We recently had the chance to visit Tutto Italia during its Carnevale celebration!
This celebration in Epcot’s Italy pavilion took place from February 8th through February 16th, and featured a special menu (click on the image above) and the wearing of masks by the cast members in the restaurant.
History of the REAL Carnevale di Venezia
The famous Carnevale di Venezia happens every year in Venice, Italy, during the weeks just before lent. Mask-wearing at social events during Carnevale was first recorded in the 11th century, and soon became a customary way for noblemen and dignitaries to conduct “business” — including gambling — incognito.
The tradition has had a rocky history, being regulated and also banned several times as Venice fell in and out of the hands of many different governors. Today, the celebration is more of a tourist event than anything else, but the art of mask-making is still alive. Just head into Epcot’s Italy to see a mask artist — and his many stunning creations — from time to time.
Tutto Italia, which recently took over for Alfredo’s Ristorante (of New York City Alfredo’s fame), is a cloth-napkins kind of place. With crystal chandeliers and rich murals of the Italian countryside covering the walls, the restaurant — and its pricing — are a bit on the fancier side. (Your regular theme park-wear is fine here, however.)
You’ll enter into a lobby and seating area, where, through a window, you can watch chefs at work in a small kitchen area.
Once you’re called for your table, you’ll either be seated in a sunroom area, or in the main dining room. The light streaming in the windows of the sunroom area makes it a nice place to dine, and the opulence of the main dining room is extraordinary, so I’m pleased no matter where I’m sitting (not usual for me…the picky diner…and sitter).
Also, don’t forget, your servers are from Italy, so be sure to ask them their suggestions from the menu. They can steer you toward what’s authentic or Americanized, depending on what you’re looking for. And, during our visit, service was excellent; not too rushed, not too slow. Again, we’re picky about that sort of thing!
Although the Carnevale menu was priced reasonably, we decided to opt for a la carte choices from the menu instead. I started with a bottle of San Pellegrino Limonata, which I used to order at the Olive Garden and absolutely love (I know, I know…you loved it, too ;)), but I never buy it at the grocery store for some reason. Anyway, it felt special here!
We were also served some beautiful bread and breadsticks with olives and olive oil.
From there, we ordered the Eggplant Mozzarella, or “Melanzana Alla Parmigiana,” and the Pasta E Fagioli for appetizers. The Pasta E Fagioli was fine, but nothing to exclaim over. I think I’d sample one of the many other appetizers instead of ordering this one again. And, as for the eggplant…well…I keep ordering eggplant in restaurants in the hopes that the sauce and cheese will cover the fact that I’m actually eating eggplant. It rarely works, but, in this case, it wasn’t so bad. The eggplant was a bit bitter, but if you’re a fan of the ol’ aubergine, if you’re trying to get your kids to eat more veggies, or if you’re looking for a good vegetarian appetizer, I’d recommend this one.
For our meals proper, we each wanted to try something a bit different than the standard spaghetti. We ordered a dish Tutto is now calling “Farfalle,” which has bowtie pasta, peas, cream sauce, and prosciutto; and Gnocchi Verdi Gratinati, which is baked spinach potato gnocchi with fontina, parmesan, mozzarella, and gorgonzola cheese. The gnocchi, which is new on the menu, was the winner of our meal. We both enjoyed the Farfalle, but the pasta was slightly more al dente than we liked. The gnocchi had a strong, cheese-y taste, and we were filled up long before the plate was empty.
For dessert, we chose the classic profiteroles and a lemon cheesecake/tart with strawberries. The profiteroles were incredible — filled with vanilla bean gelato and served with the richest hot chocolate sauce I’ve had since my trip to Spain. They are highly recommended. The lemon dessert was delicious as well, and definitely the choice if you’re wanting a lighter (in feel, not necessarily in calories!) dessert.
Overall, we enjoyed Tutto Italia; but at a rather high price point (late teens to twenties for just the pasta dishes) for decent food, I’m not sure we’ll make this an “every-trip” restaurant. The service was great, and the desserts were delicious, however. This might be a good place to stop later on in the evening for dessert and a nice Italian nightcap…
Let me know your thoughts on Tutto Italia, or on the other Italian food in the Disney parks, in the comments section below. I’d love to hear what others thought.
