Feb 262012

Disclosure: I was invited out to do this review and my meal was provided by Morrissey HospitalityAll opinions are my own.

Cuisine: Italian
Restaurant Features: Banquet, Bar, Valet Parking
Location: St Paul, MN (Downtown)
Address: 360 St. Peter Street, Saint Paul, MN 55102 651.223.7000
Hours: Daily 4-11pm
Links: Pazzaluna Website * Pazzaluna on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: Located Downtown St Paul on St Peter Street, Pazzaluna is in the heart of St Paul’s entertainment district , putting it within walking distance of The Ordway, Xcel Energy Center, Roy Wilkins Auditorium and the Science Museum of Minnesota.  The space is big and open, with the bar area greeting you when you first enter and the dining room taking up the remainder of the space.  The dining room actually has two tiers; an upper and lower.  The upper dining area has a separate room with French doors that can be used for private parties.  There are a handful of round booths but otherwise all of the tables in the dining room can easily be arranged for parties of various sizes.

The Kitchen at Pazzaluna is big and open, the center of which is a beautiful  green wood-burning oven.  It is set off to the side of the restaurant, you walk right by it on the way to the restrooms.

Menu: Appetizers at Pazzaluna include Bruschetta (White Bean & Prosciutto, Tomato Basil, Portabella Goat Cheese, Burrata & Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Braised Beef & Porcini Mushroom), Polenta Fries, Mozzarella & Artichoke Bagna Cauda, Calamari, Seared Scallops, Crab Cakes and Antipasti Bar (cheeses, meats, salad and vegetables).

Soups offered are the Scallop with Cucumber and Cannellini Bean.  Salads offered are the Mixed Greens, Caesar, Arugula, Shepherd, Beet and Panzanella.

Pazzaluna also offers traditional  12″ thin crust hearth baked Pizzas in a wood-burning oven.  Varieties include Quattro Formaggi, Grilled Vegetable, Pear and Gorgonzola, Margherita, Bolognese, Spicy Sausage and Peppers, and Grilled Chicken with Asparagus.

Pasta dishes include Spicy Penne, Rigatoni with Chicken, Capellini alla Caprese, Fettuccine Alfredo, Pappardelle Bolognese, Spaghetti & Meatballs, Seafood Linguine, Spinach and Cheese Ravioli, and Three Meat Cannelloni.  Pazzaluna also makes homemade Gnocchi.  Varieties of Gnocchi include Bolognese, Quatro Formagi, and Tomato Basil. Risotto options include Saffron Risotto with Chicken, and Herb Risotto with Shrimp and Chorizo.

Pazzaluna offers Entrees such as Salmon, Ahi Tuna, Sea Bass, Scallops, Rabbit, Chicken Saltimbocca, Chicken Piccata, Chicken Parmesan, Pork Chops, Beef Short Ribs, Veal Medallions, Filet Mignon, and New York Strip.

Desserts at Pazzaluna include Creme Brulee, Tiramisu, Mocha Cheesecake, Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Versato, Banana Nutella Tart, Frangelico Pecan Pie, Gelato, and Sorbeti.

Price guide: Appetizers $8-14 Salads $7-11 Pastas $14-24 Entrees $19-45

Happy Hour:

  • Daily 4-6pm * In The Bar
  • $3 Beefeater, Pinnacle, Bacardi, Windsor or Campari Featured Cocktails Michelob Golden Light
  • $4 Stella Pinot Grigio or Montepuliciano D’Abruzzo, Summit EPA, Summit Seasonal or Blue Moon
  • $5 Coppola Bianco White Blend or Rosso Red Blend Fulton IPA, Stella Artois or Surly Bender ; $5 Two Antipasti Bar Selections, Fried Gorgonzola Gnocchi, Polenta Fries, Tomato Basil Bruschetta or White Bean & Prosciutto Bruschetta
  • $6 Pazzaluna Signature Cocktails Pazzaluna Signature Martinis  Appetizers: Three Antipasti Bar Selections, Portabella & Goat Cheese Bruschetta, Four Cheese Pizza, Pear & Gorgonzola Pizza, or Veggie Pizza
  • $7 Four Antipasti Bar Selections, Burrata & EVOO Bruschetta, Margherita Pizza, Bolognese Pizza or Chicken & Asparagus Pizza
  • $8 Five Antipasti Bar Selections, Braised Beef & Porcini Bruschetta, Rustica Pizza, Calamari or Mozzarella & Artichoke Bagna Cauda

Birthday Special: Dine at Pazzaluna the week of your birthday and they’ll give you a complimentary* bottle of wine priced at your age. *Purchase of two (2) entrees required. Offer valid for in-store consumption only. Equivalent credit of person’s age can be applied to a higher priced bottle of wine. Proof of age and birthday required. Must be 21 years or older. Offer good for one birthday per table.
What we ordered: We started with the complimentary basket of bread.  It contained slices of fresh ciabatta and focaccia.  The focaccia was especially tasty, as it was seasoned with butter, parmesan and herbs.

