Il Toscano is located in the back corner of a strip mall near Palos Verdes. It doesn’t look like anything special from the outside but the inside is a different story.
We were greeted right away by the owner who also seated us at our table. Italian art, instruments, and odds & ends were mounted on shelves through the dining area. The tables each had simple white table cloths, the walls were wooden. Nothing too fancy here, in fact it felt like I walked into an Italian kitchen. The staff was very warm and pleasant. A different staff member told us the nightly specials, took our drink order, and took our main order. However, this wasn’t your usual “so and so will be right with you, let me get your drinks”…. rather everything flowed very smoothly, as if for example each staff member was “assigned” to only take drink orders, food orders, etc. The only other time I experienced a dinner service like this was at another Italian restaurant in Tampa. My dad said that’s how they do it in Italy. I guess I would have to take his word for it until I go there.
We ordered the Calamari Luciana to start. This calamari was fresh and sauteed in a spicy tomato sauce instead of fried. I enjoyed it. I wish I knew of other places that offered this variation as it’s a bit healthier.
I ordered the Sringhe al nero di Seppie , which is a pasta made with squid ink, topped with jumbo shrimp. I’ve never had a pasta like this. It was very unique and the taste was light but the portion was generous enough that there was enough to take home. The pasta was cooked to al dente and the shrimp was seasoned well. I would like to learn this recipe because it’s a slightly different from the usual spaghetti.
For dessert, I ordered traditional Tiramisu. It was served quickly and was very tasty. Was it the best tiramisu I’ve had? No… but it tasted fresher than any other tiramisu I’ve had recently.
The drawbacks to my experience were that it took us forever to settle the check. The server left us alone for a while after we got our desserts. Then it took us a while to get his attention to bring us our check and even longer to cash us out. For me that’s always the part of the meal that will either make or break my experience. Maybe it’s the curse of being a former server, but I believe the check drop off & return shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes.
All in all the experience was pretty good. The staff was very hospitable, it wasn’t scripted. The food was pretty good… better than the chain restaurants for sure. I definitely wouldn’t recommend this restaurant if you are in a hurry as the vibe is slow paced and relaxed. I would probably return sometime in the future but it’s not my “go to” Italian restaurant. I’ll try to find something a bit closer to my house for that.
The average menu price is $15 per entree. Plenty of parking is available.
My rating *** out of 5 stars.