Whether you’re fretting about where to take that cutie you’ve been crushing on in chem for a casual coffee date or looking for a romantic anniversary dinner locale, we’ve got all the details here. We hope you enjoy reading about these date destinations as much as we enjoy writing about them, and that you’ll give some of them a taste.
So, in the spirit of this selection: Buon Appetito!
Restaurant: Trattoria Demi
Address: 1571 Sherman Ave., Evanston
Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., Sun. 12 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Getting there: 5-7 minute walk south of the Arch
A truly authentic Italian eatery, the Trattoria Demi of downtown Evanston offers a wide range of traditional Italian dishes. Demi is one of the nearest fine dining establishments to South Campus, just beyond the municipal fountains and Jamba Juice. This classy-casual dining option is the best combination of a beyond-college atmosphere and a convenient location to campus.
While the food at Trattoria Demi is by no means merely average, it doesn’t quite match up to Italian food I’ve had in the past for a comparable price. I had the Cioppino, a rich, flavorful stew with a medley of seafood favorites and vegetables in tomato broth. It was tasty and the portion fairly large but this seafood stew didn’t quite feel worth the high price. Still, the ingredients are fresh and the food is flavorful, so if you’ve got the money the Cioppino could definitely be worth your while.
The staff is very friendly and comes by often to check up on diners. Our water carafe was replaced as quickly as we emptied it, and our food made it to the table faster than I would have thought possible for its quality. Our waitress was even courteous enough to expedite the orders of the couple behind us, who was worried about being late for a show that night.
The atmosphere is series of delightful contradictions: The elegant black bar at the back of the restaurant and the lovely art on the walls create an air of luxury, yet the kindly staff and simple tables make the place feel pleasantly casual. The warm-colored walls make the room feel cozy, but the French doors on the street-facing side of building give a cooler, more open impression. Finally, dramatic classics of American music play gently in the background, giving the restaurant a cheesy-romantic kitsch. I’m a big fan of kitsch.
Date Factor (3.5/5)
Trattori Demi is a good place to take a date close to campus. I imagine its appeal will increase as the temperature decreases. While it's a bit overpriced in my opinion, it’s a nice, classy option with a convenient location. It is sure to delight fans of Italian cuisine.
The menu is arranged in the order of a traditional Italian meal, providing plenty of diverse and authentic options. A gratuitous appetizer of bread and butter served as a pleasant start to our meal. For my entrée, I ordered the Tortellini della Nona, a stuffed pasta reminiscent of ravioli filled with spinach and prosciutto. This platter of pasta with an intensely thick cream sauce is a rich and filling main course. The spinach and prosciutto flavors were lost in the heavy cream sauce, and I found the simple and light bread and butter appetizer to be my favorite component of the meal. While the food at Trattoria Demi is good, it is markedly not great when considering the expense.
The wait staff is very conscientious, keeping drinks filled and diners content. The unremarkable food arrived at our table in a timely manner. Concluding our dining experience, the helpful wait staff efficiently handled our bill. For our 21-and-over readers, the Trattoria Demi offers a good selection of red and white wines that waiters will assist patrons in selecting.
Trattoria Demi features all the visual and aural elements of a classy Italian restaurant. Plaster walls painted a hue of Tuscan gold and well-hung pieces of modern art give off a tasteful but easy-going vibe. Over the speakers, music of the 1940s and 1950s lends an air of romantic nostalgia to the atmosphere. A small but cozy dining room allows for an intimate dining experience.
Date Factor (3/5)
While the Trattoria Demi has all the makings of a fabulous date night, high prices definitely put a dent in the wallet of whoever chooses to pay. A great atmosphere and solid service start the evening out on the right note, but the less than remarkable food that cost this couple $20 per person leaves diners with something to be desired. After eating our meals, the brief walk back to campus did not provide John and me with enough physical activity to ward off the dreaded food-induced stupor. Trattoria Demi is an acceptable eatery – no more, no less.
While the food may not be phenomenal and the prices could be a bit too high, Trattoria Demi deserves notice for its convenient proximity to South Campus. The atmosphere screams “cute dinner date,” but the menu’s prices indicate otherwise. Remember this date destination for winter quarter; the brief walk will save you and your date from frosty weather, and the classic Italian dishes will provide a hearty seasonal meal, provided you’re willing to shell out.
We’d love to hear about your experiences at Trattoria Demi or your suggestions for future date spots. Feel free to leave a comment and let us know what you think! Let's get the Table for Two conversation going!