Trattoria Delia (Burlington, VT)

Twice in the last few years we’ve celebrated my birthday with a trip to the same place: Trattoria Delia in Burlington, VT. Nestled into a basement a block south of City Hall park, Trattoria Delia is the sort of place you can easily walk by without checking out… but behind the fairly subtle frontage is a fairly elaborate Italian restaurant with a slightly funky vibe that’s best described as “Sugar house meets Alps”. But despite the quirky decor, Trattoria Delia remains one of Vermonts best Italian restaurants, and this trip was no exception.

Starting out, we got got the always-excellent antipastone: the house antipasti board. A great selection of bruschetta, meats, salumi, and cheeses, both times we’ve gotten this, we’ve been very pleased. This time, the highlight was the house-made braciole, which was several perfectly tender slices of flavorful dried beef, although the marinated mushrooms and hard Italian cheeses were also amongst my favorite. Carol also got an appetizer of clams and mussels, which were served up in a flavorful broth in one of the better mussel dishes I’ve sampled this year.

Moving on to the main course, I opted for the Bucatini all’Amatriciana: hollow thick noodles served up in a sauce of guanciale, peperoncino, tomatoes, and Pecorino Romano, this was a perfectly executed pasta dish. I’ll admit, I’ve got a soft spot for this dish, since in my poor college days I’d made a simpler version of it with perciatelli (okay, Italian pasta experts: what’s the difference between perciatelli and bucatani? I’ve noticed that these can even overlap in size!), sun-dried tomatoes, a bit of tomato paste, and a boatload of Romano cheese and grated garlic… but the dish served up by Trattoria Delia was a perfect rendition of the concept. The pasta was perfectly al-dente, and the sauce rich in both tomato and guanciale. I’d easily order this again, although not without some consideration of the also-excellent orechiette I’ve had in previous visits.

Carol did well also, with her ordered of Tagliatelle con Ragù. Some house-made tagliatelle, served up with a really rich and flavorful veal ragu, this was also a pleasant pasta dish that pleased both of us. They’ve got the pasta routine down pat here.

Rounding it out, I opted for a nice classic Italian dessert: Espresso Affogato: two scoops of ice cream freshly drenched in fresh espresso. While the best local version of this I’ve found is at Morano Gelato, this was a close second.

So, for the second time in recent years, Trattoria Delia has continued to be an excellent birthday dinner destination, with an outstanding antipasti board, great pasta, and good desserts. I hope to repeat this in future years.

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