Sacramento Eats: Biba

Aron and I wanted to go somewhere special for our date night this past Friday. It was seven years ago Sunday that he opened the door to our Los Angeles apartment to welcome me home: his heartbeat visible through a dusty pink shirt, his face warm from having just lit hundreds of candles. We have celebrated our engagement every year since.

Biba is a classic, grand-dame-of-Sacramento, Italian restaurant (only it’s also sort of a homey, nonna’s-in-the-kitchen sort of Italian restaurant). Around the time we moved here, Sactown Magazine published an article on the restranteur Biba (who greeted us at the bar), lauding her for serving “the city’s most authentic Italian food for 25 years.” We decided it was time to try it.

Prosciutto di Parma con Pera–served with soft, sweet, roasted pear drizzled wtih orange honey

Lasagne Verdi alla Bolognese–10 or more layers of spinach pasta with a meat sauce that’s at once rich, creamy, and light.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara–something I don’t usually order for fear that it will be simply Alfredo sauce with Pancetta added, this was was clean and well-balanced with salt, pepper, egg yolk, browned butter, Pancetta, and Parmigiano-Reggiano; no puddle of Alfredo to speak of, thank goodness.

California Sea Bass (the fish of the day) with Celery Root Puree

And a celebratory Tiramisu and espresso to finish.

Despite a recently revamped dining room, I still wouldn’t go as far as to call this spot hip: the clientele seemed squarely in the 50+ category and a couple next to us actually came over before they left to tell us how “cute” we were and used the phrase “we remember when.”

But if you can make a lasagna like mille-feuille, being trendy need not be your concern.

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