Tavolo Italia

Tavolo Italia offers an extensive wine list as well as specialty drinks.

Tavolo Italia offers an extensive wine list as well as specialty drinks.

Tavolo Italia Tavolo Italia owner Jeffrey Frankel opened the Italian restaurant Jan. 5.[/caption]

If one wants to eat at Tavolo Italia, the newest fine-dining Italian bistro in Frisco, his or her best bet is to go during a weekday, owner Jeffrey Frankel said.

The new Italian restaurant opened Jan. 5 on Main Street, and on its first weekend the place was consistently busy, Frankel said. Though weekdays at Tavolo Italia are also busy, Frankel said there is less wait time.

When Frankel, who also owns Mattito’s Tex Mex in Dallas and Frisco, began thinking of a new concept for a restaurant, he said he wanted people to feel like they had just stepped into a restaurant in Boston or Manhattan.

“I knew we needed to open a restaurant that was substantial to the point where you would be willing to park, walk or valet park, so we started looking at the gaps in the market,” Frankel said.

Frankel said he noticed that there were not many Italian restaurants in the Frisco Square area. So Frankel and his business partner, Jim Lannom, decided to open their own.

Tavolo Italia The eatery takes its own approach to its Ceasar salad ($6).[/caption]

Frankel said he has a personal connection to Italian cuisine given that his wife’s stepfather is Italian and so are her half-sisters. Frankel and his wife also like to visit California’s Napa Valley, where they collect wine, which Frankel also wanted to incorporate in the new restaurant.

Frankel and Lannom expanded the Tavolo space and hired Dallas design firm Jones Baker to design the interior of the restaurant.

Inside Tavolo, works by Italian artists adorn the gray walls, and chandeliers hang from the ceiling. Tables and chairs are all made of wood.

Tavolo Italia The polenta croccante ($8) includes mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes.[/caption]

The menu has seven appetizers, four salads, a dozen pastas, five pizzas and three dessert options. Frankel said the restaurant is not competing with big chain Italian restaurants.

“Our goal is to be better than that, and the food had to really be awesome,” Frankel said. “Rather than hiring a cook that could make some pasta we wanted a high-end chef. We want to create a chef-driven experience.”

Tavolo Italia The ricotta- and spinach-filled Pansotti ($13) includes toasted walnut cream, parmesan and fresh herbs.[/caption]

So after an extensive chef search, the owners hired Chef Andrew Powers, who has worked at the Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas, Caneel Bay Resort in the Caribbean and the
W Hotel in Dallas.

One of Powers’ dishes is his version of a Ceasar salad ($6), which is served in a tower stacked between baked parmesan cheese with balsamic dressing drizzled around it.

Tavolo Italia The interior of the restaurant was designed by design firm Jones Baker.[/caption]

Another dish Frankel said is for newcomers is the Polenta Croccante ($8), a crispy polenta wedge with sage butter, cremini mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon zest and parmesan cheese.

There are a variety of pizzas to choose from, including classic pepperoni ($12) and the chef-inspired Gran Paradiso ($13), with black truffle cream, toasted pine nuts, ham, cheese, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes.

All menu items are made from locally grown ingredients.

The restaurant also features a wine list that includes champagne, white and red wine at a price point that ranges from $28-$77.

“I think we nailed it,” Frankel said. “We’ve created something I think is super special. We have the look, the food, quality service. We want to create a ‘wow’ experience.”

By Nicole Luna
Nicole Luna is the Senior Reporter for Frisco. She covers development, transportation, education, business and city government. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Spanish from The University of Texas at Arlington and has been with Community Impact Newspaper since June 2015.