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Setting the Table

An update on the common neighborhood Italian ristorante, the trendy Tre Bambine Modern Italian Bàcaro is a welcomed addition to the dining scene.

Recently opened in Thornton Park, Tre Bambine Modern Italian Bàcaro has completely transformed the space it took over from former occupant Spice Modern Steakhouse. Gone are the dark interior and maze of booths and in their place is a light, airy dining room. As has become common for any trendy restaurant that brands itself as “modern,” the usual interior design touches can be found here including hanging pendant lighting, a green plant wall and white subway tile walls, but it all seemed to fit the ethos of what this bàcaro is striving for, which is an update on your common neighborhood Italian restaurant sans the reproduced art of grape bunches on the wall.

The name of the restaurant is a nod to the owner’s three daughters and the head chef is Anthony Albino, who hails from tapas restaurant Santiago’s Bodega.

On a Friday evening, my friend and I arrived early for our reservation and were seated on the outside patio. The view from our hightop table was lovely as the veranda overlooks Lake Eola, so for people watching (and swan boat watching), this is choice seating. However, the patio awning only covers some of the tables and we saw more than a few diners play musical chairs to avoid the sun. I’d suggest the restaurant’s management invest in some good quality umbrellas before summer arrives.

We also noticed that the back patio sign had two different names on it. One side said the restaurant’s name, while the other half said “Tre Cani,” which is three dogs in Italian. We asked our server about it and he said it was because the patio is dog friendly and that the restaurant in fact has an entire menu just for dogs. While we were there we saw two pugs partake in the canine food offerings, which include Beef Sirloin Pâté ($8) and Pupacino ($7), a serving of housemade whipped goat milk.

For our first course, my friend and I picked two of the small bites: Goat Cheese and Poached Pear ($10) and the Truffle Arancini ($13). The herbed goat cheese was encrusted in caramelized pine nuts and sat atop a large bright red beet slice. We spread it on crostini and then added slices of the red-wine poached pear and it was delectable. The Truffle Arancini arrived as three large fried balls filled with risotto, sweet peas and crumbled pancetta, served with truffle aioli on the side. Each ball was crisp on the outside and creamy and savory on the inside.

For drinks, we both ordered the restaurant’s housemade Limoncello ($6), a traditional Italian liqueur made from steeping lemon peels in a neutral spirit such as vodka. The drinks came chilled in tall shot glasses holding about two ounces. We sipped on them throughout the appetizer and entrée portions of our meal and they tasted just like lemon drop candy.

As is common with restaurants that are just a few days past their grand openings, the staff at Tre Bambine seems to still be getting its timing down. After taking just a few bites of our appetizers, two confused looking food runners came to our table with our entrées, which we had to ask them to hold on to so we could finish our small plates. On the other hand, our server was incredibly professional and knowledgeable, answering all of our questions and quick with recommendations.

Although you could easily make a family meal out of the restaurant’s small bites, bruschetta and flatbreads, we decided to go for hearty entrées: the Ossobuco Milanese ($26) and the Gnocchi Pomodoro ($17).

Ossobuco is an Italian dish of braised veal shank. The shank served to me was set atop polenta and everything was doused in a Marsala sauce of tomato and cipollini onion. The polenta mixed with the sauce was heavenly and although the shank was a bit overcooked, it all worked together nicely. The only thing I would change was the fried potato skins and red onion petals that were served on top of the piece of meat. They seemed to be there for more decoration purposes rather than adding anything to the dish. With such a big, beautiful piece of meat, why cover it up with useless accoutrements?

The pasta at Tre Bambine is not made at the restaurant but rather provided by local maker Trevi Pasta Factory and the gnocchi we had was soft and served with a nice, simple sauce with parmesan, cherry tomatoes and fresh basil chiffonade.

For dessert, we chose the Bambine Cannoli ($9) and two other cocktails: the Limoncello Drop Martini ($8) and the Coffee Old Fashioned ($9). Made with Kahlúa, espresso, bourbon, Peychaud’s bitters and sprinkled with cinnamon, the Old-Fashioned was a perfect complement to our dessert, a crisp pastry shell that was filled with sweet ricotta dotted with dark chocolate chips.

The martini was lemony and not overly sour. With a sugar rim and decorative lime rind, it’s made up of the housemade limoncello, vodka, triple sec, sugar and fresh lemon juice.

Overall, Tre Bambine seems to be setting the table for success, fitting in with the trendy Thornton Park area restaurants while standing out with its updated take on comfort Italian cuisine. I’ll certainly be back to try more of the small bites and drink all that I can of the limoncello. And maybe next time I’ll bring a canine friend to review Tre Cani.

Tre Bambine
Modern Italian Bàcaro
407 E Central Blvd. | Orlando
407-753-7333 |

This article originally appeared in Orlando Family Magazine’s May 2019 issue.

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