Exposing mouths to foreign food instills them with a sense of culture, resulting in tongues that wear top hats and teeth that recite Shakespearean sonnets to any dentist that will listen. Cultivate a sophisticated palate with today's Groupon: for $20, you get $30 worth of Italian cuisine and drinks and two glasses of house wine (up to a $6.25 value each) at Toscana Ristorante in Concord (up to a $42.50 total value).
Samuel Figueroa, head chef of Toscana Ristorante and graduate of the School of Italian Food Art in Rome, conducts mouth symphonies with the melodious sizzle of Italian eats that grace both the traditional and vegetarian menus. Salmon and a school of veggies perfect synchronized-swimming routines in swells of blackberry sauce and polenta ($18.95), and the eggplant florentine snuggles into a fluffy bed of pasta and cheese outfitted with baby-spinach pillows and a sheet of pomodoro sauce ($14.95). Slice through the veal parmigiana's fontina-dusted terrain and plunge forks into piles of angel hair ($17.95) like a cherub's barber with a fundamental misunderstanding of how to cut hair. Pair your feast with chalices of house Kinderwood cabernet, merlot, or chardonnay, or upgrade to a more expensive glass from the well-heeled list of Californian, Australian, and Italian varietals.
Streams of natural light wash through large arched windows, towering wine racks, and the eatery's rustic Tuscan-inspired interior, and the patio's lush greenery ensconces outdoor eaters in a verdant terrace. Like a manned space mission, the bistro accepts reservations over the phone or via email.
Toscana Ristorante may have opened only in 2006, but chef Samuel Figueroa's culinary chops are of a much thicker cut. Over the course of a 17-year career, which includes a degree from the School of Italian Food Art in Rome, he's honed a large repertoire of traditional Italian fare. In Toscana's kitchen, he and his staff flavor fillets of salmon and veal with accents such as blackberry, lemon butter, and fresh sage. Fillings such as pumpkin, shrimp, and shiitake mushroom stuff raviolis, and marinara and alfredo sauces slather pastas.
Servers transport these and other plates past enormous arched windows in the dining room, which has a floor crisscrossed with elegant arcs of natural light. Racks and shelves behind the blond-wood bar supply white-clothed tables with bottles of wine and spirits. Alternatively, on the verdant outdoor patio, overhanging foliage provides shade for customers and free dessert for their docile pet giraffes.
2151 Salvio St.
Concord, California 94520Get Directions