June 25, 2017
We left the kids at home, put on our fancier clothes (still with flip flips, it’s Encinitas after all) and headed over to Vigilucci’s for an upscale Italian dinner. It’s had the same owner for the past 20 years but has been changed from Robbie’s Roadhouse to a pizzeria to Vigilucci’s which it has been for the last three years.
There was outside seating, but we were placed at a large table for our party of eight inside an elegant dining room with large, comfy chairs and handsome decor. There was a piano player at the opposite side of the restaurant who we could barely hear. It worked out fine, because the acoustics were wonderful, and we could actually hear each other perfectly in our cozy nook of the restaurant.
The wait staff was very formal, polite and friendly, but it did take a l-o-n-g time for bread to come to the table, and we came hungry! When it did arrive, it was warm from the oven and served with classic olive oil with a splash of balsamic vinegar. I, for one, never quite know how to do the whole bread-with-olive-oil-and-vinegar correctly. I always aim my bread over the vinegar, dive it in, only to have it come out soaked in oil only. So I asked my friends how to do this properly. I was told by Kelly, an olive oil and vinegar connoisseur, that one is supposed to “swish” one’s bread around in the middle to get both oil and vinegar absorbed onto the bread. I listened doubtfully, but it actually worked. I just needed a better “swish”.
Although I have never been to Vigalucci’s before, I knew it wouldn’t be cheap. But when I saw the price for my go-to Italian favorite, Cioppino, I almost lost it.
Umm, not going to order Cioppino tonight! Instead, my hubby started by ordering an appetizer to share called Calamari alla Luciana. For $14, it was very Cioppino-like with tender, baby calamari swimming in a delicious, spicy tomato sauce.
Calamari alla Luciana
Our other friends started their meals with Carciofini al Forno, oven roasted artichokes hearts stuffed with Italian cheeses and olives, and an Insalata alle Pere which had organic baby greens, walnuts and sliced pears. Both dishes were beautiful and were fully enjoyed by their owners.
Carciofini al Forno
Insalata alle Pere
After our waiter read the specials to us with a beautiful rolling rrrr for rrrrisotto, my husband and I decided to take his advice and we shared the Pappardelle con Funghi e Capesante. It still had a steep price but was less obscene that the Cioppino. As the waiter brought it to our table, it was game over. It had thick ribbons of homemade pasta served with mushrooms bathing in a luscious white truffle and brandy cream sauce. If that doesn’t sound decadent enough, it came with three giant, perfectly seared, buttery diver scallops on top. The chef was kind enough to split the dish for us which is a good thing for my husband, because this way he was actually able to get some of it. Everyone enjoyed what they ordered, but I tuned them all out. I was on a high. This was sooooo good. I mean, this was REALLY FREAKING GOOD. I closed my eyes and
made love to just normally ate, my rich, sinful Pappardelle con Funghi e Capesante.
Pappardelle con Funghi e Capesante
My husband does this weird thing with his food when something is really good. He saves his favorite part until the end, calling it “dessert”. When I saw that beautiful scallop sitting there on his plate, I thought it would be funny to snag it when he wasn’t looking. It’s only food. Not only was it NOT funny, I now know that I am just a scallop away from being served papers.
We were all too full for dessert which was too bad because they have a warm chocolate lava thing-a-ma-jig over vanilla ice cream that I’ll be dreaming about for a long time to come. We took a little tour of the rest of the restaurant before we left and noticed the awesome wood-fired pizza oven. I’m not sure that this is the kind of place I would come just to order pizza, but I bet it’s d-lish.
Hiding in the back was more outdoor seating and a very cute cottage style house that they rent out for private events. If anyone reading this needs a great place to rent for a private party, this is perfect. And please invite me!
Bottom Line: Vigilucci’s in Encinitas has really good food. The restaurant has great outdoor and indoor seating with beautiful ambiance. If you are on a date with your spouse who you have been married to for many years, a nice meal and music without talking might be just perfect. Sit on the South side of the restaurant near the piano player. If you are with a group of friends and you give a hoot as to what they have to say, opt for the quieter, North side. The place is quite large and they even offer valet parking around the corner. Come here for a very special occasion like you won the lottery or Amazon just bought out your small company. Here’s a tip to help offset the very high price tag here. Are you listening? Go to Costco and buy the restaurant gift card. There are two $50 cards that will cost you $70. That’s 30% off! They are accepted at a number of different places, and Vigilucci’s is one of them! Though even with 30% off, I couldn’t justify ordering the Cioppino.
After leaving Vigilucci’s, we passed by Bread & Barley (refer to Review #8) to get to our car. When Alonzo saw us, he ran out front and gave us all big hugs. I invite you, my readers, to go by Bread & Barley to get your hug from Alonzo. Tell him I sent you. It will make your night!