Maurizio’s: Square One

Eating Up (And Down) 101 in Encinitas

I challenged my husband to dining at all the restaurants on 101 in Encinitas.  I hope we will not end up 300 lbs. before we finish!  Maybe this will motivate us to be more diligent in our workouts.

Begin at the Beginning

Our first stop on this quest is Maurizio’s Trattoria Italiana on the corner of D Street and 101.  It was originally Vigilucci’s, back in the day.  At some point, it became Maurizio’s, a fine dining establishment with white tablecloths.  But in March 2020, on the cusp of COVID closedowns, Italian natives Maurizio Carbone, Fabio Montana and Chef Antonio Pappagallo reopened the doors as Maurizio’s Trattoria Italiana.  Wear a jacket if you want, but shorts are okay too.

This is our third visit to Maurizio’s.  We make reservations to ensure a good seat on a holiday weekend.  Downtown is packed and bristling with festive energy!  I want to eat inside where it is quieter, but where we could still people-watch.  When we arrive we are greeted, seated quickly , and served bread with a dipping bowl of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. We love this!

You May Want to Snack Before Reading

Maurizio’s Burratta e Proscuitto: not your Grandma’s ham-and-cheese

For our appetizer we chose Burratta e Prosciutto.  Burratta is an Italian cow’s milk cheese made from mozzarella and cream. It’s firm on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside. The cheese is served wrapped in thinly sliced aged Prosciutto de Parma, topped with marinated grilled eggplant and zucchini, garnished with basil and balsamic vinegar.  We sliced into the cheese and spread it on our bread, then topped it with the Prosciutto. 

Maurizio’s seafood special: lobster ravioli with shrimp, clams, and mussels in marinara.

For our entrees, I choose the Ravioli of the Day:  a lobster ravioli topped with shrimp, clams, and mussels smothered in marinara sauce. It’s kind of like cioppino meets ravioli.  Andy chose the Special of the Day: halibut, and what a presentation it was!  The halibut was skewered and grilled, then smothered in a velvety cream sauce with sun-dried tomatoes and Kalamata olives, with a skewer of fat grilled shrimp on top, served on a bed of artichokes.  Steamed veggies and fingerling potatoes also graced his plate.  It was such a beautiful presentation (just look at that photo!) that a diner at the next table actually raved about it, sending his compliments to Chef Antonio!

Buon Vino per un Buon Pasto

This is my second time ordering the ravioli.  I was hoping it would be available since it is a special dish!  Last time, the waiter recommended a glass of Argyle Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. The Willamette Valley is known for Pinot Noir, and Argyle is an exceptional winery, but we found this particular Pinot to be lacking body and not really hitting the mark we had come to expect.  

So on this visit, I ask for a new suggestion.  Our waiter choses a Barbera, D’alba Marchesi Piedmont.  Nice!  A rich and smoky red with a hint of spice, but not too heavy for seafood. 

For Andy’s halibut, our waiter suggests a Vermentino, Antinori Guado al Tasso, Italy.  This crisp white wine has hint of pear and melon, and just enough sweetness to pair nicely with the halibut.

Making Connections

As we are enjoying our dinner, we notice the couple at the next table (the ones that had raved over Andy’s plate) are sipping a bottle of Daou Vinyards Cabernet Sauvignon.  We had discovered Daou Chardonnay the week before, so we mentioned it to them, striking up a friendly conversation.  They request a fresh glass so we could sample their wine! 

I pick up a smokiness with hints of pepper and dried herbs.  Andy detects the blackberry notes, particularly in the bouquet.  This wine would definitely be great with spaghetti or lasagna.  The couple tips us off that this wine can be found very affordably at Costco.  We’ll be looking for some of that!

Rounding out the evening (and us!), we give in to the tiramisu!  Maurizio’s serves up a lovely, gooey square of coffee-and-rum-soaked ladyfingers topped with mascarpone cheese, dusted with cocoa powder.  

This isn’t that night’s sunset. But trust me, this one from the same vantage point is more fun for you!

After dinner, we waddle down to the D Street Overlook to enjoy the waves.  It was overcast, but even a grey twilight at the beach is a nice way to put the finishing touch on a great dining experience!