The restaurant scene in Bozeman, and even nearby Livingston is on fire. You can easily enjoy many of the new offerings on your next visit, and you should!
Last month we visited Campione in Livingston which bills itself as a Roman Kitchen, with all of its offerings made from scratch. Located on a prominent corner in picturesque downtown Livingston, Campione is a very welcome addition to the neighborhood.
It is a small restaurant, so reservations are a must! The atmosphere is welcoming, and the staff is enthusiastic. We had heard lots of good things, so we were anxious to try it.
The menu is concise but be prepared, substitutions are frowned upon. In addition, there is no gluten free pasta available. We were seated at the counter, so we were able to take a peek at the kitchen to try and glean what dishes we should order.
I love to sit at the bar and observe tight spaces like this, it is akin to watching a well choreographed dance performance.
The restaurant (and bar area) quickly filled with diners, and I ordered a new Italian inspired drink called a Lemoncooco which was pretty good.
Starters that looked irresistible included perfectly fried and greaseless Fritto Misto, as well as Roasted Cauliflower (quite good, but I didn’t love the grape and tarragon salsa which was the accompaniment). We also enjoyed a plate of piping hot and addictively Crispy Brussels Sprouts, but alas, we devoured these before I could snap a pic.
Main courses were tasty as well, my husband enjoyed the Lamb Ragu over fresh pasta (this was substitution, it is normally served over house-made bread), he finished every drop. I opted for the marinated and roasted eggplant. This was the only truly vegan, gluten free option, and it was good, but not great. The fries alongside were made of parsnips, one of the few veggies I truly dislike.
Once we got to dessert, the gelato redeemed the shortcomings I found with the rest of my meal; the Chocolate with Sea Salt and Marcona Almond was superb. We ordered a small but could have easily finished off a large.
I truly wanted to LOVE Campione, and absolutely would return, The attention to the ingredients and desire to be true to the Roman roots is impressive, it was the menu choices that didn’t exactly work for me. I think my husband would disagree, he really enjoyed the meal. Stay tuned, I will update my review when we have a chance to revisit.
Moving away from Italian cuisine to Mexican, last week we enjoyed a dinner in Bozeman at Last Call Modern Mexican which was a winner. Located in historic downtown on a side street and behind a somewhat uninspired exterior we were surprised to find a bright and inviting interior.
Luckily we dined with friends, so we had the opportunity to order a good portion of the menu. We were hungry, so we over-ordered, not knowing how generous the portions are.
We paced out the meal in stages, studying the choices while we sipped our drinks (the Jamaica (hibiscus) Agua Fresca was delicious). While we were enjoying our guacamole (excellent) and homemade chips we had a chance to chat with Luis, the owner/chef.
The Ceviche was also fresh, bright, and delicious. The serving was large enough for the four of us to share. As you can see, we made quick work of the Guacamole and salsa.
We enjoyed an array of tacos including Shrimp (lower left), Portobello Mushroom (center) and Birria. I can only attest to the deliciousness of the Portobello and the Shrimp, but the Birria and Carne Asada (not shown) were happily devoured as well. I was not exaggerating when I mentioned the servings were substantial. We also shared an order of Queso Fundido to start, which ensured that our tummies were full. While tempted by the dessert offerings, we all decided they would have to wait for another day.
Last Call truly seems like a labor of love. The enthusiasm of our server, coupled with the pride of Chef Luis couldn’t help but make us want to return for more. Last Call is a step above the casual taco joint (don’t get me wrong, I love those too), but when the Mexican craving hits and you want a special night out, Last Call fits the bill.
We are leaving Montana for about a month, but we eagerly await returning to what has become a real food-centric destination!