Tutto Bene is not an ordinary or "cheesy" restaurant

I’ve never been an avid eater of Italian food, as I happen to be slightly lactose intolerant (and Italian food tends to have a lot of cheese), but the bright yellow and blue storefront of Tutto Bene opened its arms and drew me in, so I decided to throw caution to the winds and eat some dairy. The entryway to Tutto Bene reminded me of a rustic Italian villa, with its low whitewashed beams and tiled stone pathway. Almost all sign of O’Malley & McGees, the Mexican restaurant that stood in the same spot on South Duff not long ago, had been erased, except for a single window near the front door that still said "O’Malley & McGees." The party I was with was seated fairly quickly at a table next to the bar, and I was delighted to find that our server was an Italian himself, with a lovely accent to prove it. All the items on the menu were written in Italian with English descriptions, and looking at all the titles I couldn’t pronounce made me feel like I was in a genuine Italian restaurant. Our first course was the antipasto misto, or the appetizer sampler. I was slightly disappointed; the plate cost eight dollars, and there was only about one bite’s worth of each appetizer. The menu had a wide variety of main course options: pizza, pasta, salad, grilled items like steak, and sandwiches. For my main entree, I ordered the "Linguine Al Frutti Di Mare"- linguine with shrimp, clams, and mussels in a garlic and tomato sauce. The dish looked absolutely beautiful, and our server came and grated a generous amount of fresh cheese to top it off. Their pasta did not let me down, and unlike dishes found in Americanized Italian restaurants, it wasn’t overly cheesy, and didn’t cause a lactose induced stomach pain. On the other hand, Tutto Bene’s desserts failed to reach the same quality as their entrees. The vanilla custard I ordered was overloaded with vanilla flavor to the point of bitterness, and the tiramisu also had a slightly unpleasant bitterness to it. Whatever the desserts were lacking, Tutto Bene made up for in atmosphere. The dim lighting, low ceilings, and textured walls created a feeling of relaxation, intimacy, and hominess. The servers were courteous and efficient, and the low-key setting was a comfortable environment to eat in. The price of the food wasn’t cheap (my bill came out to around 18 dollars, including dessert), but it was worth the cost, and I was able to enjoy a good, down to Earth Italian meal for the first time without any dairy consumption problems.