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Settling In

With Italian-inspired dishes and a relaxed atmosphere, Sette is making itself at home here in Orlando.

Sette (pronounced Se-TAY) opened in Ivanhoe Village in March, taking over the space that formerly housed Stir and before that Nova; the former lasted for seven months while the latter stuck it out for about a year and a half. Suffice it to say, restaurants have not had much staying power in recent years at this corner of Ivanhoe.

But Sette, which is Italian for seven, is led by Orlando food veterans Va Propst and Trina Gregory-Propst, who run the successful Se7en Bites eatery in the Milk District, so these two may just be the ones to make this space work.

My friend and I arrived at the dinner-only restaurant on a Sunday night, sans reservation, and were seated right away inside the dining room where we had a full view of the open kitchen. The decor was rustic chic and the atmosphere was relaxed. If you’re looking to dine outside, there is a patio, but on this particular night it was too hot to consider.

We ordered two drinks to start: the Zoo-Be-Zoo-Be-Zoo ($13) and the That’s Amore-etti ($13). I’m a sucker for lemon-flavored anything so the Zoo-Be-Zoo-Be-Zoo was right up my alley with Meyer lemon vodka, lemon sorbet, prosecco and a mint leaf garnish. The taste was refreshing and bright.

The second cocktail was creamy with a strong almond taste. It was made with Real McCoy rum, almond syrup, Disaronno amaretto and almond milk, with shaved almonds sprinkled over top.

For our appetizers, we chose the Bread Board ($11) and Mussels ($15). The bread board was an excellent choice for something to snack on. In fact, I would come back just to order a few glasses of wine and snack on this starter that consisted of Sicilian focaccia, marcona truffled almonds, marinated olives, garlic confit and herbed creamed olive oil.

The focaccia was sprinkled with rosemary and the herbed creamed olive oil was so good that it wasn’t long before it was completely gone.

The mussels arrived at our table swimming in a lemon white wine sauce accented by Calabrian chili and shaved fennel. The sauce was delicious. It was lemony and creamy and had a nice kick of spice at the end, with the fennel adding a sharp anise flavor as well.

When it came to choosing our entrees, we knew pasta had to be a part of the equation as Sette makes its noodles in-house. So, my friend ordered the Amatriciana Paccheri ($15), which consisted of rigatoni gigante, spicy tomatoes, roasted onions, pancetta and shaved parmesan.

The noodles were beautiful and, as expected, giant but while the sauce was flavorsome, the pancetta seemed to get lost in it all and didn’t exactly lend anything to the dish.

Meanwhile, I chose the Caponata Risotto ($17) for my entree. The rice in this dish was creamy and melt-in-the-mouth soft. It was topped with cooked eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, raisins, capers, olives and pine nuts.

The acidic medley of veggies matched with the velvety rice was an excellent pairing and I especially enjoyed the chunks of eggplant and zucchini that gave the dish a little more texture.

For dessert, we chose the Lemon Olive Oil Cake ($11) to share and I ordered an Espresso ($5). The cake was layered with rosemary lemon curd, had a lemon mascarpone buttercream frosting and came with fresh strawberries on the side.

The espresso was rich and went well with our cake that was moist and quite sweet due to the frosting. I couldn’t taste the rosemary but I didn’t think the cake needed it anyway. The serving size of our dessert was more than generous and the two of us couldn’t have finished it even if we’d had all night.

In fact, we didn’t finish our entrees either, both of which were also large portions. It may behoove Sette to offer a half portion for some of its entrees, which is something I’ve seen other restaurants do with their pasta dishes.

Otherwise, it seems that Sette is settling into the Ivanhoe community just fine. With the restaurant’s Italian-inspired bites and large serving sizes, my advice for those considering this spot for dinner: Bring your appetite.

1407 North Orange Ave. | Orlando

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