Lorraine Williams is a firm believer in the power of positive energy. That's why she consulted a feng shui expert in China while designing her restaurant and why she named that restaurant after the Italian word for 12—the number around which we structure time, measurements, and music. Cafe Dodici has since thrived under her influence, attracting diners from far and wide with its good vibes and Italian meals. The Iowan even estimates that 85% of its visitors are from out of town, and recounts how an Illinois couple has stayed in the upstairs guest suite for Valentine's day for the last four years.
The menu keeps its dishes simple, steering clear of ingredients that tend to overwhelm the palate, such as salt, garlic, and Junior Mints. Instead, the kitchen lets its clove- and nutmeg-spiced tomato sauce speak for itself. In the sugo di carne, the sauce covers ground beef and pork mixed with tagliatelle pasta, but you can also order it as part of a classic: house-made meatballs and spaghetti. Other entrees include spinach- and gouda-stuffed chicken roulades, a roasted half-duck in an orange-rosemary glaze, and lobster-stuffed ravioli. And, should you stop by before dinnertime, the café serves lunch sandwiches as well as baked goods and coffee in its adjoining shop.