Cavatore has had a long run near the corner of Ella and T.C. Jester. The building — a disassembled and site-rebuilt barn from the Texas hill country — tacks on 100 years of history, making for a place that feels like it's always been a part of the neighborhood. An open and airy expanse of worn wood and kitsch that has been home-away-from-home to families seeking a bit of Italian comfort since 1984, Cavatore is very much a neighborhood institution. It's the kind of place you went to with your parents, celebrating a school play or some other minor milestone. It's the place you take your kids because it's the place your parents took you. You might even bump into your parents; they still eat at Cavatore. The red-sauce-joint staples are fair to middling, but the table-side Caesar salad is worth a visit. Perked up with a firm dollop of Dijon mustard and spiked with fresh garlic and just a bit of Tabasco sauce, it's about as fine a version as you'll get, with the added perk of theater. Don't forget to try the Tortellini Con Panna, a dozen or so wrinkled buttons of pasta, lightly napped in a sauce far more elegant than the menu's "creamy Alfredo" promise, holding a loose and finely milled filling of minced veal. It's a deft and delightful dish. Skip dessert.
- Price: $$, $$$
- Hours: Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m., 5:30-9 p.m.; Saturday 5:30-9 p.m.
- Alcohol: Full bar
- Reservations: Not necessary, Recommended
- Parking: Lot available
- Extra Services: Catering, Private-group dining
- Gift cards for purchase
- Use restaurant website to order/pay