So as those of you who follow me know, I just recently came back from a culinary tour in Italy so I'd like to think my Italian food game is on point! ;) Needless to say when I heard that Davios Northern Italian Steakhouse had quietly opened up their first location on the west coast in Irvine, I was pretty excited to check them out!
The "Steakhouse" part was especially intriguing to me as one of the best pieces of beef I've ever had was a Florentine Steak in Tuscany. In addition to regional Northern Italian food, Davios specializes in prime steak grilled to order. Established by Steve DiFillippio in 1985, Davios has been well known for many years on the east coast in Atlanta, Boston, Philadelphia and NYC, and is now making its first foray to the west coast.
I visited for dinner, and was pleasantly surprised with the attention to detail that is paid to the food, the service and the ambiance at this lovely new restaurant. Davios is located in what was previously occupied by Prego Ristorante in the Irvine Towers on Von Karmen. The setting is large and upscale, but still manages to be intimate and cozy with its low lit interior and warm decor. The staff's warmth and attentiveness also makes you feel like you're the only guest there. I was very impressed by the level of service, and the detail provided throughout the entire meal.
We started our meal with the raw bar served up in a grand silver tureen which made for quite an impressive plating. Included in the raw bar was fresh Maine Lobster, luscious lump crab meat, chilled shrimp, raw oysters, and a lovely tuna tartare, which proved to be my personal favorite of the seafood items. Everything was incredibly fresh and was paired perfectly with the typical sauces and accouterments. It made for a lovely light first course with which to start a grand meal at Davios.
As a starter, I tried both the America Kobe Beef Meatballs and the Oven Baked Lump Crab Cakes. I was most curious to try the crab cakes as I'm often disappointed by the crab to filler ratio with many crab cakes. I was pleased to see the crab cakes at Davios were filled with the most divine crab and not masked with binding ingredients. They were also served with a lovely lemon mustard sauce that melted in your mouth with every bite of sweet crab.
Staying true to Italian coursing, the pasta dish was served next with a delicious potato gnocchi garnished with organic mushrooms, basil and white truffle oil. Now, I love gnocchi and order it just about anywhere I see it. Davios' rendition was music in my mouth as the truffle oil and meaty mushrooms paired perfectly with the robust gnocchi. I also loved the curls of fresh Parmesan that melted ever so slightly over the gnocchi, adding another level of richness and texture to the dish. I would HIGHLY recommend this dish to any fellow gnocchi lovers!
As the main, I had opted for the New York Stripsteak as I wanted to try the 'steakhouse' side of Davios. It definitely didn't disappoint. The beef at Davios is local Brandt beef from central California which is then dry aged in-house by Davios. The flavor and quality of the beef shines through and rivals any top steakhouse in Orange County or otherwise. I also have to mention the delicious goat cheese croquettes that were served as a side with it - these little gems were delicious!
One of the best things about Davios is there's really something for everyone. A typical Italian restaurant this is not, with options for the seafood lover, the beef eater and of course, the pasta fans. I love when a restaurant can not only do multiple things, but most importantly does them right! Davios is a great addition to OC as you don't see a lot of that in our region. I highly recommend you visit soon and see for yourself! :)
Note: I came for dinner but if you're look for a slightly more casual visit they do serve lunch and have a gorgeous patio which would make for a perfect sunny day excursion. They also have a grab and go menu (on their website here: https://davios.com/irv/menus/go) if you want to try their food but are tasked for time.
Davios is located at 18420 Von Karman in Irvine, at the Irvine Towers.
Open for dinner Sunday through Tuesday;
Lunch Monday through Friday,
and Brunch on Sundays.
Validated complimentary parking is available at the lot directly across from the towers,
or by valet for a fee.
Website (and menu): http://davios.com/irv