A Simple Red Sauce Joint

Not all dining is fine dining, sometime you just go out with friends for an easy meal.  That’s what tonight was, a bunch of friends having a bite, nothing fancy.

We ended up at Buon Appetito, a very simple Italian joint in Benicia, next to an nsurance agency and behind Subway.  The two saddest outdoor tables in the entire world are perched on the narrow sidewalk in front.  Inside there are no red checked tablecloths, but there should be.

The kitchen is open to the room, and chef/owner Martino gets to see everything that goes on in the dining room while he prepares the meals.

Chef Martino looks like a man who enjoys his work

Chef Martino looks like a man who enjoys his work

The menu is extensive, with everything from aioli to zabaglioni.  Pastas, of course.  Risotto.  Polenta.  Steaks, lamb chops and fish.  Soups and salads, carpaccio and caprese.  Wines domestic and imported.

In an odd coincidence, 4 of our party chose the calamari steak.  A pounded piece of squid, dredged in egg batter and gently sauteéd.

Calamari steak, Italian style

Calamari steak, Italian style

Four plates came to our table, not a scrap was left. It’s easy to overcook calamari, leaving it with the consistency of an inner tube patch kit.  These were perfect.

I chose the Fettucini Friuliana–housemade fettucini with Italian sausage, onions, fresh tomatoes and red wine sauce. Everything in it was fresh and clean tasting, not the muddled flavors you get with cheap red sauce.

Fettucini Friuliana

Fettucini Friuliana

It was a bad night for dessert, because they were out of the chocolate lava cake, the spumoni and the zabaglioni–that’s the danger of going out on Sunday night.  I had to make do with this:

Apple tart with creme Anglaise

Apple tart with creme Anglaise

The tart was probably not made in house, but the presentation was excellent and that plate ended up clean, too.

Prices are modest, service is friendly and efficient. the food is excellent.  Buon Appetito is not the place for your 50th anniversary romantic dinner, but it’s perfect for a simple, well prepared meal.

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