Although Italians originally invented pasta as a fastener to keep Sicily from floating away, they abandoned it for less delicious moorings after locals on both sides kept snacking their way toward separation. Tether your taste buds to today's Groupon: for $30, you get $60 worth of Italian fare and drinks at Leonardo Trattoria.
Leonardo Trattoria's Mediterranean kitchen mavens stock its menu with wood-fired Sicilian pizzas and homemade pastas, breads, and sauces. The fettucine ai frutti di mare ($17.50) tangles baby shrimp, mussels, and calamari in a noodle net. Alternately, the simple margherita pizza adorns a crisp disk of dough with bubbling-hot mozzarella and fragrant basil ($11), and a hearty Capone pizza emerges from the wood-burning oven bearing a burden of tender artichokes and savory prosciutto ($15). After the meal, desserts such as homemade cannoli and fresh gelato emerge for a culinary curtain call. Leonardo Trattoria's outdoor patio beckons diners to rub elbows with passing breezes, and flat-screen TVs broadcast Italian films and ancient Roman sitcoms in the indoor dining room.
Pots of bubbling water cook freshly made pasta until it’s ready to join meatballs and calamari on plates doused in zesty sauces. Nearby, pizzas are loaded with prosciutto, shrimp, and roasted garlic, while fresh mozzarella rains over a pizza crust headed for a wood-fired oven. Leonardo Trattoria forgoes local New Orleans food influences, instead maintaining “a focus on Sicilian dishes and cooking styles,” as Ian McNulty of Gambit writes. The full-fledged Italian atmosphere continues in the dining room, where flat-screen TVs mounted on brick walls play Italian mobster movies or hours of footage of Dante’s writing desk. Outside, lush foliage hangs from a second-story balcony, adding to the ambiance that helped the eatery snag a diners’ choice award for outdoor dining from OpenTable readers.
Central Business District
709 St. Charles Ave.
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130