Tucked away in a hidden corner of The Cedars, an up-and-coming district in Dallas, just a few miles south of Downtown, you will find a hidden Italian joint, Full Circle Taverna. Not to be confused with its sister-bar and restaurant Full Circle Tavern, Taverna is a picturesque hideaway bringing decadent pasta dishes to a whole new level.
This gem is undiscovered and free of crowds. Red candles flicker on the tables simply for ambiance; the restaurant’s dim illumination is courtesy of charming pendant lights that hang around the room. Surrounded by red brick and a mural of Bonnie and Clyde, I noted that the space lacks anything but character.
Wine is priority, and with a full bar available, Taverna’s drink list does not disappoint. After choosing the perfect wine, I jumped to the appetizer menu. Bruschetta is my hors d’oeuvre love language of sorts. And boy is Taverna speaking my language. Juicy tomatoes, fresh basil and freshly shaved parmesan on slices of toasted focaccia, all topped with a drizzle of balsamic reduction made every bite heavenly.
There are plenty of options available to vegetarians like myself, a rarity at some restaurants. Our waiter informed us that the pastas are house-made and hand-rolled, a unique touch that really sets the food apart.
This is no Olive Garden.
I ordered the Rigatoni and my significant other ordered the Mushroom Ravioli. We waited on our entrées with light conversation, complimented by swing music flowing through the restaurant’s speakers. What is Italian food without being serenaded by Frank Sinatra?
Our food arrived and the portion sizes impressed us. The waiter topped my dish with freshly shaved parmesan. I took my first bite and the word that came to mind was phenomenal. The tomato-based sauce is bold and robust, bursting with flavor in a way that makes me positive it’s been simmering since I woke up this morning. The difference house-made pasta makes does not go unnoticed. The Rigatoni had that perfect al dente chew one can only dream of achieving with boxed pasta. My boyfriend raved about his rich and creamy ravioli between each bite. We both polish off our plates.
Before running to Google to find Taverna’s menu and location, I will warn you that it is nearly impossible to track down online. Part of Taverna’s appeal is that they do not advertise their restaurant but rely solely on word-of-mouth. Don’t worry, I’ve done the footwork for you! Full Circle Taverna shares a kitchen with the aforementioned Full Circle Tavern, located at 1319 S. Lamar St, Dallas, TX 75215. Taverna is located on the back side of the building facing the main parking lot. Drop by, order pasta, and thank me later.