Tutto Italia Ristorante, the sit-down restaurant in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion, has always been my favorite World Showcase eatery. Tucked beside the replica Doges’ Palace, the very Italian service and atmosphere reminds me of my beloved Ristorante Alla Rampa, itself a gem sheltered behind the Spanish Steps in Rome. The kitchen, steered by Chef Renzo Barcatta, goes far beyond what many people would expect inside a theme park.
Tutto Italia (407-929-3463; disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining) underwent a massive refurbishment in May, with upgrading and refreshing of the 38-year-old interior and addition of a very welcome wine bar called Tutto Gusto, built with brick arches and wooden beams to resemble a rustic cantina. It features an interesting selection of more than 200 Italian wines (some found nowhere else in America) and the small tapas-like plates Italians call cicchetti. A dish of spectacular salumi and aged Parmigiano, or a lemon-tanged insalata di mare of squid, octopus and shrimp (right) with a glass of Gavi Principessa combine to create my idea of the happiest place on Earth.