Italian Eatery. Photos by TJ Turner.
Each month, in our Restaurant Rumble conversation, MnMo food critics Jason DeRusha and Joy Summers review two new restaurants as a duo and pick a winner.
Joy: I can’t be the only one wondering, “Where did this gorgeous space come from?” The room formerly held none of this rustic, charming beauty.
Jason: If only we could remake all former Carbone’s Pizzerias to look like this. It’s a stunner. A very loud stunner, however.
Joy: That didn’t really bother my group. We were seated on a high-top bench that was surprisingly comfortable—the bottle of If You See Kay wine probably helped.
Jason: I loved the prosciutto and burrata starter. The prosciutto is dried for 600 days and served with a lovely mostarda and grilled bread. They make their own pasta, too, and the mushroom cappelletti is a perfect noodle served with a whiskey-barrel-aged shoyu!
Joy: Unfortunately, when I had the bucatini, it was cooked unevenly. However, you could put that zesty sauce on anything and I’d eat it.
Jason: Weirdly for a place called Italian Eatery—aside from the cappelletti—the pastas were a weak link for me. Our server suggested the squid ink pasta, and it was a disappointment.
Joy: Our server actually steered us away from that dish—I suspect they’d gotten some unfavorable feedback. Instead, we mostly ordered snacks, including the addictive fried potatoes with nduja aioli, grandmotherly meatballs, and the ubiquitous kale salad.
Jason: If you live near Lake Nokomis, Italian Eatery is a great neighborhood restaurant with lots of potential. But I wouldn’t consider it a destination; it’s probably not worth my 40-minute drive from Maple Grove.
Joy: I have friends who live in this part of town, and for them to have a dining option beyond burgers and pizza is a huge relief. It’s right off highway 62, so for me, even coming from St. Paul, it’s worth the drive.
Italian Eatery Quick Tips
Good for kids: Absolutely! It’s pasta! The loud room also makes it easy for families worried about potential tantrums.
Reservation needed: Yes—the neighborhood is making dining here a habit.
Can’t miss dish: Perfect Roman meatballs
March’s Restaurant Rumble pitted the grandeur of Scena Tavern against the rustic charm of Italian Eatery. Find out which restaurant Jason and Joy chose as the winner in the March issue of MnMo.
Italian Eatery, 4724 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis, 612-223-8504, italianeatery.com