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Italian around the corner

Head south for true authentic fare

Pellegrino’s Cioppino is packed to the gills with seafood. Photo credit: Dutch Randall

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Italian food sometimes appears to be around just about every corner, but knowing which corner to turn is the tricky part. Do I want it fast? Do I want it authentic? Do I want it cheap? Finding all of these in one place would be molto bello! And Pellegrino's in Tumwater is absolutely that place, and with just two turns off of exit 105, it's pretty much just around the corner from everywhere.

Pellegrino's has you hooked as soon as you walk in the door. Though unassuming from the outside, the interior is quaint and comfortable. The small size is noticeably absent of the "restaurant echo" so common in large places, and you will feel like one of the family the moment you are greeted by the staff, which may just be one of the many Pellegrino's that work there.

Like most any Italian kitchen, Pellegrino's has the standard pasta dishes one might expect, however, it also has its fair share of unique dishes, like the hot seafood salad, house-made gnocchi and other daily specials. Additionally, Pellegrino's has a large selection of wine-to-go with everything on the menu. And if wine isn't your thing, there is a full selection of beer and a fully stocked bar. The bartender worked me up a Godfather, which is a magical concoction of Scotch and amaretto.

While enjoying your drinks and perusing the menu, you'll also have a plate of fresh warm bread to tide you over as the aroma of Italian home joins you. With so much to choose from, I selected the nightly special of Italian Ciopinno. An incredibly flavorful seafood stew of tomatoes, wine, huge chunks of fresh fish with clams, mussels, prawns and crab; Pellegrino's special was prepared so perfectly that I used the fresh bread to mop up every last bit of broth.

Specials aside, there are several notable dishes on the daily menu in addition to any pasta you may be craving. The chicken marsala, which I was able to sneak a bite from my friend's plate, was also an appetizing combination of a mushroom and onion sauce topping a tender cutlet of chicken all on top of a generous portion of fettuccine.

There isn't a bad choice on the menu at Pellegrino's Kitchen, and combined with the helpful staff, cozy dining experience, and prices that will not break the bank ... make your way around the corner to Cleveland Ave. SE in Tumwater.

Pellegrino's Kitchen, 205 Cleveland Ave. SE, Tumwater, 360.709.9020

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