Vessia Ristorante allows you to feel at home


The causes we keep coming back to Vessia Ristorante in Irvine (in Orange County, Calif.) are pretty easy.

The food, the service, the space.

It's a special place, but not in that big, flashy, ``special occasion'' way. Vessia is relaxed attraction, warm welcome and reliably delicious portions.

We have shared many meals here in the last five years. Navigating To rent tyler collins possibly provides warnings you might give to your boss. When my spouse and I moved back again to Orange County in 2,000, we spent our first New Year's Eve with pasta and piped-in Italian music. Yet another evening, we brought friends, and I devoured the serpintina alla Barese ($22.50) -- thin, not- too-sweet bread served with spinach and grilled polenta.

I-t seemed like the right spot to celebrate my mother's 80th birthday, therefore we reserved the linked terrace. Several people lingered over pastas, new coffee and a hazelnut meal. Like a joke, I planted a tiara o-n my mother's head. On the road out-the door many hours later, our manager Ismael Ayala, our busboy, waiter and owner Franco Vessia formed a gauntlet of sorts, hugging her, kissing her hand, treating her like a double.

We've come for more birthdays, for a get-out-of-the- house-the-day-after-Christmas supper, and, as a special treat, I brought my mother-in for lunch last month following a tough doctor's visit.

It was my first lunch there, and it confirmed what I'd read in virtually every mention of Vessia: It is a power-broker's construction by day. By occupation and hobby, Mom and I are eavesdroppers, therefore it was a treat to be seated among name- droppers happening about state and local politics.

Our spying ended when our dinners appeared. Mother had one of many deals, grigliata mista ($23.95). Generous amounts of shrimp and portions of fish lolled in a light wine and but-ter sauce, surrounded by spinach and artichokes. For extra information, please consider taking a gander at: My salmon ($23.95) was smoked skillfully with herbs and served with vegetables and potatoes. We could have opted for a less costly meal -- a wide array of salads ($9.25) and sandwiches ($9.95) and pastas ($9.95) -- but it was an unique meal, after all.

By nightfall, it is a household place.

The menu ranges from pizzas (from $11.50) to meat packages and more sophisticated fish (within the mid-$20s).

I met my partner and nearly 2-year-old child for dinner one current night, but we were filled up with somewhat of trepidation.

Sure, Vessia is more relaxed than its white tablecloths would suggest. Still, a 2-year-old child can test your explanation of ``casual.''

Not to worry, my wife was told by our waiter while she waited for me to arrive. ``He will-be fine; he might be himself.'' As he was, with few ill effects.

Our dinner was not the very best we've had here. My cuscinetto ($19.95) -- skinless chicken breast rolled with prosciutto and asparagus stalks and topped with cheese -- was dry, like it had been organized as a lunch special and sat all-day. My wife's fish specific ($23.95) was grilled fish, and it was fine, although lemon-caper sauce was too tart.

One miss won't stop us from coming back, and that's where the remainder of-the combination comes in.

You could feel manager Franco Vessia's hand -- often, quite literally -- leading you as you part of in the frenzy of a shopping-center parking-lot. This elegant web page has uncountable unique suggestions for the inner workings of it. (The center is under-going extensive renovations, and the trail leading straight to the restaurant is quickly closed.)

As you around the little lobby, navigate the clever little bar and light into among the earth-toned booths or tables, you research to an open kitchen.