Now, we get to bring you inside! First up — the Ribbon Cutting at the Grand Opening of Tutto Gusto and Tutto Italia!
Mickey and Minnie showed up in their Italian costumes and celebrated along with Nick Valenti, CEO of Patina Restaurant Group; Joachim Splichal, Chef and founder of Patina; and Erin Youngs, VP of Epcot.
Next, we went into Tutto Gusto — welcoming the cool atmosphere and air conditioning!
As promised, Tutto Gusto — Italy’s new Wine Cellar — is themed like a wine cave inside. Large and small tables are set up around a long bar, and a wall of gorgeous wines punctuate the darkened room.
Mouth-watering meats, cheeses, and other antipasto ingredients are displayed in a refrigerator next to the bar.
I love the creative wine bottle lighting over the main bar area!
And the wine fridges lining the far wall offer a fun and functional decor element.
The seating here at Tutto Gusto is rustic and simple. There are several tucked-away seating areas that accommodate different group sizes.
Most enchanting to me is the little fireplace alcove. Decked out with comfortable sofas, upholstered stools, ceramic art decor, and the centerpiece fireplace, this spot is pure relaxation for park-goers.
As for food here, you’ll be treated to some impressive wines as well as small plates, meats, and cheeses.
This location will function much like Mexico’s La Cava del Tequila — reservations are not taken, and seating is first come, first served. However, servers will be around to take your order and deliver food and beverages.
During the Grand Opening event, I got chance to sample several of the rich cheeses and delicious, savory meats from the front counter; and I even had the chance to indulge in one of the cavatappi pasta dishes, complete with potatoes, pancetta, and pecorino!
The cheeses — asiago, fontina, parmigiano (oh. my. gracious — you MUST have the parmigiano), mozzarella, and more. These were outstanding; some of the best on property, easily. And coupled with the rich meats, these are truly the perfect appetizer or small meal when working your way around the World.
My favorite meat served was the large, round Finnochiona slices in the middle! Slightly fatty and very flavorful!
Next up was the cavatappi. Tutto Gusto will serve several small plates, but all pasta served here will be the corkscrew-shaped cavatappi — get it? Wine bar? Corkscrew? Seriously, that’s why they chose it! 🙂
Anyway, if you have the chance to try this version — the Rughetta e Patate — jump at the chance! It’s truly incredible. You don’t NEED sauce when you have this combination of flavors…
Also from Tutto Gusto, we got the chance to sample the Torte di Nocciole — a Hazelnut polenta cake with Nutella (eep!) and Piemonte cream. While I’ve been a bit off of chocolate desserts lately, the light combo of the Nutella with the Piemonte cream on the top was incredible.
True to my “you-can’t-take-her-anywhere!” nature, I scraped all of the puffy cream and Nutella off of the top before I actually ate the underside of the polenta cake. What can I say — life is short; eat frosting first.
Anyway, the whole cake was delicious, though the actual polenta portion was not what you’d expect. It’s not soft and mushy; instead it’s a harder “cake,” — actually more like a rice krispie treat mouth feel, believe it or not. (Forgive me Tutto Gusto — that’s the only way I can think of to describe it. ;-D) The Hazelnut-chocolate flavor is very popular right now, so it makes sense to include this dish on the menu. I liked it, but I’m eager to see what else is available for dessert (like Cannoli!).
Tutto Gusto is going to be a showstopper. I think that the popularity of La Cava del Tequila in Mexico is the perfect example of how much Epcot visitors want a quick stopover where they can sit down, relax, enjoy a drink and a small plate of food, and then move on.
I’m loving this not-quite-counter-service / not-quite-table-service thing they have going on. It still makes you feel relaxed and rejuvenated, but you get in and out quickly.
Tutto Italia, Italy’s long-standing “fancy” Italian restaurant, has been renovated yet again.
While it will look a lot like you remember. The huge Italian murals are still there, the chandeliers and ceiling beams are the same, and you can still sit in the “sun room” or in the main dining room.
HOWEVER! Here’s the fun part — much of the indoor seating has been turned into booths!
And guests can now be seated on a lovely outdoor patio as well as in the two internal dining rooms!
The table settings are high-end, as always.
As for food from Tutto Italia; at the Grand Opening event we got the chance to indulge in the new Polenta Valsugana dish — short ribs over polenta and fontina cheese. The short ribs were tender and delicious, and the polenta was flavorful, if a bit thick.
Meet the Chef
Joachim Splichal, Chef & Founder of the Patina Restaurant Group, is a culinary master.
His accolades include the 1989 opening of Patina in Los Angeles which was the catalyst for the city becoming known as a global dining destination. With restaurants on both coasts, and a catering division that has served innovative meals to guests at the Primetime Emmy Awards and the royal couple Prince William and Kate Middleton at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles. Splichal has earned numerous awards along the way.
Inducted into the James Beard Foundation, the prestigious organization also nominated him twice as “Chef of the Year.” He has been honored as one of the nation’s “Legendary Chefs” by Bon Appétit and has appeared as a guest judge on Gordon Ramsay’s MasterChef.
When’s your next visit to Tutto Italia or Tutto Gusto? Do you like the new set-up? Any menu items you hope to try?
Thanks to Disney for inviting me to attend this Grand Opening event! While the food was complimentary, all of my opinions are my own. See more on our disclosure policy.