If you've never visited Ogden's historic 25th Street, give it a try sometime.
As charming, boutique-ful and historic as anything you'll find in Park City (and way less expensive), it's also got a certain pleasant grittiness, bordered on one end by the Ogden municipal building and on the other by the rail depot. Unlike Park City, it feels like a part of the real world in which most of us live.
And it's got a nice collection of locally owned restaurants, among them La Ferrovia Ristorante, one of the jewels in Ogden's culinary crown.
I've loved La Ferrovia since I lived in Ogden in the 1990s. The whole place is a reflection of the warm, welcoming attitude of its founders, the Iodice family. The dining areas, with exposed brick, Italian murals and fish tanks, are homey, casual and comfortable.
And the food . . . well, the food is just wonderful. There are excellent sauces, poured over a variety of fresh al dente pastas, crispy bread and fine pizzas and calzones. Not to mention desserts. . . .
But more about that in a few paragraphs. We visited La Ferrovia on a recent weekend evening in a big group, four adults and five kids, and despite the weekend crowds, we were seated quickly and efficiently, tucked in a front corner by the window.
We started with a serving of buttery, herbed-shrimp scampi, one of the nightly specials. It's a simple bowl of plump, moist shrimp with sliced lemons around the edge.
The kids in our group ordered various pastas and pizzas from the kids' menu, though we let our oldest daughter try the grown-up cheese ravioli. Our friend John tried the meat-filled ravioli, and I liked both of them. The cheese ravioli was soft and creamy; the meat ravioli more firm and earthy.
John's wife, Brenda, had the cannellone, a fresh and rich dish of pasta tubes stuffed full of cheese and spinach and topped with a deeply flavorful tomato sauce.
And my husband had one of La Ferrovia's classic offerings, the pasta combo. You won't find it on the menu, but check out the specials board as you come in. Even if it's not there, ask for it, and they'll make it for you. It's simple: two pastas and two sauces, one tomato-based and one classic Alfredo.
But I'm talking about truly excellent sauces. La Ferrovia's tomato sauces, from the simple house sauce to the beef and onion Bolognese-style, are rich and earthy. And the Alfredo is simply divine, managing to be both light and rich, as well as unbelievably silky and creamy. I could practically drink it.
As for me, I had one of the larger meals on the menu, the chef's combination. It's a huge plate of three pastas my husband's two plus ziti with meat and cheese sauce plus a lightly breaded and crisp-fried beef cutlet topped with melted mozzarella.
I didn't come close to finishing it. I never do. But it made a great lunch the next day, and I love the variety of tastes and textures.
With our meals, we had fresh iceberg-heavy salads mine with the carroty, Italian-herbed house dressing and crisp, lightly buttered toast.
For dessert, we all shared the chocolate mousse pie, a crunchy cookie crust filled with real, deep and dark chocolate mousse. We also, of course, had the tiramisu, which to my taste is just about the epitome of its kind: not too sweet, very creamy, with strong, dark coffee flavor.Lunch: Daily specialties $5.95-$6.75, pizza $3.19-$17.29, sandwiches $6.25, kids' meals $3.19-$3.75, sides 45 cents-$2.50. Dinner: entrees $10.25-$12.95, daily specials $9.75-$9.95, pizza $5.59-$17.29, calzones $8.75, sides 45 cents-$2.50, children's menu $3.19-$3.75, desserts $2.95-$3.45.
La Ferrovia Ristorante
Where: 234 25th St., Ogden
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Closed Sunday and Monday; (Lunch served 11 a.m.-3 p.m.)
Payment: Checks, credit cards
Reservations: Accepted but not usually neededPhone: 801-394-8628
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