Thursday, May 5, 2016

dining des moines: +39 italian

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Anyone have any big plans for the (drinking) holiday? I'm thinking margaritas and chips and salsa are a must tonight ;) In other food news, I had the chance to check out the newest Italian restaurant in Des Moines last weekend and couldn't wait to share my thoughts with all of you. This location is the second for +39 Italian Market, which started in Ames (shoutout to my college town!) a few years ago. The owners are from Italy and both restaurants have separate wine rooms with hundreds of bottles on the walls (swoon!).

Walking in, the restaurant is small but beautiful. It's clean and white with small black tables and simple decor. I loved everything about the look and design, but the acoustics were terrible. We had reservations at 8 p.m. on Friday. The place was packed, and the buzz of conversation was almost overwhelming, and we had to yell just to hear across the booth — major bummer for such a chic space.

We also had mixed reviews of the food. The menu is small and everything sounds delicious, but when we started asking our waitress questions, we found out all but one of the pasta dishes was made with store-bought pasta and the fish was frozen, not fresh. I decided to take a chance on one of the pastas anyway, and we were all further disappointed when it arrived. The menu's description of the pastas listed food items as if they were included in the dishes, but it turned out they were listing the ingredients in the actual sauces — as in my pesto pasta came without the expected pine nuts (the best part!)

The gourmet pizzas were the redeeming factor, though. We tried one with prosciutto, apples and brie cheese, and it was amazing. Perfectly cooked, and the flavors came out perfectly without being overwhelming. The best part? Dessert. The homemade tiramisu is to. die. for. Seriously, I've been craving it ever since!

Final thoughts: we were a bit disappointed that the "authentic" Italian restaurant didn't make its own pasta and use all fresh ingredients. The pastas seemed like a dish anyone could make at home, but for a much higher price tag. If you're going to check it out (which I do recommend!), order a pizza, save room for dessert, and definitely explore the wine list!

Have you been to +39 restaurant yet? Will you? I'd love to know...

P.S. Eatery A, RoCA and the Scenic Route Bakery

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