We recently attended a conference in St. Paul, Minnesota and snuck away from the Crowne Plaza Hotel to have a nice dinner.
Pazzaluna Urban Italian Resturant and Bar was about 2 blocks from our hotel and we took off on foot!
The restaurant looks like it is in a building that was once a bank. Marble colunms, private dining rooms, towering ceilings and velvet drapings made the place feel intimate. Modern decorations gave it a cool vibe. The place was really full on a Friday night before a concert down the street, but the staff found us (with no reservation) a table in the corner near the windows with a view of the entire place.
Our fresh salads were perfectly sized and cold, crisp and fresh. The Strawberry & Avacado had a citrus-vanilla bean vinaigrette while the Arugula with apples and gorgonzola had a honey-apple cider vinaigrette.
The warm focaccia bread in the basket was served with a dollop of olive tapenade.
I immediately chose Four Cheese Gnocchi for my meal, as I still miss the gnocchi in cream sauce served at the former Travato’s. I can be prepared with Bolognese meat sauce or Tomato & Basil sauce, too. Those handmade dumplings, covered in a delicious creamy cheese sauce were soft, fresh and delicious.
Dan ordered the Fettuccine Bolognese which was heavy on the meat in the rich tomato sauce.
While the restaurant buzzed around us, we enjoyed a few glasses of wine and the wait staff knew just when we needed their unhurried attention.
We ended our big city meal with some hot coffee (mine with a side of Bailey’s) and a shared dessert of Chocolate Versato, a chocolate caked baked to order filled with a warm ganache which requires 15 minutes of preparation time.
The menu at Pazzaluna is a la carte and heavy on Italian wording, flavors and feel. Traditonal meat and fish dishes were also offered along with daily specials and vegetarian items. I’d like to go back and try a pizza baked in their wood-fired oven. It is a special occasion restaurant, filled with dressed-up diners, that felt casual, comfortable and intimate.