If you're anything like me, you're obsessed with pizza and pasta and spend your time in college trying to find Italian food as good as the home-cooked stuff you're used to (or if you are actually me, trying to find Italian food better than the boxed and bottled stuff you make yourself at home). That's where Trattoria D.O.C. comes in.
Trattoria D.O.C. is an Italian restaurant in South Evanston that some might call pizza and pasta heaven. Their acronym, D.O.C., stands for "Denominazione Di Origine Controllata," which highlights their focus on high quality, their use of fresh ingredients and their attention to detail. And let me say, the D.O.C. definitely comes through.
While they are known for their pizza, which comes in over thirty different varieties, my friend and I are "pasta people" (a term I coined after realizing that my blood probably has pasta particles in it given the amount I eat). Logically, we decided to try out a few of their pasta dishes to see how they fared.
I ordered Rigatoni with their vodka cream sauce. Although it isn't technically on their menu, they made it to order for me - welcome to the life of a vegetarian. My friend Hadley ordered Penne Pomodoro e Moazzarella, a pasta dish with classic tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella.
I have had a lot of vodka sauces in my day, and have to say that this one was pretty good - it wasn't the best I've ever had, but definitely up there. I was so impressed by the flavor profile that I scooped up every last bit of the sauce and ate it before they took away my plate.
My only wish was for the portion sizes to be larger. They offer both half and full orders of their pastas, but when my full order came out, I thought they had made a mistake and given me only half (I was wrong). I left the restaurant not much fuller than when I arrived, and had to eat another meal when I got home to fill me up for the night.
Hadley, on the other hand, could not stop raving about her meal. At many restaurants, classic tomato sauce can fall flat and is often not much better than the Prego I grew up on (and still use at home). Thus, it is something I typically avoid when I eat out.
While Hadley shares these feelings on marinara sauce, she was brave and ordered it. And she was pleasantly surprised. She kept telling me that the effort they put into their sauce clearly came through in the taste, and the sauce was unusual in that she never got tired of eating it. She even took her leftovers home to finish that night. Her portion size was also nearly double the size of mine (I think it had to do with the Rigatoni vs. Penne dichotomy), which only added to her positive experience.
While we didn't have the chance to try the pizza, we will definitely be back. Maybe next time we'll come with our parents in tow so our wallets don't take a big hit - it is definitely on the pricier end and a place for special occasions. What started as a restaurant we had never heard of will now be a staple in our list of Evanston restaurants for the rest of our time at Northwestern.
Be sure to visit during February 2017 to take advantage of North Shore Restaurant Month's Free Dessert with Entrée Purchase.