Davinci’s – Italian Eatery to the North

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Davinci’s in Lewiston is a little outside of my regular restaurant path, but when I’m around, it’s one of the places I often visit. It had been a little while since I was last at the purveyor of Italian eats, so I was curious to see if it was as I remembered it or if it would throw me a curveball. There is a parking lot there which is a nice bonus compared to most Portland restaurants, but when it’s nearly full, it can get a little cramped. Nonetheless we parked without issue and made our way in.

We were with family and friends for a total party of seven but arrived earlier in the evening, so we were seated right away. There were already menus and water at the table and I started investigating the options without delay.  Davinci’s has pretty much the standard Italian fare with a few concoctions that add their own flair. The menu is typical and divided by category – starters, salads, specials, classics, seafood, meaty plates, and some good old fashioned pizza. I wanted to try something different and I went in with a bit of a hankering for pizza, but kept an open mind and tried to find the right food for the night.

Our waitress visited us to take drink orders and a variety of beer, wine, and cocktails were requested. I stuck with water because I was driving and I don’t even drive that well sober. Once libation demands were made, everyone at the table began discussing life, love, and why the name Lloyd starts with two of the same consonant, so it took us a while to make some initial decisions on food. Some at the table wanted to start with a starter, and some wanted to start with a finisher. Nonetheless, choices were made that everyone could agree upon.

The final tally on apps was one Luna Di Luna – half moons of fried provolone with marinara and pesto – and a Spinach Fonduta – artichoke hearts, roasted plum tomatoes, spinach, romano, mozzarella, and served with focaccia. I ordered an extra half moon of the cheese for good measure and so we’d have enough to share with the table. While we waited on those, I buried my head in the menu looking for my next course. As I did so, the drinks came out.

My wife’s Sangria looked and smelled very fruity. My dad’s Bloody Mary was quite spectacular with it’s celery stalk, olives, pepperoni, lemon, and lots of horseradish. I tried a sip, and though I’m not a fan of Bloody Marys, I did appreciate the heavy horseradish spice. After trying the grotesquely named red concoction, I decided to settle on my final course, did so, and soon the waitress arrived to take our orders.

Pizza ended up maintaining a place in my heart and I went with the “BOB” – Brick Oven Brie Pizza – crispy prosciutto, garlic, EVOO, caramelized onions, brie, dried cranberries, blend of cheeses, topped with arugula. Mrs. Portlandeater decided on the Barbeque Chicken Pizza – BBQ Chicken, caramelized onion, cheesy goodness. We went with the small size and both ordered Caesar Salads with no anchovies – romaine, romano, parmesan, Caesar dressing, roasted red peppers. My parents went with the Renaissance Lasagna – pasta, ricotta, beef, veal, Italian sausage, asiago, marinara, blend of Italian cheese. There were also an assortment or classic and specialty dishes ordered by the rest of the table.

As we waited for the starters, we participated in some verbal jousting about which sea creature native to the eastern portion of the Pacific Ocean would make the most loyal pet. Unable to make a speedy decision, the provolone and fondue/dip made their appearance. I wasn’t concerned about the latter, but I couldn’t wait to get my paws on the cheese moons. I pulled the little semi-circles into my space and grabbed one gleefully. I also scooped some marinara, making sure not to contaminate it with the pesto.  I cut a piece of the cheese, dipped it into the red sauce, and tried it by way of my fried provolone hole. It was glorious. A bit of crunch made provolone even better and the house marinara was an excellent representation of the requisite red relish.

I ended up with a couple of half moons down the hatch with everyone else had smaller pieces and some of the fondue/focaccia combo. Salads came out shortly after. Both the wife and I had answered negatively to anchovies on the Caesar, so we avoided a salad smothered in sea succubus. The salad turned out to be a typical offering except for the addition of the red pepper garnish which I enjoyed. We scarfed those down and waited for the final countdown.

With the clock ticking on entrees, they arrived before many ticks ticked which is good, because I had been ready for an Italian feast before I even showed up. Pizza and pasta were delivered in their substantial glory. Our pizzas were as I expected them – about 12″ with good topping coverage. The other meals were of gargantuan stature. The raviolis were numerous and the pasta was plentiful. The lasagna was nearly the size of the artist currently known as Prince. He might seem tiny, but he’s huge for a lasagna.

I’m always concerned when I order pizza because I’m worried that it will be sparsely topped. Mine looked okay, but with the arugula cover and the fact that the main topping of brie was the same color as the other cheese, I didn’t know if the brie was simply camouflaged like a ninja or non-existent like the money in my pocket. I quickly bit into the crusty cheese-holder and made my assessment. The brie was surprisingly plentiful with the cranberries giving it sort of a cheese board-type sweetener accompaniment. The prosciutto was a nice touch and all the other ingredients made a superb combo. I could have lived without the arugula, but it was not excessive, so it was fine. I was still skeptical that the brie might have missed the other pieces of pizza, but they ended up fully bried, much to my delight.

All the other food went over quite well with the table. My parents certainly had multiple meals of their singer-songwriter sized layered pasta and my wife took home some pizza. We were all full and ready to hit the road even though the dessert options looked outstanding and were on display when we walked in. I just couldn’t handle consuming any more. My generous father ended up paying the tab, but Davinci’s prices are quite reasonable, especially when you figure in the size of the portions.

Davinci’s had the opportunity to disappoint me, but didn’t. I got pizza there for the first time ever and they succeeded in making it in a manner which I think would satisfy any pizza lover. The food is tasty, the portions are huge, and the service is very good too. If you’re in Lewiston and you have a craving for Italian, it’s worth stopping in for some eats. And after your meal, please have a piece of peanut butter pie for me – if you can handle it.

Stay hungry.

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