Boccaccia is a beautiful Italian restaurant located in Downtown Chattanooga. It’s a wonderful stop for a special occasion dinner!
Philip and I celebrated 15 years of wedded bliss on July 14! It’s hard to believe that it’s been 15 years. Time really does pass so quickly, though I alternate feeling like we just started dating yesterday (because, you know, I was just a junior in college yesterday) and feeling like we’ve been together forever – because I’ve spent nearly half of my life with him.
Regular Chattavore readers know that we usually gravitate toward restaurants that serve bar food or diner food. Special occasions call for something a little more, well, special. We narrowed our choices for this anniversary down to three, ultimately deciding on Boccaccia, which Philip didn’t even know existed. Located in the Southern Saddlery building on South Broad Street, it’s certainly well-hidden. For those of you who don’t know, it’s on the south end of the building, on the side. There is pretty clear signage once you get there, and you can park in the lot right outside (there’s more parking in the back if that’s full).
We’re pretty paranoid so we made reservations even though we planned to arrive right when they opened at 5:30 (we’re basically elderly). The hostess told us it’s never a bad idea, as some days fill up faster than others. This day, we were the first into Boccaccia and were seated at a table for two in the corner of their dimly lit dining room. The hostess lit a candle in the center of the table for us and Chloe, our server, quickly greeted us and took our drink order. They didn’t have much of a beer selection and we don’t drink wine (sorry, wine lovers) so we both opted for water.
There are several appetizers, including prosciutto e melon (parma prosciutto and fresh melon), calamari fritti (fried calamari), and cozze en guazzetto (steam mussels in white wine lemon sauce with fresh herbs). We are big bruschetta lovers, though, so we decided on their version with buffalo mozzarella, roasted tomatoes, olive oil, and basil oil on grilled bread. The roasted tomatoes made a sort of salsa that was spread on the bread then topped with thick slices of the tender, mild, and slightly sweet buffalo mozzarella. The drizzle of oils on top added a nice flavor and, in my opinion, the flavor from the char on the grilled bread completed this appetizer.
We each decided on a salad. Philip, of course, decided to go with his standard Caesar salad, while I chose the insalata di spinachi e arugula, which is a spinach and arugula salad with sun-dried cranberries, gorgonzola cheese, walnuts, and lemon vinaigrette dressing. Philip’s Caesar salad was topped with housemade croutons and lots of thin slivers of salty fresh Parmesan cheese. His only complaint was that he would have liked for it to have more dressing. My salad was packed with fresh greens, dried cranberries, pungent gorgonzola, and toasted walnuts as well as a few grape tomatoes. The tart lemon vinaigrette was a great finish.
Since Boccaccia is, obviously, an Italian restaurant, I knew that I wanted to order pasta. I was torn between the lasagnette Emiliana (lasagna with fresh pasta, béchamel, and meat sauce)($15) or the ravioli spinachi e formaggi (ravioli with spinach and a cheese blend, sautéed with brown butter, sage, and tomatoes)($18). Chloe told me that while the lasagna was delicious, her recommendation would be the ravioli. That was my first instinct anyway, so I decided to go with it. It was a generous portion of freshly made raviolis with a flavorful filling of creamy cheese and spinach. The brown butter sauce had a mild sage flavor and the tomatoes were a nice finish. A blanket of fresh Parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top complemented the whole dish perfectly. I found that the crusty bread that Chloe brought to our table was perfect for dipping into the brown butter sauce (though the herbed oil that came with it was also fantastic).
Philip considered getting pasta as well, but he could not take him mind off of the filetto rossini, filet mignon covered with foie gras and a brandy cream sauce with porcini mushrooms for $33. He ordered it medium-rare and asked that the asparagus on the side be subbed with green beans (he doesn’t much care for asparagus). It also came with a side of roasted potatoes. The potatoes were roasted to a crisp and the green beans were just tender and perfectly seasoned. The filet…well, you might not expect much from a filet served at an Italian restaurant, but Philip declared it the best filet he’d ever had. It was thick and yet managed to be perfectly cooked through to a beautiful medium-rare finish. The knife cut through it like butter, and the foie gras and mushroom cream sauce provided a perfect rich highlight to the flavor of the meat.
To finish, there were several options, including tiramisu, lemon sorbet, and vanilla creme brûlée, which was our decision. The irony of ordering a French dessert in an Italian restaurant was not lost on us, but our dinner, our decision, right? It was a decent portion of creme brûlée, enough for us to share. The top was burnished to a candy-like crisp and sprinkled with powdered sugar. The custard was creamy and rich with vanilla flavor. It was tasty but I wouldn’t say it’s the best I’ve ever had (that honor still belongs to the now-defunct Chato Brasserie).
Boccaccia is a beautiful atmosphere and we got wonderful service. There were plenty of people there by the time that we left, so it seems that they are doing a good business. The prices are on par with other similar restaurants – our total for an appetizer, two salads, ravioli, filet, and a dessert was 85.82 pre-tip. For us, Boccaccia is a special occasion restaurant, but we would love to go back. By the way, Boccaccia offers free pasta and dessert on your birthday (you must show your ID, and if your birthday falls on Sunday when they are closed, you can go the day before or the day after).
For a wonderful special dinner, give Boccaccia Italian restaurant a try!
Boccaccia is located at 3077 South Broad Street, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37408. They are open Monday-Thursday, 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Friday-Saturday, 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. They are closed Sundays. You can call Boccaccia at (423) 266-2930. For more information, check out Boccaccio’s website. There is a Facebook page devoted to Boccaccia but it does not appear to be an official page.