briganti in So. Pas. Thanks to all you hounds it was a breeze to choose a delightful restaurant once we breezed into town from Berkeley.
So here's the scoop:
Our reservation was for 9:00 and we were seated promptly and greeted warmly. The building is brick and creates a warm ambience with the candlelight glow throughout. How many tabletops, I'm not sure. Indoors I think it's about 30. We weren't seated outside, but there are a number of tables there.
The specials were shrimp scampi and rib-eye steak. We went for menu standards - I the Tagliata al Rosemarino (NY steak with Rosemary) and he the Vitalla Alla Pizzaiola (veal with tomatoes and oregano). The steak was cooked med rare, sliced and served with a balsamic vinaigrette sauce that was delicious. When I asked what else was added to the viaigrette I was told the chef didn't share his secrets. I tried with two different servers, so they obviously have their instructions. Anyway, since it was a little heavy and sweet I'm assuming a honey or molasses was added. The thickener did not taste too heavy, so I'm not certain what it was. Good! As for the veal, the light tomato sauce was tangy and light enough to not overpower the veal. The veal was a served with mash potatoes. The steak was served with cubed fried potatoes done lightly. Very good. I'd like to fine the recipe.
We both enjoyed our plates, but we each found ourselves removing tough gristle - not much, but enough to make a dent in the experience.
I had a glass of chianti and a glass of cabernet from the list. The chianti was too mellow to be impressive. The cabernet, of course, was smooth and went with the steak nicely. Not a paired match, but the pinot grigio in the glass was very good - dry and slightly sweet - oh so slight. Unfortunately, I don't know the vintners. Sorry hounds.
Ended with a shared canoli - ricotta with chocolate chip filling in a pecan crisp roll and strawberries on the side.
Overall, the meal was very good. This is a pricey restaurant, (total came to 100.65) but the food and ambience make it a good place to be. As to service, we did feel rushed and were wondering whether that was the result of a 9:00 p.m. reservation. We were out of there by 9:55.
My wife and I also had a great experience on Monday, July 9. Our first time there, we ordered simple dishes. She had the ravioli with pink sauce and I had the pasta special, which had a sausage red sauce. For an appetizer, we had the burrata cheese and tomatoes with a pesto sauce. The meal was great. We will be going back just to have that addicting appetizer. The pastas were also very tasty despite their simplicity. Highly recommended.
I too had a great meal there.We had a professional, knowledgable, Italian waiter who recommended a great red wine called Modus (cab blend). I had the linguine al mare, delicious in a light tomato/garlic sauce with shrimp, scallops, mussels and clams. Hubby had an excellent insalata di mare with a tasty vinagrette dressing and LOTS of seafood on mixed greens, and a special, fettucine in a fontina cheese/black truffle sauce--very rich. Parents had fillet of sole with spinach and somewhat bland mashed potatoes and the risotto del contadina (veggies and sausage.) Good, solid food at a decent price. Desserts were just OK. Hubby had biscotti with vin santo, sister had panna cotta (nice and subtle) and I had flourless chocolate cake (I like Cafe Bizou's better.) I would return, definitely--especially for that seafood salad!
I three had a great meal there as did Ortega, went for lunch had the Briganti Salad (with tuna) the linguine al mare and the Pizza with sausage and peppers. The tuna tasted a bit tinny, otherwise it would have been perfect. The linguine had lots of seafood and the sauce was one smidgen shy of perfection. The pizza pretty much was a perfect gourmet pizza with fresh pieces of savory sausage and pre-roasted yellow bell pepper (could have been a few more) that was one of the nicest and tastiest touches for a pizza I've had in a long time, sauce was perfect, right chew, a real find. The waitress was very knowlegable, Ortega asked for parmesan, which she told him it better go on the pizza and not the seafood linguine and stood over him to make sure. I can't take him anywhere. Best Italian I've had in Pasadena. In the words of our illustrious Governer, "I'll be back!"