The evening of Day 3 – dinner at Maurizio’s, or as we affectionately nicknamed it, Italian Take #2.
After an exhausting drive in traffic crossing the Bay Bridge, we finally arrived in Morgan Hill where we planned to stay over before continuing our journey down the coast. We used our trusty Yelp app to figure out where to go for dinner and decided to check out Maurizio’s. Located just off the quaint little downtown area, Maurizio’s features an enticing menu of authentic Italian dishes with warm, rustic decor and a hole-in-the-wall vibe.
Our friendly server Daniel guided us to our entree selections and brought us delicious fresh baked bread accompanied by roasted garlic in olive oil to nosh on. The bread was warm and fluffy and the roasted garlic reminded us of the bagna cauda we had at The Stinking Rose in Beverly Hills. A wonderful start to our meal!
Having read a tip that the daily specials here are awesome, Martin selected the Fish of the Day – seared scallops served over a bed of mushroom risotto. The scallops were pan seared and then finished in the oven, yielding a beautiful caramelized crust and a pale opaque center. The risotto was good and hearty and I liked how the parmesan did not overpower the mushrooms. The dish was garnished with arugula that had been drizzled with a white wine vinaigrette, but it may have been a bit heavy on the dressing because the taste of alcohol was present in almost every bite! (Not necessarily a bad thing…)
I chose the Orecchiette alla Pugliese — “ear” shaped pasta with Italian sausage, broccoli rabe, and fresh tomato. The pasta was cooked to a perfect al dente and the broccoli rabe with its bitterness contrasted nicely with the sweet ripe tomatoes and caramelized onions. The Italian sausage is juicy and so flavorful! It is not made in-house, but it is sourced from a local meat shop / sausage maker by Maurizio himself. I really enjoyed how satisfying and well-balanced my dish was. (By the way, someone at the restaurant may want to proofread some of the menu descriptions for interesting spelling mistakes….)
We both polished off our dishes completely. But as they say, there’s always room for dessert!
After the interesting tiramisu the night before, we were hoping for a more traditional style here at Maurizio’s and they certainly delivered. Snagging one of the last slices of the popular dessert, we were surprised to learn that they do not soak the lady fingers in a rum-espresso mixture but rather a non-alcoholic rum extract of sorts to make it kid-friendly. The marscapone had a bit of heavy cream whipped in for added fluffiness and it was delicate and not too sweet, just the way I like it. The perfect way to end the meal!
Daniel was so nice to answer our many questions about the dishes and about the chef-owner Maurizio. He proudly mentioned that the chef comes in every day during prep to taste the components of each dish and to demonstrate how to plate them. They do make some fresh pasta; the papparadelle and the fettuccine are both made in-house. Even though the orecchiette and sausage in my dish were made elsewhere, Daniel reassured me that Maurizio is a discerning chef who only chooses the best for his restaurant, and you can definitely taste the quality of the ingredients in the dishes served here!
We don’t find ourselves in Morgan Hill very often, but if we’re ever back in town, I know where we’ll be eating! Make sure you come early before we snag the last slice(s) of tiramisu :)
Check out Maurizio’s: mauriziosrestaurant.com
25 E 1st St
Morgan Hill, CA 95037
See their Yelp reviews here!