I'll go ahead and admit it. I have snobbish tendencies when it comes to Italian food. But, as anyone who has traveled to beautiful Italia will agree, it is extremely tough to find authentic Italian cuisine here in the states. And just like in Italy, it is fitting that the best food around just happens to be located in the most unassuming of places.
Nestled next to the Electric Rose Tattoo Parlor and the Brotherhood Tavern in downtown Olympia, a Sicilian treat lies waiting behind the most modest of doors. Trinacria Ristorante Italiano in Olympia is perhaps the closest I've come to replicating both the cuisine and the environment that I fell in love with in Italy.
One of my favorite meals during my time in Italy was a dish called Spaghetti al vulcano, which I enjoyed while spending a weekend on the volcanic Aeolian Islands just north off the Sicilian coast in the Mediterranean. It was a very simple dish of spaghetti noodles tossed in olive oil and sprinkled with crushed red peppers and garlic. I don't know what it was about that combination, but the gentle flavor of the olive oil mixed with the bold spice of the crushed peppers has stuck with me ever since. You can imagine my joy when I noticed Spaghetti Aglio e Olio on the Trinacria menu, an exact replica of the dish I enjoyed on the island of Lipari nearly 10 years ago. And Chef Eugenio did not disappoint. Really, the only difference was not having the Mediterranean Sea as a backdrop for the meal. But that is a minor detail when you are talking about food as good as this.
A word of warning though, don't show up to Trinacria without reservations. While it may appear to be a "hole in the wall", the secret is out on this place, and if you show up unannounced there might not be a table left for you. Also, be sure to visit the cash machine because credit cards are not accepted at Trinacria.
Good Italian food is sneaky. If you rush through it you will never appreciate the subtle, delicate flavors of the fresh ingredients. There is a great phrase that Italians love to say to Americans - "C'e tempo". It means 'there is time' or 'there is no hurry'. So, if you do decide to give Trinacria a try, treat yourself to an authentic Italian dining experience. Turn off the cell phone, order some wine, and slow down. You'll want to savor the experience.
Have you eaten at Trinacria? Please share your experience in our Go Local section!