We checked out Apertivo last night- we had walked past it a fair few times and decided to give our local North Park tapas restaurant a try. University and 30th is a funny area, on the whole it looks rather shabby, however it contains a number of nicer eating places- Ranchos Cocina, Heaven Sent Desserts and Apertivo to name a few. Once we stepped inside the restaurant however shabbiness was abandoned, and we could just have easily downtown in the Gaslamp such was the chic decor.
Apertivo is an Italian tapas restaurant- the menu is not exactly groundbreaking, but does have a great selection of all your favorite Italian dishes (in miniature of course). Each item on the menu goes for $3-$7 and invites the diners to choose a wide selection of little plates to share. This is a nice way of eating- variety always being key to me for any good meal. And indeed this is usually one of the problems I have with Italian food, even at the nicest of restaurants the $20 entree consists of a bowl of pasta, or a risotto, or a pizza no variety at all but just a great deal of the same thing.
We decided to start with 4 tapas dishes, one for each of us and settled on the French green beans, the chicken sausage, the red pepper pasta and an arugula salad. We also chose a nice bottle of Chardonnay after the waitress had been kind enough to provide us with a few tastes of the different bottles on offer. I have to say we were a little disappointed with our first round of food- the arugula salad was pretty good but the pasta was bland, the chicken sausage certainly not loved by all and the green beans just okay. The wine was a hit however- especially at $18 a bottle.
Our party being pretty hungry we decided on a second full round of tapas hoping that this time we would chose better. This time we picked some chorizo wrapped shrimp, a gorgonzola pasta, eggplant rollotini and a meat and cheese platter. This fortunately proved much more satisfactory- everyone's favorite was the gorgonzola pasta which was spectacular, the eggplant dish was also really great as were the shrimp and of course meat and cheese platters are always good!
The nicest thing about the dinner was its length and relaxing approach, we sat for several hours chatting and munching away, sipping on our wine and indeed were some of the last customers to leave the restaurant. We had a very pleasant experience and although the food was not the best we have had recently it was great value for the cheap paycheck it accompanied.