There are two Vigilucci restauarants in Carlsbad. This review is for the Seafood and Steakhouse which is located right on the beach, with waterviews. (Across the street from the water.) And sunset views. Consider which type of food you are looking for before you make your reservation, although there is some crossover.
My husband and I dined here on our last night in Carlsbad. The meal was excellent and the seafood and pasta dishes were very authentic, not like commercial italian american fare. The ambiance was nice, although they had the only rainy evening perhaps in a year and everyone was inside, the outdoor tables were covered and it was too cold to sit outside. Just like a summer vacation in Maine! The interiors are just as pictured on their website, and the italian music on the website does give you a feeling what kind of place it is. Nice for a date. Food to savor. Take some time.
As an east coast vacationer, it is difficult to look at the beach in southern California everyday without wondering where are all the fishes? There are no little boats bringing in the catch and no little shacks where the guy in the back is cleaning the fish the minute before you eat it. There are not lobsters crawling up out of the sea and crashing into boiling pots. I don't know where they are, but they are not there. I was in Carlsbad, and some information told me there were some local mussels about...it must be true? The lobster on the menu in this restaurant came from Maine. I also heard rumors that halibut is caught off the coast, when I asked a guy doing some fishing.
With that caveat, the only really impressive seafood I saw was the giant, fresh Diver Scallop that came on top of my Spaghetti Portofino (and my husband's fettucini dish) at Vigilucci's. There were also baby clams, very tender, mussels, very tender, and a shrimp or two, and extremely tender delicious calamari. So, not plentiful seafood falling in piles, but extremely good. The sauces were excellent, the pasta was done just right, it had almost too much sauce, and the size of the dish, it was just enough. The Diver Scallop, to die for. I would suggest they upgrade the shrimp a teensy bit, but I don't know what the market price is in CA. This pasta course might be followed by one of the meat entrees, but not by me. But you would probably get an appetizer if you were having the meat, there were a range of steaks...$30- $50. And the special was some kind of risotto with filet mignon on top. There were at least half a dozen salads to choose from, too.
The wine list....I had the California Wente chardonnay, a perfect choice, and the tiramisu for dessert...perfect with the regular coffee, black.I usually choose an appetizer OR a dessert, not both. If I choose an appetizer I am not hungry for dessert, but I guessed correctly and was able to order the tiramisu. Hubby was too full from the fettucini, and he may have eaten the basket of bread with oil and balsamic. This tiramisu was perfect, light savoiard cookies, deep with coffee/cocoa flavor, creamy and light with marscapone and some kind of chocolate on top, really perfect with black coffee.
Angela knew when I was thirsty and had my wine refilled like magic. The wine list, for by the glass, had good choices. The ambiance was nice, it was not hurried, and it was not noisy, and this was the winter season, Sunset at 5:15, and we were eating already; we could hear the music. Two small boys, like twins, ate up in a booth with dad or grandad, very cute, caused no trouble and there seems to have been something edible for them, too.
This was a perfect meal, and a contrast to so much of the California "fun foods" or mexican fusion everything, you have to eat when you are vacationing in a big group. The menu has the italian names alongside English names for the dishes. I would go back to try some of the things I missed, especially an appetizer, and my husband is always looking for the best lobster raviolli. Luckily we live near Maine. I have returned home now, hungry for New England seafood.
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