If you drive too fast down Bay Street, then you may get some death glares from pedestrians and you also might miss a quaint Italian eatery named Tutto Il Giorno. Nestled between Sag Harbor Florist and something else, the outside of the restaurant has a humble, old-world style theme, with a small, purposely-aged sign. The location provides plenty of parking – angled spots along Bay Street, side street parallel spots, and some municipal parking – and it’s situated in a spot that is conducive for pre or post-meal walks into Main Street or along the docks.
The hostess station is positioned outside, adjacent to the sidewalk where you can review a few of the menus and specials, at which point you can ask to be seated inside or out. While my wife and I chose to eat inside (it was a muggy night), the outside seating appeared quite comfortable, starting directly behind the hostess table with a slight view of the boats docked in the harbor.
The seating on the inside of Tutto Il Giorno appeared limited, but they managed to do a lot with a small space. There is one booth by the main entrance that was occupied by a party of 4, which seemed to give a more intimate experience, while we were seated at a small two-person table next to 3 other parties seated in the same fashion. Behind us was a long table where a family with 3 children were finishing up their meal.
I’ll be honest, the seating arrangement inside was tight and sometimes uncomfortable. My wife sat on a long bench that hugged the back wall and was shared by the 4 two-person tables that ran parallel. These tables were occupied on either side of us and at multiple times during the night we felt overly involved in the loud conversations underway by the adjacent diners. Clearly, the more attractive seating area is outside, which features an area in the back with a hanging canopy of branches, and more lounge-atmosphere.
But seating aside, let’s get to the food.
The menu was pleasantly simple, featuring some standard appetizers with slight twists, pasta dishes featuring different noodles and sauces, and a satisfactory list of entrees. Not an overbearing selection and it seemed to have something for everyone.
Note: For this review I planned to visit the restaurant’s website to view the proper names of all the dishes and include those in the posting. Much to my surprise – this restaurant has no known web address, which was also a comment by a reader on another review. So, please excuse the lack of names for these dishes – I will try to describe them the best I can.
I started the night with one of the salads (the last one listed in the appetizer section), which was surprisngly fantastic. I say surprising because one doesn’t often consider salad something to highlight, but the combination of a dressing that was delicate mix of sweet and sour with an abundance of perfectly ripened cherry tomatoes, made this a memorable salad. I would definitely order it again.
For dinner, my wife and I stayed simple, ordering two of the pasta dishes – a rigatoni with sausage in a tomato sauce & cavatelli with ground veal in a cream sauce.
The rigatoni noodles were a text-book al dente texture, covered in a rich, flavorful tomato-based sauce with a dense injection of tender ground sausage. Easily one of the best red sauces I have experienced in recent memory and just a satisfying meal overall.
The cavatelli dish followed along the same lines, just in a creamy white-sauce with what seemed like an overabudnace of ground veal. From a taste perspective, the meal has everything one would be looking for in a cream-based sauce, but the veal was at times overpowering and I wasn’t able to finish the serving. I’m not ready to rule out getting this dish again, but I would be quicker to order the rigatoni next time.
As a side dish we ordered the grilled asparagus, mainly because the couple directly next to us ordered it and we felt like we knew it quite well. Fortunately, it did not disappoint – cooked to the right crunchiness and not too bitter. A very nice companion to our pasta dishes.
The serving sizes for both meals appeared moderate, perhaps disguised by the small, deep bowls in which the meals were served, but due to this deception (and the richness of the sauces) both my wife and I could not finish (not a bad thing).
Through the course of the meal we shared a bottle of wine, which our waitress was always quick to pour and refill our glasses. The service was prompt and not pushy.
The price for our two meals (with the salad, asparagus, and bottle of wine) landed around $115 (with tip), which was a bit high, but not unexpected for a higher-brow restaurant in a prime location in Sag Harbor.
I would definitely recommend Tutto Il Giorno to anyone looking for a satisfying Italian meal – just consider sitting outside.