If you have been searching for a great Italian Restaurant in the Burlington, Keokuk, Ft. Madison area, you need look no further. After being recommended to La Tavola by my son, who lives in Burlington, ( we live nearly an hour away), I thought we would take his advice and try it out and I am sure glad that we did! We have traveled quite extensively over the years and visited many Italian restaurants, including some well-known ones in Chicago as well as others in various states including Florida, Kentucky, Utah etc. Many individuals who write a review do so because they live close by and are impressed in comparison to similar businesses that are in the surrounding area. Because of our travels, my experience encompasses a wide variety of Italian restaurants. La Tavola ranks among the best and in my humble opinion, there is no Italian eatery in this area that comes close.
First of all the food is genuine Italian made by a man who understands Italian food, because he IS Italian and much of what he learned came from his mother and his sisters. Carlo and Cheryl opened La Tavola in 2007 with the intent to bring authentic Italian food to the Burlington area and they have well succeeded. The proof is in the pudding, so to speak, and the food speaks for itself. The first time in I ordered the Chicken Parmigiana. As advised by our server when debating the parmigiana or the spaghetti, I chose both! The Chicken Parmigiana comes with an option of spaghetti for a side. Katie recommended getting the spaghetti side and then adding meatballs. After that I was hooked! Unlike other restaurants that I have tried, the chicken in the Parmigiana was moist, not dry and crusty. The spaghetti was outstanding partially due to the marinara sauce which only added to the meal. The flavor of the sauce can only be described as fresh and tasty! The meatballs again, are moist and just right! After partaking of my lunch I sat back and realized that the meal was literally perfect, there was no improvement that could be made to this “delight” that I had just partaken of! You have heard someone say about a meal, or perhaps you have said it yourself, “It was great but I wish there were more?” Well, that does not apply at LaTavola. I had enough leftovers to have a complete meal for lunch the next day and by the way, I am no light eater. I was so pleased by my experience there as was everyone else who was with me at the time, that I ordered a large pizza and my wife ordered a meat Calzone to go. The meat Calzone has ham, sausage and pepperoni as well as both mozzarella and ricotta cheese in it. The Calzones are HUGE and there is no exaggeration in my statement! For the average person, one Calzone will make two meals and again, is superb. My pizza was a large two-topping sausage and pepperoni that did not disappoint! It was fresh-tasting, in complete contrast to the fast food pizzas that many settle for and between the combination of the toppings, the crust and once again, that wonderfully-flavored sauce, the result was one fantastic pie!
We have visited La Tavola four or five times in the last two months and in that time various family members have had numerous Calzones, Chicken Fettucini Alfredo, Stuffed Shells and Lasagna as well as Pizza. We have thoroughly enjoyed the La Tavola experience every time! Each dinner comes with garlic bread, garlic bread that actually has garlic on it (some businesses seem to hide the seasoning on the “garlic” bread), a side salad and we have ordered the garlic knots as an appetizer (as if we needed an appetizer)! The food and dining experience is worth whatever drive you may have!
The people, be it the owners Carlo and Cheryl, or the employees, only add to the time spent there. I have spoken to both Carlo and Cheryl numerous times, though usually brief, and both are down to earth individuals, willing and ready to say hello to their patrons, and on those rare occasions where they are not cooking, are glad to hold a quick conversation. The service is at it should be, with the server there to assist, answer questions, bring refills etc. but not hover around so much that you feel like they are eating with you. Ariana and Katie have been our servers in the past and their service shows that La Tavola has it right once again. Pleasant employees who are there to help you enjoy your experience at their dining establishment. Whether this is due to the training of the servers or the carefulness of Carlo and Cheryl as they choose their employees, it works! And prices? To me, the food is a bargain for what you receive. The prices are no more, or less, than certain Italian Restaurant chains, but the food is authentic and made as ordered, not taken from a freezer and popped into a microwave!
To finish off your meal, you can also order one of the most unique desserts. It is orange sorbet frozen inside a carved out orange. It is delicious. Or if you prefer a cannoli, my daughters said those are great too!!
My vote for La Tavola, Burlington, Iowa is 5 stars! You have worked hard all week, perhaps its your anniversary or maybe you just happen to be downtown at lunchtime. Stop in, look at their menu, which includes much more than I have mentioned, and enjoy the La Tavola experience! You will not be disappointed! You can find them on Facebook - HERE