Say arrivederci to insipid Italian cuisine and buongirno to Taverna. This modern bistro opened its doors in Legacy West recently and has already left its mark on the local food scene. It shines thanks to the northern Italian influences that give the neighborhood eatery its authentic ambiance. And the menu uses seasonally fresh ingredients that elevate the region’s comfort food favorites to sophisticated dishes.

Similar Italian restaurants can fall into familiar ruts for both their dishes and design, but Taverna stands out with its effortless, chic atmosphere and savory options. After walking past the wrap-around patio and into the sophisticated dining room, patrons will know they are in for a grand night out.

Taverna’s Risotto with Seared Diver Scallops / photos Emilee Prado

Alberto Lombardi, founder of Taverna’s restaurant group Lombardi Family Concepts, created this upscale approach and its unique menus by blending his past travel experiences with today’s food trends. He says his goal is for diners to feel like they have experienced a piece of the country after enjoying their meal. 

“Taverna is a warm and inviting neighborhood restaurant that offers a truly Italian experience without having to leave Texas,” Alberto said.

Its menu is full of some of the country’s most celebrated dishes, but the risotto is the star. Each of the risottos uses carnaroli rice as a base and then adds in lavish ingredients like black truffle oil, crispy pancetta or porcini mushrooms to elevate its flavor profile. 

But diners would be missing out if they skipped the pastas. The wide spread is full of classics like house-made ravioli, lasagna and gnocchi. Lighter recipes are available too: Fettuccine Frutti di Mare comes with shrimp, mussels, clams and scallops topped in a brandy crustacean cream sauce, and Tagliolini Scampi is served with shrimp, garlic, white wine, grape tomatoes, lemon capers, and butter sauce.

Diners who have eaten at another Taverna before, in Dallas, Fort Worth or Austin to name a few, will recognize the group’s classic recipes and warm hospitality that runs true in all locations. But the Plano site has a more modern feel with its sleek interior and luxurious touches spread throughout the space; for example, a vertical rotisserie cooks the menu’s many meats, poultry and fish main courses. It also has a greater variety of stuffed pastas and grilled selections. Gluten-free and vegetarian diners will find a wide variety of options they can enjoy as well, so everyone can find something to get excited about.

While lunch and dinner options are extravagant, the restaurant’s brunch menu is reason enough to dine in. Vanilla French Toast served with vanilla ricotta, fresh fruit and berries, or the Crispy Whole Grain Waffle topped with strawberries, basil and mascarpone cheese, go great with a crisp mimosa and sweet peach Bellini to round out a meal.

Alberto knew this West Plano development was the perfect home to the newest Taverna because of its upscale environment and buzzing popularity. 

“Legacy West is a thriving community destination, so it was an obvious choice to put Taverna – our warm and inviting neighborhood restaurant – into the mix,” said Alberto. “The diversity of the merchants in this center connect with the masses, and that aligns with what we are trying to do here.”

This Lombardi Family Concepts location is the first of the restaurant group’s offerings to open its doors in Legacy West. Toulouse, the group’s French bistro notion, is coming soon to the strip.

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