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Basilico Ristorante Italiano

Classic Italian fare

I’d believe it if they said the secret ingredient was “love.” Photo credit: Dutch Randall

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ANNOUNCER: Basilico in Olympia is a local favorite for authentic Italian cuisine. The menu often offers seasonal Northwest ingredients with an Italian flair. With rumors of the husband and wife owners Giampaolo Falchetti and Kathryn Philbrook opening a similar place in Tacoma's Proctor district, Dutch and Jackie head south for a preview of what is to come.

DUTCH: I wandered in on a weekend night to a packed house, with plenty of buzz in the intimate space. I grabbed a seat at the bar which is used as overflow seating on busy nights. In addition to serving a full menu, the bar offers several cocktails in addition to a wine selection that is sure to pair with whatever you choose to eat.

JACKIE: I love the intimate atmosphere. The light fixtures, framed art and wood accents make the feel warm and worn in, in a good way. The Parmigiana di Melanzane had me at hello. Really, I'm a sucker for basil and eggplant. With the addition of fresh mozzarella, tomato and a plum tomato sauce  ... le sigh. Fresh, herbaceous and beautiful.

DUTCH: I was tempted to order the fresh seafood of the day, which was wild Coho salmon, but ultimately, I wanted a taste of the fresh sauce and in-house pasta. I ordered the Lasagna Bolognese with fresh tomatoey sauce that is drenched over layers of pasta with plenty of beef, veal and pork, bechamel, and a generous amount of mozzarella cheese. All this is baked to perfection with a crispy cheese top, and melty, stringy cheese connecting the fork to the plate at nearly every bite. The helping was large enough that I found myself plotting as to how I would finish it all in one sitting.

JACKIE: Fresh seafood features in this region are always tempting but I'm in the same boat as you, Dutch. Handmade pasta is always a delight! I also opted for the Lasagna Bolognese. The balance of acidity, richness, freshness was a thing of beauty. An Italian classic executed as only an Italian chef could. Did you finish it in one sitting? I didn't dare. 

DUTCH: There are several dessert options that are must-haves. Many places commonly have bakeries supply all desserts, but to ensure the treats like Tiramisu and the chocolate torte are made in a traditional Italian process, these are all made in-house. I'm excited to have all this goodness in Tacoma.

JACKIE: Their Proctor district locale, Crudo & Cotto, is officially open to the public and will boast an oyster bar and likely to be delightfully crafted wine selection. I cannot wait to get in there, because an oyster bar is exactly what Tacoma has been needing.

BASILICO RISTORANTE ITALIANO, 5-9 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday, 507 Capitol Way S, Olympia, 360.570.8777,

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