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 I’m a member of the Atlanta Food Bloggers’ Society and every once in a while I have the great opportunity to go try out different restaurants with a group of fun, food savvy bloggers. One such evening too place at Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse at Phipps Plaza. The interior of the restaurant features a full bar in addition to the dining area, which is a calm, relaxing contrast to the hustle and bustle of Phipps Plaza.

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One of the things I love about living in Atlanta is that so many restaurants and bars are designed so that patrons can sit outside almost, if not all, year long. So I was pretty happy when the hostess led me outside to the patio where a long table was set up for our party. The tables were adorned with Davio’s Cabernet Sauvignon. The owner, Steve DiFillippo, explained that Davio’s paired up with a vineyard in California to create their label for the restaurant. I thought that it was a nice drinkable wine; a little light for a cab, but I enjoyed it and think it will grow into a bigger flavor as it ages. I also think I should mention that Steve DiFillippo flew into Atlanta for the dinner, which was evidence of his commitment and attention to guests at his restaurants.

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Also on the table was the menu for the evening. The lovely menu had been put together specifically for this event, so not all of the items may be available on the standard menu.

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Before we received our first course, a trio of tapas appeared on the table with some bread. The dish contained an eggplant tomato caponate, goat cheese with spicy peppers and olives, all of which were delicious.

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The first course was a lump crab cake in a creamy mustard sauce. The crab was sweet and fresh and it was my favorite kind of crab cake, meaning it was almost all crab, with a little bit of breadcrumbs and whatnot to bind the crab together. I much prefer that to crab cakes that include a lot of other filling. Also, creamy grainy mustard sauces are on my list of favorites and this was a nice one. The sauce was flavorful, but mild enough so as to not overwhelm the crab. The portion of crab cake was quite generous, so it could also be a good thing to share or combine with a salad to make a great lunch.

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 Second up was the potato gnocchi with a bolognese sauce. The gnocchi was lovely: tender and not at all chewy. The bolognese was mild, but flavorful, which balanced nicely with the gnocchi.

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Davio’s play on the surf and turf consisted of a New York Sirloin and a scallop over a pea risotto. The sirloin was perfectly cooked and so tender it cut like a filet mignon. I ate every bite and loved it. I wasn’t as in love with the scallops. Mine were slightly overcooked and didn’t have that characteristic sweetness. They were fine, but not nearly up to the level of the rest of the food. The risotto also seemed a little watery to me. The rice was cooked well, but it seemed like maybe the risotto hadn’t been finished with anything. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t my favorite part of the meal. Now, I will say that everyone else at the table was crazy about their scallops, so take that as you will. The sirloin, however, was top notch.

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I just thought you might like another picture of that beautiful steak.

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Last on the menu was a vanilla bean panna cotta topped with a little strawberry-mint salad with candied pine nuts. The panna cotta was light and silky, just as a panna cotta should be. It was a great dessert for an Atlanta summer evening. And to top it all off…

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Chocolate truffles. Boom.

So here’s the rundown, I was really impressed with the food at Davio’s. It was a quality meal and I really enjoyed it. I would be happy to go there as a destination, regardless of whether I had plans involving Phipps Plaza. It would be a great date night dinner, especially if you wanted to have a bit of a fancy meal before hitting up the newly renovated movie theater in Phipps Plaza (seriously, I’ve been there once since the renovation and the theater had reclining easy chair style seating). Beyond the food, the service and culture of the restaurant was one of ensuring that guests have a first class dining experience. Well worth a visit.

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Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse is located at Phipps Plaza , 3500 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30326. Phone: 404.844.4810

This review is of a complementary dinner for members of the Atlanta Food Bloggers’ Society. All opinions, words and images are my own.