As the date of my (first) 29th birthday approached, I knew I wanted to celebrate with three of my favorite things: food, wine, and of course, my husband. Craving something a little fancier than our usual fare, I decided a lovely date night at a newer family-owned restaurant in Kenosha, Tuscany Bistro Bar & Grill, would be the perfect way to spend one of my last 28-year-old evenings.
Having made reservations already (tip: even though they don’t open ‘til 4pm, you can call early), we walked right into Tuscany Bistro on a Sunday night and were seated at a table for two in front of a blazing fire. The warmth tickling my back as I sipped a glass of bubbly prosecco was especially welcomed, considering the negative temperatures outside. The sweet atmosphere of the restaurant was inviting with its Italian charm and open feel...especially the entire wall of wine!
Soon warm, cozy, but ravenous, my husband and I ordered an appetizer from our friendly waitress. When our Calamari Fritti was set in front of us, we dug right in! I’m not usually a huge fan of fried food, but this calamari was prepared in such a light and tasty breading that it didn’t seem heavy or greasy at all. With our calamari, we enjoyed some bread with a special infused dipping oil (mmm, hello garlic!) and a small starter salad.
Our stomachs were half-full already, but as soon as our piping-hot main courses were dished up in front of us, we found plenty of room to fill. It had taken us a while to decide what to order from the menu, which is full of many traditional Italian pasta, gourmet pizzas and meat dishes, but we weren’t disappointed.
My husband had one of the night’s specials, which was salmon topped with a smoky roasted red pepper sauce. The salmon seemed to melt in your mouth, and the red pepper sauce was so rich and bursting with flavor! The fish came with some roasted vegetables on the side, but not wanting to miss out on the authentic Italian cuisine, he also got a small side of pasta with homemade bolognese. Oh, my. If you order a non-pasta dish here, I would recommend following the same route—you must try some pasta! The pasta is perfectly al dente and the sauces are scrumptious.
I also opted for seafood, choosing a popular dish, the Linguine Pescatore. Bonus: As a special that night, you could have it topped off with a lobster tail! And on your birthday, you don’t say no to lobster. The linguini with red sauce was really tasty and perfectly cooked, but the star of the dish, of course, was the tender and juicy lobster tail and other seafood: clams, mussels, scallops, shrimp and baked white fish. Oh.my.gosh. I was stuffed, but somehow kept finding niches in my tummy to fill… While I couldn’t finish all of the pasta, you know I didn’t leave any of that seafood behind.
Full, getting tired, and definitely warmed to the core, we were presented with a dessert menu. I couldn’t possibly have any more room, but again...on your birthday, you don’t say no to dessert either! We opted for the chocolate truffle, which was a dainty and delicious ball of chocolate gelato dredged in hazelnuts and cocoa powder. I was surprised when my waitress brought the dessert out with a candle and “happy birthday” drizzled in chocolate on my plate. So sweet! They certainly know how to treat their guests at Tuscany Bistro.
I won’t even pretend that we (and by we, I mean ME) did not polish off that whole dessert.
After dinner, we were lucky enough to spend some time chatting with the executive chef, Theresa. So friendly and inviting, Theresa told us all about how her father, Guglielmo Ianni, owner of Tuscany Bistro, has been preparing authentic Italian food for decades in the area. Although she had been a chef in Florida (where the family owns another restaurant by the same name) the last several years, Theresa recently came back to join her family in Kenosha and lead the culinary team here. This is a family tradition that I hope stays in Kenosha for a long while.
Theresa said some of her favorite dishes are the Linguini Pescatore (I must have good taste!) and the Rack of Lamb. My husband had almost ordered the lamb, so I guess we’ll have to go back again soon to try it!
Tuscany Bistro is conveniently located just off I-94 and Hwy 50. The bistro is open 7 days a week, from 4pm until close – but they’ll open early for group reservations. While they certainly offer “casual fine dining” in their two dining rooms, they also have a full-scale bar that looked like a fun time. The restaurant can accommodate events and receptions, too. Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, or just want a nice night out with your friends and family, Tuscany Bistro’s friendly Italian atmosphere and cuisine is sure to please.
Buon cibo, buon vino, buoni amici…
Good food, good wine, good friends!
Runner. Newlywed. Design nerd. Live music groupie & wine/beer/cocktail enthusiast. Lover of allthefoods. Spilling on all the great places to eat, drink and play during the day and out at night in Kenosha.