Also, click here to see another review of Tutto Italia from our good friend Cody of the Global Disney Pinvestigation Blog!
The Practical Mom's Disney Vacation Companion says
Lovely photos. Thanks for the info.
You’re killing me, AJ. I don’t have a trip to WDW on the horizon, but every time I see posts like this, I want to just hop a plane and go there right NOW to eat something! The food here looks fantastic.
I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed Tutto. We have not yet eaten there…primarily because I haven’t read too many good reviews!
We last ate at Alfredo’s for the Candlelight Processional dinner package in 2005. The tables were PACKED into the place and it was similar to a cattle call! It would have been tolerable had the food been spectacular. Unfortunately, it was only so-so…
Great review, AJ. I just ate there last weekend for the 1st time, and I really enjoyed it! I ate in the sunroom and really liked the atmosphere. It was a little on the pricy side, but the food and the service was really good! Loved the Italian singers that strolled through the dining rooms!
PMDVC — You’re welcome!
Gray — When ARE you planning another trip?! 😉 No bar or counter at this one, but a seat in the sunroom with a view of world showcase would be great for a solo meal.
Janna — Yep, I remember Alfredo’s being so-so as well. I liked the signature dish, but it wasn’t worth the price. Tutto has a similar feel.
Lea — Thanks for your review and for the mention of the Italian singers! We didn’t experience them, but we were there for an early lunch. Great atmosphere addition!
As from my review, i like Tutto Italia.. FOr somereason i feel that im in the minority.. Never had bad service, etc. … Many of my fellow disney friends, dont like it…
Looked great AJ. LOVE The profiteroles 🙂 HIGHLY Recommended
Cody, Profiteroles were wonderful! I told my husband we had to try them per your review!
I absolutely loved Alfredo’s and was sad to see it go. We have only eaten at Tutto Italia once, which was last summer. I enjoyed it very much. We had a bit of trouble with the maitre’d because two out of our party of 6 were running late due to a late-arriving flight, but our server was so wonderful that I was able to leave the initial unpleasantness behind (not always an easy thing for me!). He suggested a nice wine to complement our meal.
My parents each tried a different chicken dish, I had lasagna and my husband had spaghetti. I always try the lasagna for my first meal at a new Italian restaurant. I figure if they can do a good lasagna, it bodes well for the rest of the menu items!
Everything was very tasty, but I can see why people feel that the food was not outstanding for the price. We were on the Dining Plan, though, and I certainly didn’t feel that we had wasted our table service credit for that meal!
Shayne — You know, because we don’t get the dining plan, I keep forgetting that the “value for the price” might not be as critical to a lot of Disney visitors! For us, it can keep us from coming back to a restaurant that we might otherwise have enjoyed! Thanks for the reminder and the great review.
Great review. The rooms are very pretty. I’ll give it a try.
Thanks, Chris! Would love to hear what you think when you try it!
Thanks for the review of both this, and the pizzeria in Disneyland DTD. My wife and I are huge fans of Tutto Italia, as it’s a very good deal for 1 TS credit. We’ve paid out of pocket before and it gets up there price wise.
However, the service here is top notch, and much less of a cattle car than either Le Cellier or Alfredo’s used to be. I don’t feel bad if I sit and enjoy my dessert with a cup of expresso. Of course with a party of 6 and an automatic 18% gratuity (we normally tip more), the server is more than happy not to rush us, lol.
A good point, indeed, Rodney! We experienced good service here. My last trip to Alfredo’s was several years ago, so I don’t remember whether or not the service was top notch, but I don’t remember it being “outstanding.” What are your favorite dishes at Tutto? Do you always get the same thing, or do you try new items?
“Farfalle” because it means “butterflies” in Italian, and they look like those as much as they look like bowties.
Thanks for another great review AJ!
Thank you, Andrea!!