Coast Cooking

These are a few of my favorite restaurants: Italian

The bruschetta from Stalla is on the appetizer menu.
The bruschetta from Stalla is on the appetizer menu. Special to the Sun Herald

This week, I’m going to do something different. You would not believe how often I am asked what my favorite restaurants are.

I am hesitant to name them because there are so many great places to eat on the Coast, but I have to admit a few stand just a bit taller, at least to my taste.

So this week I am going to share that very small list with you. I am not going to number them 1 through 10, because they fall into different categories. It would not be fair to compare an authentic Mexican restaurant with a sushi place, or a po-boy joint to a fine-dining establishment, would it?

So here are the basics: These are restaurants I have been to many times, and in all cases I know the chefs and staff, and in almost every one of them the food is prepared from scratch.

I also will present them by category, so we will avoid comparing apples and oranges.

Here’s the first group. Let’s start with Italian restaurants.

The first is Stalla, at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino. Chef Paola Bugli is from Florence and cooked in Italy for 20 years before she came to the United States.

Make sure to sit at the chef’s table, so you can watch what goes on in the kitchen. Be prepared for authentic Italian food, the finest ingredients and superb platings. Pay special attention to the appetizers, such as the antipasto platter, bruschetta and the mussels.

Next is Cannella in Bay St Louis. It is in truth Italian and German, and both menus are stellar. Everything is made from scratch, including the pastas, desserts and even the gelatos.

Everything on the menu is delicious, but you haven’t lived until you have the made-from-scratch, piped to order cannoli and owner Roberto Zito’s good Italian espresso. Pair those two wonders and your life will change forever.

Sicilian II, on Pass Road in Biloxi. I love this place and all the food it makes, again from scratch, but the Sicilian’s Favorite Pizza is the best pizza I have ever had, anywhere, any country in the world.

Check out these three places.