La Trattoria (Washington Mall, 22 Washington Ln., tel. 441/295-1877, lunch 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Mon.–Sat., dinner 5–10 p.m. daily) makes diners feel they’ve stepped into the terra-cotta courtyard of an eatery in Naples or Rome. The menu, which has always been a crowd-pleaser, remains excellent, with daily-changing homemade pastas (orechiette with sausage $19), pizzas ($17.50) baked in the dining room oven, and great appetizers (bomba al salmone $15.75), breads, and desserts, including homemade gelato. La Trattoria’s Caesar salad ($8.25) and cappuccino are arguably the best on the island. Topping even the food is the eatery’s stellar service; nothing is perceived as a problem, least of all wailing children or order-off-the-menu clientele. The professional team smoothly fulfills everyone’s wishes, and fast. Kids, particularly, are well accommodated with crayons, balls of dough to play with, cost-effective smaller platters, even “white” pizzas (should they turn their noses up at tomato sauce). As a result, the place is full of families but somehow manages to attract couples and dinner parties, too.
Leader of the pack, Little Venice (32 Bermudiana Rd., tel. 441/295-3503, info [at] littlevenice [dot] bm, www.diningbermuda.com, lunch noon–2:15 p.m. Mon.–Fri., dinner 6:30–10 p.m. daily) was the vanguard of Bermuda’s love-fest with Italian cuisine back in the 1960s. Today, it’s still going strong, and the restaurant’s owners, Capri natives, have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, with a dozen popular restaurants and a catering service that feeds the island’s social scene. Little Venice was always the power-lunch venue, and it still attracts insurance-industry movers and shakers, as well as occasional celebrities (Michael Douglas dines here). Efficient, entertaining staff members keep the dining room buzzing. Appetizers like roasted octopus ($20.75), homemade pastas (gnocchi $24.75, spaghetti with clams $29.75), meat dishes (grilled beef tenderloin $38.75), and lovingly crafted desserts (tiramisu $10) make up the menu.
Just down the street, Portofino (20 Bermudiana Rd., tel. 441/292-2375, www.portofino.bm, lunch 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m. Mon.–Fri., dinner 6–10:45 p.m. Mon.–Thur. and Sun., and 6–11:45 p.m. Fri. and Sat.), one of the island’s few Italian restaurants not owned by the Little Venice Group, is also wildly popular. Speedy waiters, daily pasta specials ($11–18), tasty salads ($7–12) and meats ($19–26) and a cozy, red-checkered interior make Portofino a hit. Dinner reservations (for groups of more than two) are recommended to avoid lining up down the street on summer weekend evenings.
© Rosemary Jones from Moon Bermuda, 2nd Edition