New dining experience in downtown Paso Robles
– As if the owners of the wildly successful The Hatch Rotisserie & Bar didn’t have enough on their plates, Maggie Cameron and Eric Connolly opened another restaurant last year, right next door in downtown Paso on 13th Street. And right amid on-and-off lockdowns and a major staff shortage. Some might say they’re crazy – I say they’re brilliant.
A few friends and I discovered during a recent visit that Della’s has it down, is well-established, open five nights a week, and serves up wood-fired love fueled by warm hospitality, icy cold cocktails, and a haute dinner menu that left me scrolling through my thesaurus for fresh adjectives.
The house cocktail list offered something for everyone at our table; the Farmstand Negroni (gin, rhubarb, strawberry-infused Campari, vermouth) and the Cali Paloma (Blanco Tequila, sage smoke, grapefruit, soda) were both tasty and downright beautiful.
I’m a gin and tonic girl from way back, so the expansive gin list and G+Ts immediately grasped my full attention. I chose the Brains (Anchor Distillery Junipero gin, Mediterranean tonic, sage, juniper), then settled a bit further into my seat at our tall table near the back to survey the room.
The decor is luxe/casual, vibe is energetic but not loud, staff is just-the-right-amount of attentive, and lighting is bright while perfectly subdued. Locals and tourists alike were chatting it up with the obviously skilled bartender at the white-granite-topped bar, and a rather zealous party in one of the yummy deep booths was celebrating a birthday. In the midst of it all, an adoring couple was seemingly on their own romantic isle in a somewhat removed window nook.
I could’ve people-watched all night but eventually tore myself away to get better acquainted with Chef Cory Bidwell’s menu. An enticing mix of shared plates, entrées and wood-fired pizzas made it difficult to choose, thank goodness I brought my posse.
On the to share list, the Della’s Salad and the Fried Baby Artichokes are certainly not to be missed, but the fresh Stracchino served with chef’s hypnotic confit garlic will seriously change your life. (Don’t worry about pronouncing Stracchino properly, there’s no pretension here.)
The entrées were all so tempting that we ended up ordering one of each and passing plates. All proved to be as advertised; standouts were the perfectly seared Steak au Poivre, the opulent Linguine & Clams, and a mesmerizing Bolognese that left each of us wrapped in a comfy cozy blanket.
Sounds like plenty of phenomenal food, I know, but do not pass on the wood-fired pizza. Della’s pizza is an obsession-worthy adventure in contrasting textures and flavors that begins with 72-hour cold-fermented dough and finishes in an authentic Fiero Forni wood-burning oven.
A couple of our faves were The Girl Crush with tomato sauce, pepperoni, jalapeño and hot honey, and the Carte Blanche with buffalo mozzarella, basil, Castelvetrano olives, parmesan, garlic and Calabrian chili. And if you’re a Cacio e Pepe hound like me, you won’t be disappointed, it’s the real deal. *Server’s Tip: For a true stratospheric journey, add speck to the Carte Blanche.
A ridiculously far cry from hungry at the end of the evening, we still couldn’t resist the Hot Fudge Sundae dessert. Served in an adorable custom Della’s cup, housemade vanilla soft serve is topped with rich chocolate sauce, Luxardo cherries and salted peanuts. Sweet perfection.
We made reservations for our next visit before we left, but you can make yours on their site, dellaspasorobles.com. They host private events too, inquiries can be made via phone or email: (805) 369-2535, firstname.lastname@example.org.
– By Colby Roberts