Tavola Trattoria is the restaurant that people go to when they want elegant Italian food in Bentonville. Certainly there are many other choices for Italian dining in the area, both independent and chain restaurants. However, when people go to Tavola, they are looking for that special experience. That includes the funky glasses that come in all sorts of odd shapes and convince you that you are tipsy even before the wine is poured. The unique spongy bread is so delicious and so far from the stale crusty so-called bread that was served by Italian restaurants of yesteryear. Those things are nice, but people keep coming back to try the many unique recipes at Tavola, which one could term nouvelle Italian cuisine, except it’s not the least bit snotty!
I have had the pleasure to dine with others on several occasions, and my recent visit was no exception. I ordered the Mirabella’s Special Pasta, a four cheese ravioli served in a bolognese sauce, with melted bualo mozzarella and parmesan cream sauce. It was luscious. I often have the Ravioli Tavola, which is described as “pasta pillows with blue crab meat”. Though it’s not a ravioli, the Crab Macaroni & Cheese is also amazing.
My dining companions had the Chicken Marsala and the Spaghetti Carbonara, and were very pleased. I probed for details, and the only detail I could get was that the Carbonara was a little under salted. I think that’s a criticism I could live with, whereas the typical situation of over salting cannot be undone.
What makes Tavola fun is the way wines are served. Though there is a high-end wine list that is served only by the bottle, there is an extensive list of wines that are served by the the glass ($10), mini-carafe ($15), and bottle ($40). We shared a mini-carafe of Prosecco from that list three ways as a starter, and then ordered a bottle of a California Pinot Gris from Breggo Cellars to accompany the main course.
We were all too full to consider ordering dessert, though I remember they are delicious if you can save some room. They do serve espresso and French press coffee, if you want to linger a few more moments before heading out.
I would strongly recommend reservations for peak dining, though you can get luck if you arrive early like we did. Though we had no issues on this particular evening, we did encounter quite a bit of “out of stocks” on a previous visit. After our server made several round-trips to the kitchen, each time asking for us to choose again, we were presented with a list of bottles actually available after a quick “shelf check” was made. That same night, some of the specials were also in short supply; my colleague who ordered sea bass but settled for red snapper said in his dry way, “I’d call it the out-house if the food wasn’t so good.”
Rating 4.5/5.0 – Really liked it
108 SE A St
Bentonville, AR 72712