COX: Kenwood's unassuming Cafe Citti offers delicious pastas, salads

Caf?Citti has few of the amenities of upscale restaurants. If you order a glass of red wine, it comes in a glass tumbler. You have to get in line to order at the cash register. You'd think the place would easily slip under the radar of a hungry public, except it's a huge success. The food is that good.

The caf?was started 20 years ago by Luca and Linda Citti. Luca is from Tuscany and right away established his little Italian trattoria as one of Kenwood's fine restaurants. The list includes Swiss-French cuisine at The Kenwood Restaurant, Spanish and Mexican food at Vineyards Inn, and the eclectic menu at Doce Lunas, and with Cafe Citti makes a quartet of great places to eat in a tiny hamlet of just over a thousand souls.

Cafe Citti


The building looks like it just exhaled, with its slightly off-kilter framing and roof. Plate-glass windows face busy Route 12 just outside the front door. The kitchen is partitioned off from the dining area by a cold case filled with pastas and salads, and there's a patio on the north side of the building that, despite a remodel, is still a funky, fenced-in enclosure with tables and umbrellas for shade. The down-scale d?or led Guy Fieri to feature the place on his "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives" TV show, but all this well-worn charm stands in contrast to its food.

For locals, Caf?Citti has been a mainstay for the family too busy to cook, and its rotisserie chickens, tender young birds redolent of their rosemary stuffing ($9.95 ***), are legendary as delicious last-minute take-out.

For a modest sum, you can get a peak experience when you order Raviolini in Brodo ($6.95 ****). House-made raviolini -small ravioli - contain ground pork, Swiss chard and fresh herbs, and swim in light chicken stock with bits of herbs, a few small tomato dice, and a shake of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. The pasta melts in the mouth and the broth is as delicate as a piece of fine Italian lace.

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