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First Look: Cantinetta

Last night I made a stop a bit closer to home for my Friday night foray.  A new place opened in the Wallingford area in January.  And I was especially looking forward to it because I know several of the principals.  I had been hoping they were doing well but was pleasantly surprised and slightly dismayed at the crowd I found in Cantinetta when I arrived – where was I going to sit?? 
Actually it was great that the neighborhood has already adopted this new warm and friendly place.  People were stacked up at the door waiting for tables and people were two deep in the bar area.  I grabbed a glass of wine and stood back and watched while waiting for a seat to open.  There’s a large ten person table in the very back that is separated from the main seating area.  It’s perfectly set up for private dining for a large group.  When not in use for one large group it becomes a communal dining area.  Last night there were two groups of five sharing the space. 
A couple seats opened at the bar and my friends waved me into one of them.  The bar area is small but cozy.  About ten seats with standing room along the plank-topped banisters that separate the bar from the dining area.  The main dining area sits in the front and is surrounded on two sides by tall windows with views into the neighborhood.  From my seat at the bar it looked lively and welcoming. 
With a seat secured I took a look at the menu and several things appealed to me.  I decided to try the duck meatball appetizer but I’ve forgotten what it’s called on the menu.  Savory with a bit of sweet sauce, they hit the spot.  The bed of greens was a nice fresh touch for the plate. 
After the meatballs I was not that hungry yet so many other things on the menu look good.  I decided to treat myself to dessert, knowing I could take the leftovers home.  There was a pear tart with salted caramel ice cream that seemed to be the perfect choice for a nice winter’s night dessert.  Along with the tart I ordered a glass of Vin Santo.  The tart was great.  The jury is still out on the ice cream.  But that could be because the Vin Santo was not really the best choice with it.  I’d have to try it again sometime. 
Overall, I loved the energy and the welcoming atmosphere in this neighborhood joint.  It’s nice to find somewhere outside of the downtown area that seems like it could become a regular spot. 
3650 Wallingford Avenue N

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