There are many delicious appetizers at Pazzaluna, making it hard to pick just one. For our first course we started with the Seared Scallops and an order of Calamari.  The Seared Scallops were cooked to perfection, with a nice caramelized seared crust and soft meat within.  The dish was garnished with slices of skinless pink grapefruit, orange, fresh mint and other fresh herbs.

We also tried the Calamari with our first course.  Pazzaluna puts their own spin on the traditional fried calamari by adding thin slices of carrots, zucchini and sweet onions and frying those too.  It was delicious, I loved the combination of textures and flavors.  The order was very big; piled several inches high and full of vegetables with lightly battered calamari rings tossed in (and a few pepperoncini peppers too!).  The dish was drizzled with a zesty roasted garlic aioli that finished the dish off nicely.

For our next course, my companion and I split the Beet Salad, which was served to us on two plates.  The base of this appetizing salad were the salt-roasted beets, which had a firm yet juicy texture.  We both enjoyed this salad quite a bit; it had such a unique combination of flavors and textures including shaved goat cheese that was subtle yet distinct at the same time.  The candied walnuts provided a nice crunch and hint of sweetness and the micro-greens were fragrant and refreshing.

Pazzaluna is known for its Bolognese sauce, which they offer with a selection of dishes. For our next course, we tried a half-order of the Bolognese Papperdelle and a half order of the Gnocchi Bolognese.  The sauce was a thick and rich blend of ground beef, pork, tomato, onion and a variety of Italian herbs and spices.  It was delicious and would be great on any pasta but was especially good served on the long strips of papperdelle.  Our server grated fresh parmesan on top giving it that extra touch.

The Gnocchi at Pazzaluna are made in-house and are fantastic!  They are soft potato dumplings that are sticky, velvety pillows that on their own don’t have much flavor but when topped with a thick and rich sauce like the Bolognese, they are delicious.

For my main course I ordered the Sea Bass.  This was wonderful! The fish was pan roasted until it had a nice crispy sear to the outside while being soft inside. It was served on a bed of carrot purée, and was topped with red onion jam with a drizzling of salsa verde on the plate.

My companion had the Veal Medallions for the main course and it was the highlight of the meal. The veal itself was cooked to a medium temperature and was extremely flavorful and juicy.  The medallions were served on linguine with garlic butter with sautéed porcini mushrooms & spinach.  The dish was topped with a silky roasted tomato butter sauce.  The server topped it with freshly ground pepper corns

I was much too full for dessert but ended up ordering the Banana Nutella Tart.  This was also very good; it had a layer of chocolate Nutella custard, then a layer of banana in a vanilla cream, then topped with real whipped cream.  It was topped with a wafer of caramelized nuts.

Service: We had excellent service at Pazzaluna, starting with the curb-side valet service.  We had a reservation ahead of time and our table was waiting when we got there.  Our server was very professional and highly knowledgeable about the menu, giving us many excellent suggestions from each section of the menu.  Each course that we had was separate and distinct, with plenty of time in between each.
Overall Impression: We really enjoyed our experience at Pazzaluna.  They have a great selection of both pasta and traditional Italian meat and seafood dishes and the service is top-notch.  Pazzaluna is a great place to visit for Happy Hour, a romantic dinner, to celebrate a special occasion or even for larger parties.
Pazzaluna Urban Trattoria & Bar on Urbanspoon
Pazzaluna Reviews in St Paul

  4 Responses to “Pazzaluna Urban Italian ~ St Paul, MN”

  1. Wow! That restaurant is really cool. Love it! Also, the food looks delicious. Looking forward to visit the place. Thanks for sharing and keep posting.

  2. […] A very nice dinner at Pazzaluna Urban Italian (their […]

  3. The Seafood Cannelloni is also amazing! Not to mention Pazzaluna has an awesome Happy Hour

  4. I have to agree, the Veal Medallions are out of this world. Great review

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