Ristorante del Porto
501 E. Boston St., Covington, 985.875.1006
David and Torre Solazzo’s Italian restaurant has been a Covington fixture since the turn of the century, just not always in the same way.
The first version was a 10-table storefront opened in 2002. That’s where the married chefs, who met while working at the well-regarded Napa Valley restaurant Tra Vigne, test-drove their notion that a region besotted with red sauce was ready for handmade pappardelle, rabbit ragu and duck confit ravioli.
After the Solazzos moved del Porto to its current, larger address in 2006, it became impossible to argue that there was a restaurant serving more accomplished Italian food on either side of Lake Pontchartrain.
The competition has stiffened and diversified in recent years, as the pan-regional, ingredient-driven Italian food championed by del Porto has gone mainstream and, more recently, turned downscale. Del Porto has remained steady all the while, an elegant neighborhood restaurant that just happens to be in a small town. On many nights, even after a 2015 expansion, it feels like most of that town is here, appreciating the ongoing blossoming of this restaurant’s early promise.
Open: Lunch and dinner Tues-Sat. Parking: Street.
Entree prices: $18-$35. Reservations: Yes.
Standout dishes: Grilled pears with prosciutto, Gulf fish crudo, tagliatelle with shrimp, vegetable cannelloni, wine-braised short ribs, cornmeal shortcake